PORTLAND, Maine (NEWS CENTER) - During the 1960's and '70s Portland was recognized as the busiest boxing city in the country, hosting weekly fights at the Expo. After a 21-year hiatus, the pros will make their return.
On Saturday November 16, The Expo will host an event featuring at least four pro fights and several other amateur bouts.
Portland Boxing Club owner Bobby Russo has vivid memories about boxing at the Expo. He got his start handling gloves there as an eight-year old. The Maine Sports Hall of Famer helped organize and will promote the event that he's been on a mission for a while.
"This has been a life-long dream for me to get the bouts at the Expo. This is where I became a boxing fanatic when I was a kid," said Russo.
One of his fighters Russell Lamour (middleweight, 5-0) will be one of the main draws on the undercard. Having fought around the world in national and international competitions, this home fight for the Portlander has been at the top of his list for a while.
"I'm honored to be a part of if. I don't know for how many years me and a few of my teammates have been talking about bringing boxing back to Maine and stuff and now it's going to happen," Lamour said.
Joining him will be fellow PBC member Jorge Abiague (bantamweight, 3-0). The other Mainer in the pro bouts will be West Forks native Brandon Berry (super lightweight 3-0). His first pro fight was just back in May at Skowhegan High School.
"This is the type of stuff that I was hoping to be able to happen. I'm honored for the opportunity. When we got the phone call, it was just so exciting to know that they thought of me to be on this card. That I would fit in with these guys. This caliber of fighters I'm going to be on the card with is a dream to me," said Berry.
Junior lightweight Ryan Kielczewski from Quincy, Massachusetts (17-0), will be featured in the main event.
Opened in 1914, The Expo is the second oldest arena in continuous operation. Amid all that history, they've held bouts featuring some of the most recognizable names in boxing history like former world heavyweight champs Jack Dempsey and Gene Tunney as well as former middleweight and bantamweight champ Sugar Ray Robinson.
Tickets will go on sale Wednesday October 9th. Approximately 2,000 will be general admission bleacher seats with the remaining 1,000 divided amongst reserved and premium VIP ringside seating.
They can be purchased in person at Merrill Auditorium or Bruno's Restaurant in tavern, on the phone (207) 842-0800 or online at Port Tix (porttix.com).