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Alejandro Paulino: Faith, Patience, and the quest for his first pro title

Alejandro "El Abusador" Paulino faces Estivan "Tunny" Falcao for the WBC US Silver lightweight title on March 23rd when CES Boxing returns home to Bally's Twin River Lincoln Casino with a stacked pro card.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - Thursday, March 14, 2024

LINCOLN, RI – March 23 is a significant day for lightweight prospect Alejandro "El Abusador" Paulino (16-0, 13 KOs). The Dominican-born, Providence, RI based fighter headlines his first major card at Bally's Twin River Lincoln Casino against Brazilian upset specialist Estivan Falcao (13-3, 7 KOs). On the line is a chance for Paulino to win his first professional title, the WBC US Silver Lightweight championship.

Paulino v. Falcao serves as the main event of a stacked 'CES Boxing Homecoming' card at Bally's Twin River Lincoln Casino on March 23. Purchase your tickets now, priced at $60, $80, $155, and $180, at CES Fights or the Twin River Lincoln Casino box office.

It’s an assignment that Paulino relishes. The pugilist wants to impress so badly that he took the drastic steps of quitting his day job and moving into the Big 6 Boxing Academy in Providence, Rhode Island for the duration of the training camp.

"Training camp has been great," says an enthusiastic Paulino. "I'm staying at the gym right now, so I’m doing things differently this time. All I do is train all day, every day. Monday through Saturday, 3 times a day. We’re ready for whatever Falcao brings to the fight on March 23."

Living in New London, Connecticut and making the one hour plus drive to Rhode Island is something that the 25-year-old has done on a daily basis since turning pro in 2021. What’s different about this camp is that Paulino has literally moved into the boxing gym, where he trains from Monday through Saturday before driving home for the weekend.

Like many immigrants who come to the US in search of a brighter future, the Dominican fighter happily makes sacrifices with the faith that all his hard work will pay off in the long run. He’s also making up for lost time: while Alejandro wrestled through high school, he only picked up boxing 7 years ago at 18 years old.

"I had 37 amateur fights," explains Paulino of his brief but successful amateur career. "I won the Golden Gloves 3 times. I went to Nationals once and made it to the semi-finals. I could’ve gone to Nationals again, but COVID hit and it was cancelled. I decided to turn pro after that."

What makes Paulino’s amateur achievements even more impressive is that he won those titles as a self-trained fighter. Alejandro knew that this was a gap he needed to fill if he wanted to become a world champion.

"I was just going to the gym and practicing things I learned by watching others or from what I saw on Youtube," recalls Paulino. "At a certain point I hit a level where I got stuck. I knew I had to make a change, and that's when I went to Nationals and met Jason Estrada."

Jason ‘Big Six’ Estrada, a 2004 US Olympian and former heavyweight pro boxer from Providence, Rhode Island, liked what he saw in the raw Paulino and invited the Dominican to train at his Big Six Boxing Academy under the tutelage of his father, Dr. Roland Estrada. It was a perfect fit.

"That's the best thing that ever happened to me," says a grateful Paulino. "I’m always improving, not just on the technical side but also my cardio. When I first came in, I would get tired after sparring 3 rounds. Now my conditioning is great and something I always work on."

A big Manny Pacquiao fan growing up, Paulino adopted an aggressive, all action style as a pro that depends on conditioning. Thankfully, he’s a smart fighter who understands that activity keeps him sharp. In an era where boxers are considered active when they fight 3 times a year, Paulino has fought 15 times in 3 years, and this will be his second fight of 2024.

"It’s been great fighting often because it keeps me in the gym," says Paulino. "Not that I need motivation to train, but I like training more when I have a fight coming up. It keeps me sharp and learning, trying a lot of new things."

Paulino will need to bring his entire toolkit on March 23, when he faces upstart Estivan "Tunny" Falcao. The 27-year-old Brazilian is known for derailing prospects, handing Djamel Dahou his first loss via knockout last May and following that up with a decision win over James Bernadin 3 months later. What compounds the danger is that the Brazilian is a largely unknown commodity.

"I just found out about him 2 weeks ago," admits Paulino. "I looked at his record and watched some of his fights. He’s dangerous. He just beat someone who is 18-0, and one that is 10-1-1, so it’s going to be a great fight. I’m not overlooking him."

Ever the student, Paulino learned from his 8-round decision win over D’Angelo Keyes in February that while he will always enter the ring with knockout intentions, it’s better to let the knockout come to him rather than to force it.

"Last fight I was trying to get a knockout," says Paulino, who knocked Keyes down twice in round 3 but couldn’t put away the crafty Texan. "It didn't happen. I learned a lot because I wanted to knock him out so bad that all my shots were power punches. Once I hurt him, he was holding a lot and didn’t do too much offensively. He was trying to survive. Now I know that you can't knock everybody out. I’m not going to go there and try to force stuff; I’m going to be more patient and set things up better. If I have him hurt, I won’t rush things."

What Paulino hopes is that Falcao comes to win so that a real fight breaks out for the fans at the sold-out Bally’s Twin River Lincoln Casino.

"I’m looking for guys who are coming to win," insists Paulino. "Guys with good records. He's 13-3. Keyes was 17-3. I'm gonna take my time and see what he does, but if the knockout is there, I'm gonna go for it. I like knock outs. The fans like knockouts, and I want to give the fans a good show."

Alejandro Paulino believes that he has made the sacrifices necessary to give the fans a fight they'll remember. If Falcao is as focused as he was when he upset Dahou and Bernadin last year, we’re in for an electric main event on March 23.

For more information, follow CES Boxing on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter at @CESBOXING.


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