Home Boxing News Longtime favorite Starnino returns to the ring Friday after two-year layoff

Longtime favorite Starnino returns to the ring Friday after two-year layoff

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (Oct. 6, 2011) – This isn’t about earning a few extra dollars or making one last run at an elusive title.

Richard Starnino – more commonly known as “Bobo The Bull” among New England boxing fans – is stepping back into the ring Friday night to prove a point.

“I can box circles around these young bucks,” said Starnino, 39, who will fight Friday, Oct. 7, 2011 for the first time since February of 2009 on the undercard of Jimmy Burchfield’s Classic Entertainment & Sports’ “Rhode Warriors” professional boxing show at the Twin River Event Center in Lincoln, R.I.

“They think it’s going to be easy because of my age, but whoever steps in the ring with me is going to be in for the fight of his life.”

The first test of Starnino’s comeback will come against veteran super middleweight Reynaldo Rodriguez (5-2-1, 2 KOs) of nearby Woonsocket, R.I., who dealt with a long layoff of his own for more than six years before he returned to the ring in June of 2010. Starnino, a Providence native, has a little less tread on his tires; his last bought was a thrilling, back-and-forth slugfest against Joey McCreedy for the vacant Eastern Boxing Association title, which ended in a majority-decision win for McCreedy.

While Starnino admits he’d like to take home a regional title before it’s all said and done, his comeback has more to do with quenching his inner thirst for boxing and proving he still has something left in the tank. A title would be icing on the cake.

“I miss it a lot,” said Starnino, who enters Friday at 9-5-2 with two knockouts. “It’s in my blood. I can’t wait to get back in the ring. Everyone is going to be in for a big surprise, because I’m a lot stronger now. Some people lose their touch when they get older. For me, it’s different. I don’t think 39 is old in boxing.”

Originally scheduled to face Providence’s Vladine Biosse, Starnino was forced to make a last-minute adjustment and will now lock horns with Rodriguez on the undercard of Friday’s show, but “Bobo The Bull” hasn’t ruled out a future showdown with Biosse, or any young, up-and-comer willing to step in the ring.

“He’s going to have his day with me, too,” Starnino said of Biosse. “He got lucky this time. Now I’m going to go through [Rodriguez] and go on to him. He’s going to be my prey. He’s not going to get off so easy the next time.”

As for Rodriguez, Starnino said, “I don’t know anything about him, and I don’t care to,” but don’t think for a second he’s looking past Friday’s opponent. Since he made the decision to return to the ring, Starnino has taken his training and conditioning to a new level. He feels stronger, faster and even a bit smarter than he was in the past.

“I take my career seriously,” Starnino said. “There aren’t too many fighters out there like me. I’m one of the oldest active fighters in Rhode Island and I run circles around these kids.

“I’m a lot meaner – a lot stronger. To me, it’s getting easier now. I’m not afraid to take that chance and get hit. Sometimes when I get hit, it lets me know, ‘OK, I’m in the fight.’ I stalk my prey. I know when he’s beat up and I’ll take him to the next round and break him down. That’s how I fight. If he throws three punches, I’ll throw four, five, six …

“I’m all heart. It’s do-or-die for me. It’s as simple as that. I’m a crowd pleaser. That’s what I do.”

During his layoff, Starnino remained active, which has made his comeback a seamless transition. A former sparring partner for five-time world champion Vinny Paz – “I learned a lot from him,” Starnino said – “Bobo The Bull” is also leaning on his experience both in and outside of the ring to keep him on track.

“One thing I’ve been doing is staying in shape, because it’s so easy to get out of shape, but much harder to get back in shape,” Starnino said. “At my age, you have to work twice as hard as the other guy. I don’t just go to the boxing gym; I go to the fitness center and do cardio as well, and at night when everyone else is sleeping, I run. I fight at night, so I train at night.

“A lot of people don’t know the dedication it takes to get in the ring and stay in shape. The training itself is actually harder than the fight. The fighting is the easy part.”

Starnino has high hopes for himself as he looks to rewrite history, but the future depends on the outcome of Friday’s fight against Rodriguez. No matter what, Starnino will always be remembered as a “warrior” who was willing to fight any opponent put in front of him regardless of the circumstances.

“I don’t pick and choose my fights,” he said. “I fought Brian Macy [in 2008 in a majority-decision loss] on eight hour’s notice because his opponent fell out, and I ran circles around him.”

That never-say-die, no-nonsense attitude could be the driving force behind Starnino’s comeback. Only time will tell. For now, New England boxing fans can sit back and enjoy the ride Friday night as a longtime favorite makes his long-awaited return.

“To be honest, I can go pretty far,” Starnino said. “I want to have a good run, just get it out of my system and let it all out. I can’t wait to get back in there. That’s my backyard. That’s my home. That’s what I do best. I’ll fight anyone. I’ll take anyone on, and I’ll go as far as I can go with this until I can’t go anymore.

“There’s always a time in this sport when you say, ‘Hey, I’ve had enough.’ Some fighters get knocked out and don’t recover – young fighters, too. I never got knocked out like that. It’s up to me to say when it’s enough. No one knows you better than yourself.”

“Rhode Warriors” features 10 action-packed bouts. Biosse (11-1, 6 KOs) will star in Friday’s eight-round super middleweight main event against John Mackey (13-6-2, 6 KOs) of Montgomery, Ala. Thomas Falowo (4-0, 4 KOs) of nearby Pawtucket will face Borngod Washington (2-8) of Queens, N.Y., in a four-round super middleweight bout, and Johnathan Vazquez (4-0-1, 3 KOs) of New Bedford, Mass., will put his unbeaten record on the line against welterweight Bryan Abraham (4-7, 4 KOs) of Schenectady, N.Y., in a six-round bout.

“Rhode Warriors” will also feature the return of Warwick, R.I., super middleweight Benny “The Boss” Costantino (6-0, 6 KOs), fighting for the first time since 2001, against Winter Haven, Fla., veteran Odias Dumezil (3-6, 1 KO), who now trains in Cranston, R.I. Lightweight Agustine Maurus (1-0-1, 1 KO) of Lawrence, Mass., who fought Vazquez to a draw in July, will battle newcomer Christian Rivera of Gloucester in a four-round intrastate bout; Kevin Cobbs (1-0, 1 KO) of Burlington, Vt., will face Steven Chadwick (0-1) of Jacksonville, Fla., in a four-round light heavyweight bout and fellow light heavyweight Alex Amparo (1-0, 1 KO) of Providence will take on Nicholas Lavin (2-1, 2 KOs) of Shelton, Conn., in a four-round bout.

Red-hot prospect Chris Chatman (9-1-1, 4 KOs) of San Diego, Calif., who battled former U.S. Olympian Demetrius Andrade of Providence at Twin River in October of 2009 in a controversial loss, will take part in a special six-round light middleweight attraction against Rahman Yusubov (11-4, 9 KOs) of Dallas, while bantamweight Shelito Vincent of Providence will make her debut against veteran Karen Dulin (2-9, 1 KO) of Mystic, Conn., in a four-round bout.

Tickets for “Rhode Warriors” are $35.00, $50.00, $75.00 and $125.00 (VIP) and can be purchased by calling CES at 401.724.2253/2254, online at www.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.

(Twin River has waived its 18+ rule for “Rhode Warriors.” Anybody under the age of 18 must be accompanied by an adult and must enter through the West entrance.)


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