James Birchfield Sr.

Inducted: 2022
Born: 1955 - Died:

Legendary promoter Jimmy Burchfield Sr is most often referred to as the hardest working promoter in combat sports. This native Rhode Islander and North Providence resident has the well-deserved reputation in this region as the individual most responsible for consistently providing young fighters with a platform to chase their dreams. In 1992, fueled by a lifelong passion for boxing and always the entrepreneur, Jimmy founded Classic Entertainment & Sports, Inc. (CES Boxing and CES MMA), promoting his first ever boxing event at the famed Rocky Point Palladium. Today, under Jimmy’s guidance, CES reigns supreme as combat sports’ most active promotion company, bringing both championship boxing and mixed martial arts to fans all over the world.

For over thirty years, with the same passion and dedication, Jimmy has guided the careers of would-be champions, challengers, and dreamers. Jimmy often becomes a father figure to his fighters. “He has an emotional bond with his fighters that transcends outside the ring. If wrong has been done to one of his fighters, Jimmy goes ballistic, as if it’s happened to his own son” exclaims Sugar Ray Leonard when interviewed by Rhode Island Monthly for a story on Jimmy. Throughout this time, he has earned several noteworthy awards, such as the World Boxing Council’s Lifetime Achievement Award, the North American Boxing Federation’s Promoter of the Year, induction into the Connecticut Boxing Hall of Fame and the distinction for promoting Rhode Island’s first sanctioned MMA event at Bally’s Twin River Casino.

Always the fighter, Jimmy has learned how to “roll with the punches” and when the pandemic hit, he came out punching. In November 2020, CES Boxing promoted one of the most talked about top ten pay per view events ever, “The Thriller on Triller: Tyson vs Jones.” Jimmy’s resume includes Executive Producer credits on the blockbuster reality series “The Contender,” and the Vinny Paz movie “Bleed for This.”

Before venturing into the combat sports business, Jimmy made a name for himself while owning and operating the legendary Classic Restaurant and Lounge in North Providence. The Classic was considered by most as the mark of culinary and entertainment excellence in the State. Jimmy’s trademark innovation and style transformed this once neighborhood bar into a landmark featuring tableside cooking, an incredible wine list and the best live entertainment around.

Jimmy’s charitable endeavors include the infamous Classic Road Race to raise money and awareness for the Ileitis and Colitis Foundation and the Joanne Sullivan Memorial Fund in its’ goal to help find a cure for cancer.

Jimmy went to North Providence High School where he excelled in baseball and football but was forced to leave school early to assist with family matters. His then went to work for his grandfather’s business, International Building Wrecking. “My grandfather taught me at a very young age how to run a business and how to make money doing so,” states Jimmy. With his grandfather’s blessing, Jimmy then went to work at CJ Coutu Lumber in West Warwick. Under the mentorship of Clarence Coutu, Jimmy worked his way up to general manager. “Clarence was more than just a boss; he was a mentor and friend. I owe a lot of my success to the principles I learned while working with him,” recalls Jimmy. Jimmy enjoys working out and spending time with his beautiful family which includes his wife, JoAnne, their three sons: Jimmy Jr, Joey, and Scott, and their families.

“I’m genuinely humbled to be part of the Rhode Island Heritage Hall of Fame Class of 2022,” states Jimmy. “To be inducted alongside this year’s class and be included alongside some of the historic figures who’ve helped shape Rhode Island’s history is a tremendous honor, one which cannot be overstated. This is reflective of the years and years of hard work and dedication not only by myself, but by the team that has surrounded me for decades. I am truly blessed.”

Interesting Links: https://www.youtube.com/c/TheFightJournalBoxing

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