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Laurent Humes: “Balletto is just another stepping stone”

Laurent Humes takes on Gary "Batman" Balletto III for the NABF Jr. Light Heavyweight title on Saturday night at Bally's Twin River Lincoln Casino.


Wednesday, May 8, 2024

SPRINGFIELD, MA – Laurent Humes (10-0, 10 KOs) is in the biggest fight of his career on Saturday, May 11, when he battles Gary “Batman” Balletto III (4-0, 2 KOs) for the NABF Jr. Light Heavyweight Championship.

The bout serves as ‘The Battle at Bally’s’ co-feature, a 7-bout card taking place at Bally’s Twin River Lincoln Casino in Rhode Island. Tickets are available at, priced at $60, $80, $155, and $180. Fans who can’t make it to Bally’s can catch the action for free on Swerve Combat TV.

“Training has been going good,” says a confident Humes just days before the fight. “I feel good, I look good, and I’m ready to dominate this guy. They offered me this fight on short notice – I had about 3 and a half weeks, but I'm always in the gym, so I just kicked it up a couple of notches and I’m pretty much ready for a guy like Balletto. I don't take nothing away from him, I've trained 110% either way, but I don't feel like he's on my level at all.”

When pressed about why he feels that there is such a disparity in skills, the Springfield native points to the fact that Balletto splits his time between boxing and MMA.

“I know he calls himself the Batman,” jokes Humes when asked what he knows about his opponent. “I know that he’s an MMA guy. I've seen a few clips of his fights. That’s all I needed to see to know that I could take this guy. I think I’m an all-around better fighter than him. Speed, IQ, everything.”

While it’s true that Balletto only has 4 pro bouts, boxing runs in the Cranston, RI native’s family. The 29-year-old has been training in some form of martial art, including boxing, since he was 8 years old. His father, Gary “Tiger” Balletto, was a devastating puncher at lightweight who won a world title and retired with a record of 31-2-2 with 26 KOs. In addition, ‘Batman’ Balletto has fought 12 times in MMA, winning world titles in two different weight classes in his last two fights.

“I fought MMA dudes before,” says an unfazed Humes when asked about MMA fighters who box. “They’re a little awkward in their movement and because they like to switch here and there. I’ve seen Balletto. There's very few clips of him actually boxing, but I saw that he makes little head movements going left and right. I'm gonna see all that coming on fight night.”

Regardless of Balletto’s pedigree, Humes contends that one of the key differences between them on fight night will be their level of opposition.

“I believe I fought tougher competition than him,” says Humes. “I fought in Mexico. If you know anything about Mexican fighters, they come to fight. I hit this guy with everything plus and he was still coming. I eventually took him out of there, but he took a lot of punishment. I won’t know until I know, but I don't think Balletto is going to be able to take my punches. We'll see.”

Asked why he thinks team Balletto chose to face an undefeated fighter who has knocked out all 10 of his opponents at this early stage in ‘Batman’s’ career, Humes believes they made a calculated mistake in their desire to win a title.

“I think he just fights whoever, to be honest,” concedes Humes. “They probably think they see something, but no one's actually seen me fight my best yet and it's different when you're actually in there and you get hit in your stomach and can't breathe for like 5 seconds.”

A multi-sport athlete growing up, Humes picked up boxing later in life. Despite that, Laurent has proven to be a quick study in the Sweet Science. The 30-year-old had only 20 amateur fights before turning pro, but he won the Golden Gloves twice during his short amateur career.

“I’ve always been a huge boxing fan, but I started boxing a little late,” admits Humes, “I’m still learning, but I have a good ring IQ and I'm getting better and better.”

Humes is convinced that regardless of what Balletto brings on fight night, he’ll be able to outbox or outfight the Cranston native depending on how the bout plays out.

“I can box on the outside using my jab, or I can fight aggressively,” explains Humes. “If you watch my fights, you’ll see that I've done different things in each fight. I would say I’m more of a boxer puncher, but if that doesn't work, I'll switch into an aggressive fighter walking you down with my hands up, so we'll see what Balletto brings.”

When assessing Balletto’s strengths, the Springfield native quickly shoots down the notion that an inside fight might favor Balletto given his grappling experience.

“I don't think he’s going to be effective with all that grappling $#%@ in the clinch,” says Humes. “I'm very good at making adjustments on the fly during a fight, and I don’t think that will be a problem.”

And while he is aware that the Rhode Island crowd will heavily favor Balletto on Saturday night, Humes doesn’t think anyone should be shocked at the outcome of the fight.

“I don't think me whooping his ass is gonna be a surprise,” says Humes. “I mean, me coming in 10-0, with 10 knockouts and him coming in as an MMA fighter at 4-0, I don't think it's gonna be that much of a surprise. I feel like this is just another steppingstone for me and it's important for me to win and look good winning.”

We’ll find out for sure on Saturday night at Bally’s Twin River Lincoln Casino.

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


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