Pandemonium At The Palladian 2” Shaping Up
As Best 2023 Top-To-Bottom Card In New England!
(December 4th) Top-to-bottom, “Pandemonium at The Palladium 2,” presented by Granite Chin Promotions (GCP), has the potential to be the best overall 2023 professional boxing card held in New England, featuring competitive, entertaining fights to showcase many of the most popular and talented prizefighters in the six-state region.
All of the action will be streamed live on BXNGTV.com from the famed Palladium in Luna’s hometown of Worcester, Massachusetts.. GCP has partnered with Project New Hope, a Worcester-based charity that supports veterans and their families.
The 10-round main event for the vacant Junior North American Boxing Federation (NABF) Welterweight Championship, pitting Denzel “Double Impact” Whitley (12-0, 7 KOs) against Kenny “Lionheart” Larson (7-0-1, 5 KOs), of Salem (MA), in a clash that could be entitled, “Unfinished Business.” Whitley vs. Larson almost happened a few times, but for one reason or another, it failed to happen until now.
Whitley, fighting out of Holyoke (MA), is the reigning Massachusetts and United States Boxing Federation (USBF) Atlantic welterweight champion, who faces the toughest test of his young career in Larson, a 2016 N.E. Golden Gloves silver medalist.
Three hometown fighters are scheduled to fight, including Worcester favorite Kendrick “Peppa” Ball, Jr. (21-1-3, 12 KOs), matched versus Heber Rondon (20-5, 13 KOs), of Venezuela, in an eight-round bout for the vacant USBF Light Heavyweight Championship.
Ball is a former N.E. Middleweight and World Boxing Council (WBC) Silver super middleweight title holder, while Rondon is a former World Boxing Association (WBA) Fedelatin super welterweight champion.
Worcester junior middleweight Khiary “Too Sharp” Gray (17-6, 13 KOs) takes on New Haven (CT) veteran Jimmy “The Quiet Storm” Williams (18-13-2, 6 KOs) in a sixth-round bout that could steal the show. Gray, who hasn’t fought in two years, was runner-up in the 2012 N.E. Golden Gloves, while Williams is a former WBC USA Welterweight and American Boxing Federation (ABF) USA and Universal Boxing Organization (UBO) International super welterweight titlist.
Four-time N.E. Golden Gloves Champion Keno Luna, of Worcester, makes his pro debut in a four-round match against welterweight Moises Rivera.
Pittsfield’s (MA) undefeated Steve “The Savage” Sumpter (9-0, 7 KOs) puts his undefeated record on the line against Ronald Montes (19-19-1, 17 KOs), of Columbia, in a six-rounder. Sumpter is the International Boxing Association (IBA) Americas Super Middleweight and Massachusetts Light Heavyweight Champion. Montes is a former Colombia Welterweight Champion.
Another undefeated fighter from Western Massachusetts, lightweight Carlos “El Gallo” Gonzalez (8-0, 7 KOs), of Springfield, meets Nathan Benichou in a four-rounder.
Also fighting on the undercard in four-round bouts are Marshfield’s (MA) pro-debuting welterweight Joe Bush, a 2023 N.E. Golden Gloves runner-up, vs. Tymar Miles (0-1), Douglas (MA) junior middleweight Robert Degaetano (1-0, 1 KO) vs. Devon Grant (0-6), Scituate (MA) heavyweight Kevin “Big Gulp” Nagle (4-0, 4 KOs) vs. pro-debuting Tadeu Costa, Cuban junior middleweight Danny Lafos Poll (1-0, 1 KO) vs. Byran Goldsby (5-19, 0 KOs), New Jersey junior welterweight Tyrone “Hands of Stone” Luckey (16-22-4, 12 KOs) vs. Carlos Marrero III (5-9-3, 0 KOs), 2019 New York Golden Gloves Champion Famous Wilson (2-0, 1 KO) vs. middleweight Nata Gomes (0-2), Haitian junior welterweight Edwine Humaine (2-0, 2 KOs) vs. Terrence Richardson (pro debut), and Cuban welterweight Raidel Rodriguez (1-0, 1 KO) vs. Jemorean Smith (0-1).
Tickets are on sale and available for purchase online at www.ThePalladium.net.
Doors open at 6:30 p.m. ET, first bout at 7 p.m. ET.
Celebrated Amateur Boxer Keno Luna
To Make Pro Debut At Home Dec. 9th In Worcester, MA!
(November 20th) Four-time New England Golden Gloves Champion Keno Luna will make his long anticipated professional debut at home on Saturday night, December 9, fighting on the “Pandemonium at the Palladium 2” card, presented by Granite Chin Promotions (GCP), in a four-round bout against Moises Riveira.
