CRANSTON --- After losing his last three fights over the past 24 months as a lightweight fighter, can a change in weight class result in a change of fortunes for Eddie Soto?
The Pawtucket fighter and his camp at 401 Boxing in Cranston certainly think so.
Soto, who spent the first seven years of his pro career fighting at 135 pounds, is moving up two classes to the 145-pound welterweight circuit and making his debut in this division next Thursday night on the âHome Invasionâ show, presented by Jimmy Burchfieldâs Classic Entertainment & Sports, at the Twin River Event Center.
Even her simplest of motions had become a tall order. No matter that she was gingerly pressing her feet against the hardwood â Brooke Coderreâs âdogsâ were barking loudly and incessantly, begging her not to continue.
PAWTUCKET â You can't help but laugh when Gil Dolman explains how he came to enlist in the U.S. Navy at age 17. He does so in such a Pawtucket way.
âI joined up to get away from all the creeps, the bullies,â the 59-year-old lifetime city resident offered. âI had been living in Prospect Heights, and I was always in fights. I didn't start them, of course; there were just kids in the heights in the 1960s and '70s who wanted to beat me up. They'd do that because they wanted to take my lunch money, or because I was hanging out with a girl, whatever.
PAWTUCKET â Ask Jessica McLaughlin her highlight as a Tolman High cheerleader in the early 2000s, and she answers immediately.
âWe went to the AmeriCheer National Championships at the Disney Wide World of Sports Complex in Orlando, Fla. my senior year (2003), and we actually made it to the finals,â the still-perky McLaughlin explained. âWe ended up fifth in the country out of 18 teams, and I still think about it. I remember the pressure of making it to the final round, and the feeling of accomplishment that came with it.
PROVIDENCE â The drive for five ran out of gas.
Mount St. Charlesâs bid for a fifth straight state crown and 43rd in its storied history came up short on Monday night in Game 3 of its best-of-three State Championship series with Bishop Hendricken.
The Hawks, who had lost to the Mounties in three of the last four title series, were finally able to take home a championship at their rivalâs expense before a full house at Providence Collegeâs Schneider Arena by grabbing a 5-2 win.
Joe Gardnerâs return to the super middleweight ranks was a triumphant one.
The Woonsocket Boxing Club veteran, who went 0-3 as a light heavyweight a year ago, returned to the win column in his old weight class this past weekend on Big Six Entertainmentâs âWhoâs Next?â card at the R.I. Convention Center in Providence.
Gardner seized an all-Blackstone Valley showdown with Pawtucketâs Rameil Shelton by claiming a four-round unanimous-decision victory by scores of 40-36, 39-37, and 39-37.
You read and hear the names of highly visible, sought-after recruits only to see later in the same sentence that Ed Cooley is right there in the trenches, making inroads with the Jakarr Sampsons of the world.
CUMBERLAND â Now that he's decided where he will attend college, Cumberland High senior pitcher Justin Patrick â a 6-5, 205-pound righty â just wants to focus on the next task at hand: Helping the Clippers to an outstanding Division I-North campaign and securing a playoff berth later this spring.
âI personally think we can get to states this year,â Patrick stated Thursday afternoon as he relaxed inside the school's Wellness Center. âThe last couple of years, we played OK as a team, but I don't feel we reached our potential.
WOONSOCKET â Last week, when Rhode Island Interscholastic League officials asked East Providence High head coach Kevin Croke where he wanted to play his home games in the Division III playoffs, he selected Adelard Arena, the home of Mount St. Charles Academy.
âWe donât practice at Lynch Arena (in Pawtucket), and we only had five games there this season,â Croke reasoned. âTolman practices there, so we figured, âWhy give them home ice (for all three semifinal tilts)? Thatâs why we wanted it up here.â
PAWTUCKET -- They donât share the same practice facility anymore, but that doesnât mean the rivalry between Tolman and East Providence has lost any luster this season.
Their two regular-season meetings â a 3-0 Tolman win on New Yearâs Eve and a 4-1 E.P. victory on Jan. 28 â were hard-fought, physical battles that saw a lot of penalties and hard feelings between the two Blackstone Valley rivals.
That being said, expect another royal slugfest this weekend when the teams renew acquaintances in the best-of-three Division III semifinals.