Strictly Business Boxing
Strictly Business Boxing

Julien Baptiste vs. Ricky Ford Could Steal The Show -“Granite Chin Box Off” To Headline 4-Fighter,

1-Night Super Middleweight Tournament May 11th,

“Rumble At The Rink”, Quincy Youth Arena, Quincy, MA!

(click here)

(April 11th) A title fight between USBF Middleweight Champion Julien “Black Dragon” Baptiste (6-4, 3 KOs) and Ricky Ford (5-1-2, 3 KOs) could very well steal the show on May 11th as Granite Chin Promotions (GCP) presents “Rumble at the Rink” at Quincy Youth Arena in Quincy, Massachusetts.


Baptiste vs. Ford has all the makings for a potential “Fight of the Night,” matching a pair of New England 160-pounders who promise to have fans standing and yelling from the opening bell until the eventual end.


“What a fight this is going to be,” GCP president Chris Traietti predicted. “I knew all along I wanted to get Julien on this show and after competing at Madison Square Garden, I didn’t want to take a step back and do a ‘fluff’ fight. I wanted to challenge Julien and see what he has learned from that experience. I reached out to Ricky and he jumped on the chance. Ricky looked way better than I expected back in February in Bridgewater, you can tell while he might have been inactive competing, it was obvious he stayed in the gym. This fight alone will be worth the price of admission.”


Baptiste, fighting out of Woburn (MA), is coming off a solid fight at Madison Square Garden Theater, in which he lost a six-round decision to undefeated Isaah Flaherty (7-0, 3 KOs).


“I learned that I had a lot more in the tank than I had thought,” Baptiste said. “It was scheduled for eight rounds, but it was changed to six, but I had trained to fight eight. He won the fight within the limits, credit to Isaah. It was a great fight and I felt that I was turning things around, but that’s been my Achilles heel, I didn’t let loose until it was late.”


The reigning Massachusetts Middleweight Champion in addition to wearing the USBF crown, Baptiste respects Ford and is preparing for a memorable fight, which could catapult him into another high-impact fight like he recently had in MSG.


“It’s going to be a good fight,” he predicted. “He’s a good opponent. We both fought Ryan Clark in the amateurs, and each went 1-1. I wasn’t there live, but he fought Travis Gambardella to a draw when I was still an amateur, and I watched it afterwards. I’m sure that he’s going to bring it. He was out the past few years, but I do respect him as a game fighter, and for stepping up to fight me. He’s a great technical fighter who keeps distance and knows how to box.”


Fighting out of Claremont (NH), Ford was a 2012 New England Golden Gloves silver medalist who was inactive from late 2019 to his ring return this past February, when he knocked out Erick Matheus Alves in round three. After the fight, in the middle of the ring, Clark dropped to one knee and proposed marriage to his longtime girlfriend, Katie, who also boxed. Ford was undecided in terms of retiring or continuing to fight, explaining at the time that he’d likely fight again if the offer was good enough.


“There was a lot of emotion in my last fight, and I did look good,” Ford remembered. “People thought I was away from boxing for years, but I was always in the gym, and I do love boxing. I took time off because I have a family with kids, and a good job. I met Katie through boxing, and I thought my last fight was the perfect way to propose, because boxing is how it all started for us. I was out of the ring 4 ½ years and I knew it wasn’t going to be easy shaking off the rust. Nobody has ever pushed me to reach my full potential. I thought my last fight was a good way to end my career, but Chris (Traietti) called and asked if I’d fight Julien for his title. Let’s see how it goes, If I win, I’ll defend my title, and if it ends in a draw, we’ll have to do it again. This is boxing and one punch can change everything.”


Ford noted that he’s a relatively small middleweight who should really be fighting at junior middleweight or even welterweight. He’s excited to fight Baptiste and believes they may steal the show.