In addition to winning four N.E. Golden Gloves titles, Luna (67-18 amateur record) is a five-time Silver Mittens champion, who also reached the semi-finals of the 2019 and 2023 National Golden Gloves Tournament. He is trained by Chico Lopez at Ken Ball’s Camp Right Boxing Gym in Worcester.
“I wanted to make it to the Olympic Qualifiers this year, but I fell short,” Luna explained why he’s turning pro now. “I felt robbed and everybody else did too. I didn’t want to wait four more years to try and make the (2028) Olympics.
“I’m only going to be better as a pro, because my style is better suited for it than the amateurs, where it’s all about punching for points. I like to take my time and pick spots. I’m a southpaw who people in the gym have been calling mini-Pacquiao. I’m a speedy southpaw who started going to the gym when I was 10. I didn’t really know much about Manny Pacquiao, but once I started watching his fights, I realized why they were calling me mini-Pacquiao.”
Fighting at home as one of the leaders of the new wave of Worcester boxers means a lot to the 21-year-old Luna. He is aware of his hometown’s rich tradition of producing elite fighters for the past century, including top 10-rated lightweight contender Jamaine Ortiz.
“Fighting my pro debut at home is like a dream come true for me,” Luna said. I can’t wait. I’m happy and excited about this opportunity. I’ve trained with sparred Jamaine and it’s meant so much to me. He’s been my inspiration and look where he is today.”
Two other Worcester fighters are on the card as well, light heavyweight Kendrick Ball, Jr. (21-1-3, 12 KOs), and junior middleweight Khiary “Too Sharp” Gray (17-6, 13 KOs). Ball will be fighting for his third title when he faces Heber Rondon (20-5,13 KOs), of Venezuela, in an eight-round match for the vacant United States Boxing Federation (USBF) Light Heavyweight Championship. Gray fights for the first time in two years, squaring off with veteran Jimmy “The Quiet Storm” Williams (18-13-2, 6 KOs) in a six-round bout match that could steal the show.
“Having Kendrick on the show was a no-brainer for me,” GCP president Chris Traietti commented. “The goal is to make this the biggest Granite Chin show to date and since the show is in Worcester, we had to put on some big names in Worcester. Kendrick and Khiary are on that list. The Palladium is going to be packed on December 10th and everybody there will get a chance to see Kendrick win his third professional title.”
“We are honored to have Keno’s first professional bout on a Granite Chin event,” GCP president Chris Traietti remarked. “All the chatter about him has been enthusiastic and optimistic that he has the goods to go somewhere in boxing. It all just adds to the quality of the card being put on December 9th. Granite Chin is displaying the immediate and relatively soon future of Massachusetts boxing.”
Kendrick Ball, Jr. Plans To Make
A Major Statement At Home For 2024 Platform Escalation!
(November 13th) Hometown favorite Kendrick “Peppa” Bell, Jr. (21-1-3, 12 KOs) will be fighting for his third title on Saturday night, December 9, as he takes on veteran Venezuelan fighter Heber Rondon (20-5,13 KOs) in an eight-round match for the vacant United States Boxing Federation (USBF) Light Heavyweight Championship.
Ball, 31, is coming off a dominant eight-round unanimous decision (80-72 X 3) over Oscar Riojas (28-16-3), headlining a show at Polar Park in Worcester. The Dec. 9th fight will be his sixth at the Palladium.
“I like the Palladium,” Ball said. “I’m comfortable there because I’m right at home, only down the street from my house. I love fighting at home. It’s a great feeling to be in front of my city and every time I fight there, I feel more and more confident to say this is my city. I’ve put on a dominant performance every time I’ve fought there. and this will be my third title I’ve won in Worcester. I love fighting in front of my family and family, I still feel there are people in Worcester that haven’t seen me fight, so every time I fight here is definitely an opportunity for them to catch me and make them see why I say this is my city”
A former World Boxing Association (WBA) Fedelatin Super Welterweight Champion, Rondon is a southpaw who has been in tough with the likes of Fernando Vargas, Bek Nunmaganbet, Elvis Figueroa and Jose Armando Resendiz. Rondon is capable of upsetting his opponent. In 2020, Rondo won an 11-round unanimous decision in Venezuela against 14-0 Brahian Jose Medina for the aforementioned Fedelatin title.
“I know my opponent is a tough lefty,” Ball noted. “I fought a lefty in my last fight at Polar Park. Lefties are a little tricky, but I know how to adjust in fights and we’re going to work on fighting a lefty in training, so I’ll be ready.”
Ball is hoping an impressive win will open doors for him in terms of fights on a higher level outside of New England.
