November 16, 2013

Expo boxing returns Saturday night

The card will be the first in the building in 20 years.

By Steve Solloway ssolloway@pressherald.com
Columnist

Russell Lamour stepped on the scales at Friday’s weigh-in to applause and cheers. The little demonstration raised some eyebrows in the Ryan Kielczweski camp.

click image to enlarge

Russell Lamour is one of the fighters Saturday night on the first Portland Expo card in 20 years.

Gordon Chibroski/Staff Photographer

FIGHT NIGHT AT THE EXPO

WHAT: Boxing card of five professional and two amateur fights at the Portland Expo on Saturday

MAIN EVENT: Ryan Kielczweski of Quincy, Mass., vs. Jose Hernandez of Atlanta, for IBA Americas super featherweight championship

FEATURED UNDERCARD BOUT: Russell Lamour Jr. of Portland vs. Deivison Ribeiro, six-round middleweight fight

SPECIAL GUEST: Roberto Duran, former four-time world champion

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

Wasn’t their guy fighting in Saturday night’s main event at the Portland Expo based on his record and potential? What had Lamour done?

Grow up in Portland.

The return of pro boxing to the Portland Expo after a 20-year absence is a celebration of most things Portland. Kielczweski is a 24-year-old potential contender from Quincy, Mass. His eight-round fight with Jose Hernandez of Atlanta is for the IBA Americas super featherweight championship.

Sharing the attention outside the ring is the visit of a former four-time world champion, Roberto Duran.

The fighter with the nickname “Hands of Stone” will be in the crowd, a guest of the promoter, Bobby Russo of the Portland Boxing Club. Vinny Pazienza, another former world champ, will drive from his home in Rhode Island to hang out with Duran, an old opponent.

Ten fighters for the five professional bouts on Saturday’s card took their turns at a weigh-in that was all business. Lamour and Deivison Ribeiro engaged in a little stare-down when they squared off for the traditional photo but nodded their respect to each other when they were done.

Kielczweski is the Polish Prince to his fans in the Boston area. He’s a potential contender for a world title with a 17-0 record that was enhanced by his fifth-round TKO of the previously unbeaten Miguel Soto at Rockingham Park in Salem, N.H., in July. Hernandez has a 14-7 record.

Lamour, the former wide receiver on the Deering High football team, is 5-0 with three knockouts in his fledgling pro career. At age 30 he’s gotten a late start after working years as an amateur fighter. Saturday’s six-round middleweight fight at the Expo is his first before his hometown fans. Ribeiro, of Tampa, Fla., should test him. Ribeiro fights mostly in mixed martial arts and has an overall record of 24-9.

Jorge Abiague of Portland hasn’t fought in two years and never as a pro in Portland. The former amateur champion said he’s not rusty. He fights Leonel Garcia of San Juan, Puerto Rico, in a four-round bantamweight bout. Abiague came to the U.S. from Cuba with his father and grandfather nearly 20 years ago. His 4-year-old daughter, Zuleyni, will be in the crowd to see her father fight.

Jimmy Smith of Biddeford, a former Marine who served two tours of duty in Iraq, fights Robert Brando Hunt of Hyannis, Mass. Once a regular at the Portland Boxing Club with Lamour and Abiague, Smith’s career was interrupted by the military service. This will be his third pro fight. Brandon Berry of West Forks fights Paul Souza of Somerville, Mass., in a four-round junior welterweight fight.

Two amateur fights fill out the card. Jason Quirk of Scarborough fights Joe McKenna of South Boston in a three-round open class middleweight fight. Justin Kinnie of Saco takes on Joel Bishop from the central Maine town of Clinton in a three-round open class heavyweight bout.

Steve Solloway can be contacted at 791-6412 or at:

ssolloway@pressherald.com

Twitter: Steve Solloway

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