“It’s going to be one of those fights,” Ricky concluded. We have two different styles. He boxes more than me. I’ll give him that and in power, but I have better hand speed. I have a lot more to show to people who haven’t seen it in me, and a lot have forgotten that I had a lot of amateur fights. I was a four-time Northern New England champion and runner-up at the 2015 Ringside Tournament in Kansas. I’ve seen Julien fight and I respect him. I took the fight and I’m stepping up. He’s the perfect guy for me to fight because we both come forward. Right now, I’m at my strongest point.”


In an equally compelling match. undefeated Irish boxer Thomas “The Kid” O’Toole (9-0, 6 KOs) meets dangerous Russell Kimber (2-1, 1 KO) in a six-round bout for the vacant Massachusetts Light Heavyweight Championship.


Now fighting out of Boston suburb Braintree (MA), the 26-year-old native of Galway (IRE) O’Toole, has been fighting in his second home of Boston for the past year, capturing the USBF Atlantic light heavyweight title last August, also in Quincy on a GCP card, with an opening round stoppage of Scott Lampert.


A celebrated Irish amateur boxer, who was the 2019 Irish National, is coming off a homecoming victory this past March 16th in Galway, in which he won all eight rounds against Hussein Itaba (16-7-3, 11 KOs).


“I want to add this Massachusetts title and keep pushing,” the stylish southpaw said. “The plan is to have two big fights after this fight. He (Kimber) doesn’t have too many fights, but he has sparred with some of my mates. He’s pretty game and will fight coming forward, and that’s good for me.


“My fight in Galway was amazing, the best of my life, because it was my homecoming. But the Irish here have come out to support me and Boston is my second home. I had a great coach and good boxers in Galway, but I knew I needed to make a bit of a change. You can’t get good sparring there like I can here. So, I moved.”


O’Toole is grateful that he hooked up with his head trainer, Mark “Bazooka” DeLuca, who has a 30-4 (18 KOs) pro record as middleweight.


“I’m so happy I made the link with Mark DeLuca,” O’Toole noted. “I don’t think a lot of people know how good a coach he is. I have more of a pro style than I had before he started training me. He has shown me how to use range and stay composed. Mark has really developed me to control the ring and improve my ringmanship.”


Kimber (2-1, 1 KO), fighting out of Peabody (MA), has fighting in his blood. His father, Dick and uncle Tommy, respectively, were three and five-time world kickboxing champions. Russ owns Kimber Fitness, which was in Peabody and is relocating soon to nearby Salem (MA).


Kimber made his pro debut in 2017, taking a decision from Nathan Schulte, but he’s only fought twice since then, due to COVID-19 restrictions and several fights that failed to materialize. 


“I’m always training but I couldn’t get any fights,” Kimber explained. “I kept my weight down and took a fight last April in Florida against an undefeated local fighter (3-0 Mike Misa). After the fight, my opponent even said that the fight shouldn’t have been stopped, because I was blocking his punches. I really shouldn’t have lost that fight, but it was in Florida against a local fighter.”


“Fighting for the Massachusetts title is great. I don’t think he (O’Toole) fully understands what’s coming. I think a win will open up doors for me because I’ll be 3-1 and have a title. I’ve seen a few Granite Chin fighters with only six or seven fights getting the opportunity to fight at places like Madison Square Garden. I took this fight, and we’ll see what happens.”


The headliner is an innovative one-night tournament, “Granite Chin Box Off,” featuring a quartet of New England super middleweight fighters – Lynn’s (MA) James “Pitbull” Perkins (13-1-1, 9 KOs), Swansea’s (MA) Anthony “The Gentle Savage” Andreozzi (5-3, 2 KOs), Dorchester’s (MA) Bernard Joseph (6-1, 4 KOs), and Barrington’s (ME) Ryan Clark (4-5, 2 KOs) – who will  be matched (in a blind draw at the weigh in) in three-round bouts (4th round of sudden death if needed in case of a draw) early in the evening with the two winners advancing to the five-round main event (6th round of sudden death in the event of a draw) to determine the inaugural champion.


Tickets are on sale to purchase at Doors open at 6:00 p.m. ET, first bout at 7 p.m. ET.


