As he continues to rewrite his future in professional boxing, Peter Manfredo Jr. must first revisit his storied past, reliving his glory days as a fan-favorite on the hit reality television series The Contender.
With Joey Spina unable to fight due to an injury, thus squashing what was shaping up to be a highly-anticipated rematch between two of Rhode Island’s most beloved fighters, Manfredo Jr. (38-7, 20 KOs) will now face fellow Contender alum Walter Wright (14-3, 7 KOs) in the 10-round main event of “Unfinished Business” Friday, March 15th, 2013 at the Twin River Event Center, presented by Jimmy Burchfield’s Classic Entertainment & Sports.
“I like Walter from The Contender Season 2, and I’m also glad he’s stepping up on just two weeks’ notice,” said Manfredo Jr., who rose to fame in 2005 when he reached the finals of the show’s inaugural season. “That’s why he’s a true contender.
“I was training and preparing for Joey Spina, so now I have to get mentally ready for a whole different fight and fighter, but, at the end of the day, the fans will see a great fight.”
Wright, a Seattle, Wash., native and former quarterfinalist in Season 2 of The Contender, hasn’t fought since a six-round unanimous-decision win over Joshua Snyder in 2010, but he’s remained active throughout his layoff, most notably as a training partner for James Kirkland during Kirkland’s preparation for bouts against Alfredo Angulo and Carlos Molina, which were held in 2011 and 2012, respectively. Wright had also been preparing for his own comeback in June against Omar Henry, but that fight fell through at the last minute.
“I’m even more excited about this bout than I was for the potential Joey Spina-Peter Manfredo rematch,” Burchfield said. “The Contender has thrilled boxing fans for years with its candid, in-depth look at the sport of boxing, and its showcasing of great, young talent, and both Peter and Walter are two of the brightest, most successful stars to emerge from the fray.
“Because of their determination and perseverance, they’ve succeeded where other Contender alums have failed, and they’re both as hungry as ever to make another run at a world title, so it’s only fitting they meet face-to-face in front of what will be a sold-out crowd at the beautiful Twin River Casino on March 15th.”
In 2006, Wright won his opening bout on Season 2 of The Contender in convincing fashion, beating Andre Eason 50-44 on all three scorecards before losing in the quarterfinals to future world champion Cornelius Bundrage. Later that year, Wright returned for the Season 2 finale at the Staples Center in Los Angeles and defeated fellow castmate Vinroy Barrett by fourth-round knockout. Proving his success under the bright lights was no fluke, Wright faced off against then-unbeaten junior middleweight Dan Wallace in January of 2007 on ESPN2’s Friday Night Fights and scored a knockout win in the eighth and final round.
For Manfredo Jr., “The Pride Of Providence,” this is the second fight of his much-heralded comeback, which began in November with a unanimous-decision win over Rayco Saunders at Twin River. Tickets for the event are $40.00, $60.00, $100.00 and $150.00 (VIP) and can be purchased by calling CES at 401.724.2253/2254, online at www.shop.cesboxing.com or www.twinriver.com, at the Players Club booth at Twin River, or through any TicketMaster location. Doors open 6 p.m. with the first bout scheduled for 7.
The undercard of “Unfinished Business” features an array of intriguing regional showdowns, starting with an intra-city battle between Joey Gardner (10-5-1, 1 KO) and Reynaldo Rodriguez (6-5-1, 3 KOs) of Woonsocket, R.I. The former training partners will go toe-to-toe in a six-round super middleweight special attraction.
Also on the undercard, Boston middleweight Julio Garcia (6-3, 3 KOs) – trained by former heavyweight world champion John Ruiz – will face Thomas Falowo (8-1, 6 KOs) of Pawtucket, R.I., in a six-round bout while light heavyweight Kevin Cobbs (6-1, 2 KOs) of Burlington, Vt., who is looking to bounce back from his first career loss in November, will face hard-htting Paul Gonsalves (4-2, 3 KOs) of Harwich, Mass., in a four-round bout.
Warwick, R.I., super middleweight Benny Costantino (7-2, 4 KOs) is also back in action and looking to bounce back from his loss in July as he faces Quincy, Mass., veteran Emmanuel Medina (2-3-1, 2 KOs), who appeared in a nationally-televised bout on ESPN2 in January. Unbeaten, 19-year-old Polish welterweight Patryk Szymanski (5-0, 2 KOs), fighting out of North Bergen, N.J., will make a special appearance in a six-round bout against Antonio Chaves Fernandes (2-8-1) of Brockton, Mass. Jesse Barboza (5-1-1, 3 KOs), a Barnstable, Mass., heavyweight