CHESTER - For the first three and a half years of his professional boxing career, Youngstown's Jake "The Bull" Giuriceo had always had his hand raised when the final bell rang.
Giuriceo made his pro debut in Feb. of 2009 and remained undefeated through his first 17 bouts. All that changed on July 21 when "The Bull" lost a majority decision to veteran Michael Clark.
Clark (42-7-1, 18 KOs), who came into the contest with more knockouts than his opponent had fights, used his experience to hand Giuriceo (16-1-1, 3 KOs) the first defeat of his career to win the Ohio State light welterweight title at Promo West Pavilion in Columbus.
Now, Giuriceo will have his chance at getting back in the win column on Dec. 1 against Peter Oluoch in one of the co-features in a night full of boxing action at The Harv at Mountaineer Casino, Racetrack & Resort.
While the loss to Clark was clearly a set back for Giuriceo, the young boxer said it could have been a blessing in disguise.
"I learned a lot from that loss," he said. "Mainly in the training aspect. Training at home just wasn't getting the job done."
For his bout against Clark - and a win over Juan Santiago at Mountaineer in April - Giuriceo had been training locally where he also got married in May. But, for his most recent fights prior to that he had been working with trainer Frankie Duarte in California.
"I needed to get back out here (California) because I was learning boxing better," Giuriceo said. "I can get better sparring here. There's a lot bigger name guys out here. I'm able to work with a lot of up-and-coming fighters. I'm just able to learn the game better here."
While training on the West Coast has given Giuriceo renewed energy, he said he is happy to be having his fight back at Mountaineer.
"I really enjoyed fighting there last time," he said. "I'm excited they wanted me back and I thank God for that. I'd fight there every time they do a show if they let me."
Giuriceo's opponent, Oluoch, is a 34-year-old native of Kenya who has a record of 11-6-2 with six knockouts. Oluoch's last fight was a unanimous decision loss to Jose Hernandez (13-6-1) in March in what was his first fight in the United States.
In June of 2011, Oluoch fought for the WBO African welterweight title, losing to Bethel Ushona (27-2-1).
"Honestly, I don't know very much about him," Giuriceo said of Oluoch. "I'm going to see if my manager can get some film on him. But, I know he'll come to fight and be trying to win. I think a lot of those guys with records around .500 are actually tougher than some of the undefeated fighters. I'm training like this is a world title fight."
The Giuriceo-Oluoch bout is one of many on the card with local interest.
At the top of the card, promoted by Roy Jones Jr., is Paul Spadafora against Solomon Gerome (22-3-1, 11 KOs). Spadafora (46-0-1, 19 KOs), won his last fight on Aug. 18 at Mountaineer against Humberto Toledo (41-8-2, 25 KOs) and is looking to climb back onto the world title stage at age 37. Spadafora, a McKees Rocks native who formerly held the IBF lightweight world championship, served a 13-month prison sentence in 2005 for attempted murder and completed a lengthy stay in rehab earlier this year.
The other co-feature will pit Monty Meza-Clay (33-3, 21 KOs) against Emmanuel Lacero (26-12-1, 14 KOs) in a rematch of a majority decision win for Clay in their bout on July 14 at Rivers Casino in Pittsburgh.
Meza-Clay, a native of Rankin, Pa., has won five straight fights and could be in the mix for a title shot with a victory. Lacero, who started his career at 21-0-1 and has since dropped 12 of his last 17 bouts, has fought the likes of Manny Pacquiao, Daniel Ponce de Leon, Rocky Juarez, Diego Magdaleno and Patrick Hyland.
On the undercard, Pittsburgh's Billy Hutchinson (4-1-2) will take on Jose Caraballo (5-4); Pittsburgh's Morgan Fitch (7-0) will battle Cameron Allen (4-11); East Liverpool graduate Joey Holt will make his pro boxing debut against Alan Moore (3-17); and former Steubenville Big Red football standout Angelo Magnone will fight in an amateur contest to begin the night.