“This fight is for another belt,” Bell concluded, but it’s not the main focus. It definitely helps get my ranking up and attracts people to see me fight even more. I’m hoping this fight will open big doors for me for my next fight. I want to get a big money fight. It’s time I get my shot at a money fight. I’m 21-1-3 with 12 knockouts. My only loss came in 2018. I haven’t lost since and that says a lot. I’ve been active in the ring, so I deserve a money fight. A lot of people don’t know but in most of these fights, I haven’t made big money, close to nothing. I still have a regular job to survive. I struggle like everyone else if not more sometimes because my goal is to get the big money fights. That’s what I’m hoping for in 2024.”
Khiary Gray’s Comeback Fight
Against Veteran Jimmy Williams!
(November 6th) Worcester (MA) super welterweight Khiary “Too Sharp” Gray (17-6, 13 KOs) will fight for the first time in two years in his comeback bid against New Haven (CT) veteran and divisional gatekeeper Jimmy “The Quiet Storm” Williams (18-13-2, 6 KOs) in a six-round bout on the December 9th “Pandemonium at the Palladium 2”, presented by Granite Chin Promotions (GCP), at the famed Palladium in Worcester, Massachusetts.
“This is going to be a tremendous fight that has been in the makings for a few years,” GCP president Chris Traietti proclaimed. “I remember grumblings about this fight happening, but it never materialized. Once I connected the dots that Khiary wanted to fight on this show and Williams didn’t have anything scheduled, I immediately went to work to try and make this fight finally happen. It didn’t take much convincing on either side, both guys jumped on it and worked with me to make it happen.”
A 2012 New England Golden Gloves Champion, Gray is anxious to get back in the ring and he’s not necessarily concerned about being rusty after being inactive for two years.
“It definitely feels right and great to get back to fighting,” Gray said. “I’m preparing to put on a show to let Worcester and everyone in the boxing world that I’m back and coming to get back where I’m supposed to be, top contender. I’m looking at this fight and every fight from now on as critical in terms of me needing and wanting to win at this stage of my career.
“I’m avoiding being rusty by staying active in sparring in training camp, but I like to say that I’m like gold because gold doesn’t rust. All I need is some polishing up. It seems right to have my comeback fight in my hometown. I’ve only fought in Worcester once. I am comfortable fighting at home. It doesn’t stress or bother me, it just pushes me to show my city that I’m not done, I still have a lot left in this fight game. I know I can hold my own in my division. I am and will show it with this comeback fight. I will show that I’m coming to break down the doors and in 2024, I want to make a huge mark in the 154-pound division.”
Gray certainly could have picked an easier opponent than Williams, a former college cornerback on Southern Connecticut State University’s football team, as well as the former holder of three titles – World Boxing Council (WBC) USA welterweight, as well as the ABF USA and UBO International super welterweight.
“I am a gatekeeper,” Williams explained. I got in this game late but had success, winning three titles. Now, I’m fighting guys who have to get past me to get to a champion. Eight or nine years ago there was talk about me and him (Gray) fighting. He was dropping down to welterweight, but I knew local fights would always be there, and I wanted bigger fights. We’re going to get it on now. He’s coming back and I test people.”
Williams is more than capable of pulling off an upset. Only two years ago, Jimmy defeated former world champion Yuri Foreman to capture the ABF USA and UBO International titles.
This isn’t Gray’s first comeback, either. He’s officially at the crossroads and he needs to defeat Williams to make a long final run.
“I’d tell him (Williams), don’t let the layoff fool you. I could have picked anyone less risky for my comeback fight, but at the end of the day, that’s not me. I take risks to get where I want to be. I had a 3 ½ year layoff during COVID. My first fight back, I fought Bakhram Murtazaliev, who was 18-0 at the time. He was and still is Jermell Charlo’s mandatory for the IBF World title. I lost to Murtazaliev (currently 21-0, 15 KOs) by decision, but I wasn’t hurt and stayed in there.
“From the first bell to the last, I’m not scared of taking risks. I was smiling ear to ear when asked to fight him. I had wanted to fight him (Williams) since 2017 after my fight with Nick DeLomba. In all honesty, I thought it was all hype. No disrespect, he can fight. I give him that but at the end of the day, he’s just a tough journeyman, I know I can beat him in dramatic fashion. I expect Jimmy to come out and fight. We are going to put in a show for my city.”
Gray vs. Williams could steal the show. Another hometown fighter, light heavyweight Kendrick “Peppa” Bell, Jr. (21-1-3, 12 KOs), and International Boxing Association (IBA) Americas Super Middleweight Champion Steve “The Savage” Sumpter (9-0, 7 KOs), of Pittsfield (MA), are also fighting on the card in separate matches.
