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Gravedigger James Perkins digging his way to top in New England boxing circles

“Fight Night at the Vets Club” on June 10th in Bridgewater, Mass.

(L-R ) – James Perkins and his head coach Joe Ricciardi

QUINCY, Mass. (May 30, 2023) – Unbeaten Lynn super middleweight prospect James “Pitbull” Perkins (11-0-1, 8 KOs) is a powerful fighter who has developed his upper body strength in an unusual manner as a gravedigger.

The 30-year-old Perkins faces Texas veteran Larry “Slo Mo” Smith (13-53-2. 9 KOs) Saturday night, June 10th, in a six-round bout on the “Fight Night at the Vets Club” card, presented by Granite Chin Promotions’ (GCP), at the Veterans Club in Bridgewater, Massachusetts.

Perkins, who has worked the past three years at Lynn’s St. Joseph’s Cemetery, agrees that his job has indeed helped him as a prizefighter.

“It definitely works for sure,” Perkins said. “It’s not all digging like it was in the past in cemeteries. We use a backhoe now, but there are places it can’t be used, so we still dig a lot.”

A hockey player at St. Mary’s High School in Lynn, Perkins turned to boxing when he graduated in 2011 when he didn’t receive a hockey scholarship from any college he was interested in playing for.

“I got into another intensive labor job working on a lobster boat,” he explained. “But I needed to get back into a sport. When I was 19, Stu Randall – he now works my corner – brought me to a gym in Saugus. I met Joe Ricciardi and he became my head trainer. I was 5-1 as an amateur and figured I’d go pro.”

Lynn is experiencing a boxing rebirth, of sorts. Danny Avery was a gifted Lynn fighter back in the early 1980s who trained under the famed Petronelli brothers in Brockton (they trained Marvelous Marvin Hagler), but the Ellis family presently rules Lynn boxing today with top 10 ranked welterweight “Speedy” Rashidi Ellis (24-1, 15 KOs), Ronald “Akeem” Ellis (18-3-2, 12 KOs) and their sister, Rashida, a 2020 U.S. Olympian boxer. Perkins represents the latest wave of promising boxers from the city located north of Boston.

“There’s also a 16-year-old from Lynn, Malik Johnson, who trains where I do at Broadway Boxing Club in Everett,” Perkins added. “He’s going to be a good fighter. I know about the Ellis family, and I do feel a little pressure coming from Lynn. But I’m up to the task!

“I’m lucky to have the support I have, mostly from Lynn,” Perkins concluded. “They’ve traveled all over to my fights and I suspect they’ll travel to Bridgewater as well,”

From a hockey rink to a lobster boat, Perkins is now digging his way to the top of the New England Boxing rankings.

“James is a great guy, and he always makes for an exciting fight,” GSP president Chris Traietti commented. “”We are honored to have him on another one of our cards. He is stepping in with an experienced guy on June 10th who I anticipate will test him a bit. On top of being an exciting fighter watch, he brings a passionate fan-base that will be loud and proud in Bridgewater.”

Julien “Black Dragon” Baptiste (4-2, 2 KOs), of Woburn (MA), takes on New Hampshire’s Ryan Thomas Clark (2-3. 1 KO) in the six-round main event for the vacant United States Boxing Federation (USBF) middleweight title.

Also slated to fight on the “Fight Night at the Vets Club” are former New England Welterweight Champion Mike “Bad Man” Ohan, Jr. (17-2, 9 KOs), of Holbrook (MA), vs. William Parra Smith (4-14-1, 3 KOs) in an eight-round bout; Boston lightweight Arika Skoog (1-0-1, 1 KO), the 2020 USA Boxing Elite National and multiple New England Golden Gloves champion, vs. Sarah “Switch Kick” Click (1-4-1 in a six-rounder), and Scituate heavyweight Kevin Nagle (1-0, 1 KO) vs. Reinaldo Souza (0-1) in a four-round match.

Card subject to change.

Tickets are priced at $60.00 (floor seats), $40.00 (standing room only), and $400.00 for ringside tables of 4 are available for purchase at

Doors open at 6:30 p.m. ET, first bout at 7 p.m. ET.


Twitter: @Granite_Chin


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