Elijah Peixoto (1-0, 1 KO) works full-time five days a week, sometimes six, installing insulation in homes, and can even do construction, everything from dry wall to stick framing. When he's done, he rides his bike to the Big Six Boxing Academy in Providence -- seven and a half miles there, and seven and a half home -- to work on the one craft you can't learn in a classroom. Peixoto's promoter, CES, thinks he's one of the best-kept secrets in New England. The 24-year-old East Providence, RI, native's amateur resume ranks with some of the best in the northeast to lace up in the gloves. A boxer since the age of 12, Peixoto finished 119-27 as an amateur, including four Southern New England Golden Gloves championships, multiple New England Regional titles, four additional Regional Junior Olympic championships and a trip the 2018 Olympic Trials Qualifiers. Two years before that, he won the Cape Verdean Olympic Trials, but the team did not compete due to financial reasons.
Peixoto recently signed a long-term promotional agreement with CES Boxing and will make his Rhode Island debut Friday night at Twin River Casino Hotel in a four-round junior welterweight bout against Tampa's Carlos Otero (2-0). Tickets are available online at www.cesboxing.com or www.showclix.com or by phone at 401-724-2254.
"I want to put on the best show I can," Peixoto said. "I've been in with the best of the best. I'm not afraid to step in there with anyone, and if I have to step up early in my career to show everyone I'm ready, I'm with it. It's going to be crazy. The energy is going to be wild."
The work ethic that pushes Peixoto to work a full-time job -- and not just a desk job, but a job that requires demanding, physical labor -- and balance it with his boxing career was instilled at an early age. His grandfather, Charlie Babbitt, and father, Ricardo Crawford, introduced him to the sport as a child. He boxed in all circles, training and sparring as a youth alongside Rhode Island icons Jamie Clampitt, Gary Balletto and Jarrod Tillinghast, absorbing as much as he could along the way. He also met former pro Josh Beeman through his current trainer, Roland Estrada.
Upon launching his amateur career, Peixoto knew it'd only be a matter of time before he turned pro. To put his resume into perspective, Peixoto faced current unbeaten Worcester, MA, lightweight Jamaine Ortiz -- who also appears on Friday's show -- seven times as an amateur. The two also fought alongside one another at the 2016 Trials, Ortiz at 141 pounds and Peixoto at 132.
"Every time was a war, and when I say a war, I mean a war," Peixoto said. "There's a mutual respect between us. That's the kind of brotherhood you normally wouldn't have with another sport."
The two met up again at an amateur event in Rhode Island, where Ortiz urged Peixoto to turn pro. "A year later we're on the same card," Peixoto said. "Life is crazy sometimes."
Fighting everywhere as an amateur from Memphis to Spokane to Chattanooga prepared Peixoto for that long-awaited pro debut, and, as expected, he put on a show, stopping Carlos Galindo in the second round of their scheduled four-round fight in June. "When I was younger, people always told me I had more of a pro style. That's how my father taught me," he said. "You could look at my style and say, 'That kid is going to be great.' It's written all over the walls."
Peixoto, who graduated from East Providence High School and went to vocational school to learn construction, expects to climb the ladder quickly. In his just his second fight, he faces Otero, also an accomplished amateur, who goes by the nickname "Slick Hands." When Estrada fielded the offer for Peixoto to fight Otero, he never hesitated to accept, bluntly stating, "Elijah can take care of himself in the ring."
The four-round fight between the two could steal the show on Friday
Peixoto's goal is to outwork everyone in his path. "If you really want something, you have to work for it," Peixoto said. "I hope that other person is training as hard as me, because when I step in that ring you know I'll be working from Day 1. This sport makes me dig deep because I want to get to that level where I don't have to work. I want to work hard now so I won't have to work anymore. I want everyone to know my skill level and my passion."