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After a Dry Decade, Pro Boxing Returns to Vermont

By Stephen Tobey at ringside


WINDSOR, VT. – Only two active professional boxers call Vermont home. One of them, Burlington light heavyweight Kevin Cobbs, actually spends most of his time living and training in Massachusetts.
The other, Windsor welterweight Chris Gilbert, finally got to fight in his hometown as a pro on Saturday night.
 
Gilbert remained undefeated with a fifth-round stoppage victory over Luis Viramontes of Brockton, Mass. in a scheduled six-rounder in a mostly-full Windsor Recreation Center.

“You could hear the crowd tonight,” said Gilbert, who improved to 7-0 with six knockouts. “Every other time I’ve fought, it’s been with two or three people knowing me.”
 
Although Vermont hosts the Northern New England Golden Gloves in Burlington and there are occasional amateur shows, this was the first time the state hosted professional boxing since April 26, 2002, when there was a show in Rutland (according to BoxRec.com).
 
The 28-year-old Gilbert, a three-time New England Golden Gloves champion who once reached the national quarterfinals, earned the victory when Viramontes’ corner stopped the fight at the end of the sixth round.
 
Viramontes, 3-2 (1), never went down but he stumbled slightly after Gilbert landed a left hook midway through the fifth. Gilbert continued his attack, landing several more unanswered punches and Viramontes returned to his corner on shaky legs and the fight was over.
 
Gilbert spent the first round trying to figure out Viramontes’ southpaw style and picked up momentum after the opening round. “He was awkward and I was trying not to get caught,” Gilbert said. “He was hard to figure out but after a while, I started letting my hands go.”
 
Gilbert is trained by Jim Fox and Mel Peabody. While he lives in Windsor and runs the town’s recreation department boxing program, he does have to travel to get in sparring. “I go everywhere,” Gilbert said. “I’ve been to Portland, Maine, Lawrence, Mass. and everywhere in between.”
 
Said Gilbert’s manager, Edward Farris, “He did really well. [Viramontes] is a tough opponent who went the distance with Russell Lamour and Russell was one of the top amateurs.” Farris also manages Demetrius Andrade, the World Boxing Organization’s number two super welterweight. Farris said Andrade will fight WBO titleholder Zaurbek Baysangurov in June.
 
In the first pro bout, Nick Cyr of Quincy, Mass. won a scheduled four-rounder featuring debuting heavyweights, knocking out Ramon Bermudez of Albany, N.Y. in the first round. Cyr, who weighed 288 pounds to Bermudez’s 248, landed a left hook to the body, forcing Bermudez to a knee. Referee Victor Gammill stopped it at 1:41.
 
In the amateur fight of the night, Chi Wong of Portland, Maine, won a decision over John Ward of Keene, N.H. at 132 pounds.
 
In other amateur fights, Natalia Espaila of Lawrence, Mass. outpointed Nicky Peritono of Searsport, Maine. Mytonay Ross of Boston stopped Robert Gleason of Springfield, Vt. in the first round. Chris Saro of Searsport, Maine won a decision against Denton Getchivs of Somersworth, N.H.; Neiko Clow of Claremont, N.H. won a decision against Rashane Boyle of Boston. Julio Capusano of Boston stopped Matthew Thibault of Springfield, Vt. in the first round and Jason Quirk of Portland, Maine won a decision over Khory Pitts of Worcester, Mass.
 
Stephen Tobey can be reached at sg.tobey2@comcast.net.

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