Russell Lamour Jr. dodges the word “if” while discussing his boxing match Saturday night at the Portland Expo.

“When I win this fight,” Lamour began with a grin, “it will open up doors to much bigger fights. That’s my motivation.”

Lamour, of Portland, will turn 35 on Dec. 18 but still has his sights set on winning a world championship.

After losing his IBA North American middleweight title in 2015, the boxer known as “The Haitian Sensation” has a chance to win it back as the headliner at the Portland Boxing Club’s 104th event, which will include seven pro and two amateur bouts.

A son of Haitian parents, Lamour, a Deering High graduate, works as a corrections officer at the Long Creek Youth Development Center in South Portland.

He’ll face John Thompson (17-3) of Newark, New Jersey, in the eight-round main event.

“He’s another A-list fighter. I cannot take him lightly at all,” Lamour said of Thompson, 28, who was stopped by Liam Smith in the seventh round of a WBO light middleweight title bout in 2015 in Manchester, England.

“I’ll die in that ring to win that fight, no matter what.”

The bout is especially personal to Lamour, who lost his IBA title to a familiar foe, Thomas Falowo, two years ago.

After kicking off his pro career in 2012, Lamour rolled to a 12-0 start before losing his New England title to Falowo in 2014 in Connecticut. That loss stung Lamour, who had defeated Falowo in four of the five bouts they fought as amateurs.

But it didn’t hurt quite as much as losing to Falowo again almost two years later – this time on Lamour’s home turf at the Portland Expo with the IBA title on the line.

Falowo has since retired, leaving that title vacant and up for grabs Saturday.

“It’s something that I’ve been wanting and that’s been bothering me for a while, especially losing to him for the second time,” Lamour said. “I don’t want to lose again. There’s no time for that; there’s no room for error. I’ve just got to keep pushing forward and working as hard as I can.”

Lamour has notched three straight wins since his last loss to Falowo and has seven knockouts in his 18 pro fights.

Lamour said what drives him is “just the next big thing.” Age doesn’t limit his lofty goals.

“In the boxing world, it’s kind of late. But at the same time I’m young,” Lamour said. “I’m good to go.”

Lamour got into the sport relatively late. Just before his 18th birthday, he fell in love with boxing while attending a fight featuring his cousin at the Portland Expo.

Lamour immediately put in his final two weeks at a job selling credit cards, then committed his life to boxing – much to his parents’ chagrin.

“When I first wanted to start, my parents were not having it,” Lamour recalled, chuckling. “I don’t know, something in me was telling me this is what I needed to do.”

Lamour joined the Portland Boxing Club to train under Bob Russo, whose coaching accomplishments earned him a spot in the Maine Sports Hall of Fame in 2013.

Russo founded the club – located in Portland behind Bruno’s Restaurant at Morrill’s Corner – 25 years ago and has coached local boxers to 200 championships and eight national titles.

“Russell kind of got a late start but he was a good athlete,” said Russo, who has been training Lamour for 17 years

“He had a really good amateur pedigree and was considered an elite boxer for the U.S. boxing team.”

Lamour finished his amateur career with 101 wins and 19 losses. He was an eight-time Golden Gloves regional champion, a five-time New England regional champion and a bronze medalist at the 2009 USA Boxing championships before deciding to turn professional.

Saturday’s event also will feature other rising stars in the club such as undefeated pro middleweight Jason “The Fighting Fireman” Quirk (7-0) – a Portland firefighter and paramedic who has five knockouts.

Also on the pro card is Brandon “The Cannon” Barry (11-2-1) of West Forks, who will compete in his first fight since undergoing shoulder surgery a year and a half ago, as well as Brandon Montella (8-0), a former Maine resident now living in Quincy, Massachusetts.

Russo said his shows at the Expo – which can hold roughly 3,000 spectators – usually come close to selling out. He said all of the money raised goes to keeping the club going.

“There’s a fan base. They’ve been watching Russell fight since he started,” Russo said. “Boxing is alive and well in Portland, Maine, simply because we have the right chemistry here.”

Taylor Vortherms can be contacted at 791-6417 or

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