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LINCOLN â Thomas Falowo passed the first six-round test of his pro career with flying colors.
The Pawtucket middleweight remained unbeaten in six fights on Thursday night by grabbing an impressive victory over a tough opponent before a standing-room-only gathering at the Twin River Event Center.
Falowo snagged an unanimous-decision triumph over battle-tested Bronx, N.Y. fighter Troy Artis on the undercard of Jimmy Burchfieldâs Classic Entertainment & Sportsâs âHome Invasionâ show, as he won the fight by scores of 59-55, 59-55, and 58-56.
"I'm happy with my performance," said Falowo, who improved to 6-0 (4 KOs). "I still saw a couple of things that I have to work on, but it was a good fight and Iâm happy with it. This guy was taking punches and he was still coming at me. It was a tough fight, but I needed that. It was a good experience.â
Falowoâs victory was one of the highlights of the nine-fight card, but unfortunately for Pawtucket fight fans, his win was the only one they could hang their hats on.
In what may have been the fight of the night, an action-packed duel from start to finish, Pawtucketâs Eddie Soto dropped a close six-round split decision to New Bedfordâs Jason Pires in their âspecial attractionâ welterweight bout and Sotoâs first fight at the 145-pound class after spending his entire pro career as a 135-pound lightweight.
Soto (12-4, 4 KOs) was a 58-56 winner on one of the judgesâ card, but Pires (23-4-1, 9 KOs), a New Bedford police officer and a member of the cityâs SWAT team, got the nod from the other two judges by scores of 59-55 and 58-56.
And in a welterweight fight, Pawtucket mixed martial arts veteran Jeff Anderson, who was making his pro debut as a boxer, suffered a vicious first-round knockout at the hands of New Bedfordâs Johnathan Vazquez (5-1, 4 KOs).
The 22-year-old Falowo found himself in a battle with Artis (3-3-1, 2 KOs) for most of the night, especially in the third and fourth rounds, when Artis managed to land some quality punches and briefly pin Falowo against the ropes.
But Falowo seemed to get a bit tougher and stronger in the fifth and sixth rounds as he wowed the crowd with some menancing punches. Artis, meanwhile, seemed to lose a bit of steam and was unable to answer Falowoâs shots.
âIn the second or third round, (Artis) caught me with a good right hand, and in the fourth, he got me with a body shot,â admitted Falowo. âBut once I got my second wind, I really got going and I felt good after that.â
Soto, who dropped his fourth straight bout with his loss, clearly fought well enough to come away with a victory on most nights, especially in the first two rounds, as he tagged Pires with some solid rights.
But Pires came back with a strong third round and belted Soto with body shots, and after Soto delivered a solid fourth round, Pires took charge in the final two rounds, and that may have helped him eke out the close decision.
Nevertheless, Soto was a bit disappointed at the decision, and after thanking his wife, family, and friends during his post-fight remarks with the media, he let his feelings be known.
âWhen I heard it was a split decision, I said, 'Come on man,â â said Soto. âAnd once I heard that one of the scores was (59-55) for Pires, I thought it was ridiculous. I mean, I saw the fight something like 58-56 all in my favor, but it is what it is.
âBut (Pires) is a great fighter. I canât take anything away from him. Heâs a great kid, very humble, always smiling. This was a tough fight, but Iâd like to fight him again. It would be a great main event fight anywhere.â
The nightâs card featured a pair of opening-round knockouts, including Vazquezâs quick stoppage of Anderson, a veteran MMA lightweight who is 10-6 and took the fight less than a week ago after Vazquezâs original opponent bowed out of the bout.
Unfortunately for Anderson, his debut last just 96 seconds, as he absorbed a punishing left hook by Vazquez that was soon followed by a hard right and two more left hooks that sent him spiraling to the ground.
Anderson was unable to get back on his feet and required medical attention in the ring, but headed back to the dressing room under his own power.
There were three other fights on the card that involved Rhode Island fighters, including the six-round main event, which saw Providence resident Vladine Biosse improve to 12-1-1 (6 KOs) with an unanimous-decision victory over George Armenta of Silver Spring, Md.
Biosse, who is a former University of Rhode Island football player, briefly sent Armenta (14-8, 11 KOs) to the canvas with a third-round body shot and ended up beating him by scores of 59-54, 59-54, 59-55.
The nightâs other first-round knockout came from Providence middleweight prospect Alex Amparo (3-0, 2 KOs), who needed just 62 seconds to put away John Downey of Spencer, Mass. Spencer, like Anderson, is an MMA fighter who was making his pro debut, but unlike Anderson, Spencer has had very little success in the octagon, going 1-9 with a five-match losing streak.
The other Rhode Island bout saw 40-year-old Warwick super midleweight Benny Costantino suffer the first loss of his career via a third-round TKO to Yolexcy Leiva (5-2, 4 KOs) of Nashville, Tenn. Costantino entered the fight with a 7-0 (4 KOs) record.
This fight started out as a royal slugfest, with Leiva sending Costantino to the mat in the opening round, and Costantino (whose left eye was swollen badly after that round) returning the favor and dropping his opponent to the canvas in the second. Leiva eventually earned the TKO with a strong flurry of punches 42 seconds into the third.