The road to a rematch begins Saturday night for Portland middleweight boxer Russell Lamour Jr.

Lamour is headlining an eight-bout card at the Portland Expo, taking on Derrick Findley (21-15-1) of Gary, Indiana, a late substitute for the injured Eric Mitchell.

But the 32-year-old “Haitian Sensation” remains fixed on a world championship match, and to do that he knows he must avenge what happened the last time he fought, Jan. 30 in Connecticut.

That night Lamour lost his New England middleweight title to Thomas Falowo in a unanimous decision, his first setback in 12 professional fights.

It still stings.

“I was just feeling a little off that day,” said Lamour, who beat Falowo four of the five times they met as amateurs. “I don’t think he did enough to beat me as a champion but they gave it to him.

“(The last five months) were tough because it still comes into your mind all the time. That being my first loss, to him, a guy I could have destroyed. I’m way better than that.”

Falowo’s camp has denied repeated attempts at a rematch, according to Bobby Russo, who operates the Portland Boxing Club and has trained Lamour since age 18. So Lamour, if he comes out of Saturday’s fight unscathed, may fight again in July, August and possibly September in Boston and New Hampshire. The goal is to line himself up for another shot at Falowo.

“I think ultimately the boxing public kind of demands certain matches, and I think ultimately they’ll have to do that,” Russo said. “It was a close, close fight. As I watch it from the corner, I’m super critical and everything is negative, just because I know what my boxers can do. When I watched the replay, the rounds were just razor close. You just kind of flip a coin.

“Hopefully we continue to get the wins and put that one behind us. It was nothing to be embarrassed about. It was a great fight. You’re bound to have those nights. You can train like an animal and be in the greatest shape of your life, and go up those stairs and those three steps make you tired. It’s partly mental.”

Lamour won’t be the only lure for local boxing fans Saturday. All six pro fights will feature a Mainer, including super welterweight Casey Kramlich of Raymond, who is 2-0, and the boxing debut of 30-year-old Buck “Knuckles” Pineau of Portland, a veteran of the MMA circuit.

Lamour’s story is well-known in Portland. The Deering High graduate is the son of Haitian immigrants and the cousin of fighter Lee Lamour, whose footsteps Russell’s parents didn’t want him to follow initially. But as soon as Lamour turned 18, he quit his job selling credit cards and devoted himself to boxing under the tutelage of Russo, who also trained his cousin.

He schedules his early morning runs and late-afternoon workouts around his job as a corrections officer at Long Creek Youth Development Center. His 8-year-old son, Isaiah, lives in North Carolina and serves as an inspiration.

“One thing I always said, I never want to lose a fight in front of my son,” Lamour said of Isaiah, who was in attendance at the Falowo bout. “I did and it was a disappointment. He was there to tell me, ‘Daddy, you’re still the best. You’re going to win again.’ That means a lot.”

Russo said Lamour has had to make up a great deal of ground to battle with boxers with much more experience. But he said Lamour’s commitment has never wavered, and his obvious athletic ability has helped carry him a long way.

“All the greats really started early, and they had that great junior background and then up the ladder,” Russo said. “It makes a difference when you’re a great athlete. Ever since he started, he never stopped. There’s been no in and out. He’s here every day.

“This guy is really focused. In all these years, so many days, I’ve never seen him off with a bad day, being ugly. He’s got a real positive personality. He walks in and he shakes everybody’s hand every day.”

Lamour hungers to put on a good show for his hometown, aware there will be people in the Expo seeing him in action for the first time. He is asked who those people will watch – Russell or the Haitian Sensation?

“I’m a little of both,” he said, a grin bisecting his angular, sweat-soaked face after a recent workout. “When I’m the Haitian Sensation you’ll see a lot of speed, a lot of speed, quick punches. But then when it comes to Russell, depending on the opponent or depending on what I see, I’ll sit down a little bit and just pop, digging in punches,

“I’m going to give my opponent my all. A lot of punches, a lot of jabs, a lot of movement and a lot of accuracy. A lot of hard shots that are going to hurt. I’ve got hope.”

Mark Emmert can be contacted at 791-6424 or at:

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Twitter: MarkEmmertPPH