Undefeated Denzel “Double Impact” Whitley (12-0, 7 KOs) and unbeaten Kenny “Lionheart” Larson (7-0-1, 5 KOs) will headline in the 10-round main event for the vacant Junior North American Boxing Federation (NABF) Welterweight Championship in a rebirth of a longtime Bay State rivalry.
Whitley, of Holyoke, represents Western, Massachusetts, Salem’s Larson is from Eastern, Mass. It’s also a fight between a legacy fighter, Whitley, who is trained by his father Derrick and uncle Darrin, who were solid pro fighters during the 1990’s into the first decade of the 21st century; Larson is a throwback fighter who only asks who, where and when he’s fighting.
And Whitley and Larson, as rare as it may be among contemporary boxers, are unbeaten prospects fighting each other, which is a sure sign of old-time boxing.
“This is a critical fight for both fighters at this stage in their career,” GCP president Chris Traietti commented. “The winner moves on to legitimate prospect status, while whoever falls short will have to regroup and rebuild a little bit. It is about time these two guys finally get into the ring with each other and give local boxing fans an exciting main event. The styles of each guy contrast perfectly Denzel is more of a boxer, Kenny is a pressure fighter; this is a can’t miss entertainment with the Junior NABF title on the line.”
Whitley is the reigning Massachusetts and United States Boxing Federation (USBF) Atlantic Welterweight Champion, although neither of his two regional titles will be on the line versus Larson.
Whitley vs. Larson was supposed to happen a few times, but they have not met in the ring yet. They are both anxious to take care of unfinished business on Dec. 9 in Worcester. This showdown will also mark the first scheduled 10-round fight for both combatants.
“I can’t say it (delay) will necessarily help me,” said Whitley, who was known as a notoriously slow starter until his most recent fight (August 18, 2023) at The Palladium, when he needed only 25-seconds to stop Hector Esnar Bobadilla. “I was ready before and now for this fight. It’s my first 10-round fight and I’ve gotten more rounds to be in my best shape. I’m on a belt run and want to add my third title. My style was to get in rounds to get the proper feel and adapt in the ring. My father and uncle have wanted me to start faster, and I did in my last fight.
“I don’t know much about my opponent. He likes to fight, I like that. We do have unfinished business and we’re finally getting that now. I need to get him out of the way and move on to the next fight. He comes forward, an old-fashioned fighter, and that will make for a good fight. When I capture this belt, I hope to move up in the rankings and it helps get me a big shot in a big venue against a big name.”
Larson, who was a 2016 New England Golden Gloves silver medalist, registered the most significant victory of his career last July, when he won an eight-round split decision over highly respected Brandon Higgins (10-3). But he came back less than a month later to fight Alfred Raymond, which ended in a six-round split decision.”
“A relief,” Larson expressed his feelings about finally fighting Whitley. “This is what I want and I’m glad to get a chance to prove myself. (The delay) Helped me a little because of the experience I’ve gained. I know I wasn’t at my best, but I had just fought Higgins in the fight of my life. I didn’t get a rest to recover from the fight with Higgins. Since then, though, my mind frame was clear in training camp because I had a vacation after my last fight.
“Denzel has a good record. I’m looking to prove myself against the best. He’s the best…..right now. I’m going to fight my fight at my pace. I don’t care about fighting him in Worcester. My fans travel no matter where I fight. I’m a throwback who is a rough kid that can fight.”
Also fighting on the loaded “Pandemonium at the Palladium 2,” card is undefeated International Boxing Association (IBA) Americas Super Middleweight Champion Steve “The Savage” Sumpter (9-0, 7 KOs), who will face an opponent to be determined in the 10-round co-featured event. Sumpter, fighting out of Pittsfield (MA), is one of the hottest prospects in the Northeast, coming off an impressive performance against previously unbeaten James “Pitbull” Perkins (12-0-1, 9 KOs) by way of an eight-round majority decision in the main event this past August at The Palladium.
Also scheduled to be in action are a pair of Worcester fighters, light heavyweight Kendrick “Peppa” Ball, Jr. (21-1-3, 12 KOs) and super welterweight Khiary “Too Sharp” Gray (17-6, 13 KOs). Ball is a former New England Middleweight and WBC USA Super Middleweight Champion, who will be fighting in a 10-rounder for the vacant USBF title. Pitts will be in his first fight in two years.
About Granite Chin Promotions
Granite Chin Promotions is the fastest growing boxing promotion in New England.
GCP is New England’s fastest-growing boxing promotion. Headed by Chris Traietti, Granite Chin Promotions is committed to giving local fans action-packed fight cards and developing fighters to reach their full potential.