The quartet of super middleweights will fight in three-round bouts (4th round of sudden death if needed in case of a draw) early in the evening and the two winners will advance to the five-round main event (6th round of sudden death in the event of a draw) to determine the champion of what promoter Chris Traietti plans to be an annual tournament, which has been sanctioned by the Massachusetts Boxing Commission.


All four fighters are aggressive and gutsy who come to fight, which translates into a memorable evening for fans.


Here is a breakdown of the four “Granite Chin Box Off” challengers:

James “Pitbull” Perkins (13-1-1, 9 KOs), Lynn, MA

Perkins is the pre-tournament favorite based on his pro record and quality of opposition. A gravedigger during the day, Perkins suffered his lone loss last August to Steve Sumpter (9-0, 7 KOs), losing an eight-round majority decision for the vacant IBA America Super Middleweight Championship.


“I’m really looking forward to this event. I’ve always wanted to fight in a tournament because I never fought in the Golden Gloves or any amateur tournaments. I decided to turn pro after my sixth amateur fight. It’s even better that the event is being held at a hockey rink because I grew up my whole life playing hockey. I started skating at two years old and played all the way through high school (St. Mary’s of Lynn).


“I’m prepared to deal with whatever comes at me. I know who all the fighters are, but I know Clark a lot more than the other fighters. Me and Clark have fought on the same card a number of times. I like Clark and he’s a tough guy, but if we end up in the ring together, it will be all business. We won’t be friends when we are in there. At the end of the night, I’m very confident I’ll be the winner of the tournament.”


Anthony “The Gentle Savage” Andreozzi (5-3, 2 KOs), Swansea, MA

A former Massachusetts Middleweight Champion, Andreozzi has recovered from a brutal leg/ankle injury suffered more than a year ago, returning this past February 24th within a second-round knockout of Igor Pessoa.


“It’s (tournament) breaking boundaries for sure. It’s the type of tournament where emotional control will be important. You can’t blow your load in the first round of the first fight and still expect to succeed. I have a few hundred wrestling matches and over a dozen karate matches. I’m used to the emotional control necessary to effectively do violence twice in one night. I can’t wait!


“Ryan Clark is a great guy. We’ve done rounds before my fight with Kyle Cusick (April 22, 2022). Perkins went six hard rounds with a former teammate of mine. Bernard seems like a good dude, so nothing personal against him.”


Bernard Joseph (6-1, 4 KOs), Dorchester, MA

Joseph has won his last two fights and has been active with four fights in 2023 and this will be his second of 2024. The 33-year-old will also have a hometown advantage fighting in nearby Quincy.


“It is different (tournament format), but it comes down to the way we train. I do a lot of sparring and that will be good for me. It comes down to training and getting my body used to the break like in sparring. I could be fighting four rounds and then six.


“I’m a pro now, fighting six rounders, but not with a long pause between fights like in this tournament. It will give me time to re-hydrate and get ready for the second fight of the night. I’ve seen video of all the other fighters and I’m not bad-mouthing anybody, but I can’t not feel that I’m the favorite to win it all.”


Ryan Clark (4-5, 2 KOs), Barrington, ME

A natural middleweight, Clark is moving up the most weight in the tournament, something he is well aware of but not overly concerned. Another action-packed fighter, Clark’s record is misleading because he’s as tough as they come and capable of defeating any of the other three challengers.


“It’s (tournament) is a great idea. Chris (Traietti) is a smart guy, and this tournament will provide entertainment for the fans, and it’ll be a challenge for the fighters. I applaud his idea. I typically fight at 160 and this tournament has me fighting in a little bigger weight class. I like the challenge.


“I know Tony and Perkins and I respect them. They’re talented. This (tournament) is similar to sparring. I spar five or six rounds, hang around talking, get in some other training, and then get back in the ring to spar again. This isn’t too different.”


About Granite Chin Promotions

Granite Chin Promotions is the fastest growing boxing promotion in New England.


Granite Chin Promotions 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.

Print | Sitemap
© Strictly Business Boxing