PORTLAND, Maine (NEWS CENTER) - After 21-year absence of pro boxing in Portland, the Expo will host their second event in seven months with former five-time world heavyweight champion Evander Holyfield scheduled to be in attendance.
The Portland Boxing Club will host a pro/amateur card scheduled for Saturday June 14th with Holyfield as a special guest of the organizers.
"It's kind of as a boxing purist that's what they always did. They always brought the celebrities and the people, the greats of the sport in and I kind of like to do that just to add to it.," said organizer Bobby Russo, who went for a knockout to maximize buzz and attendance last November 16th when
"I think that there's a big wave of excitement coming from the last show that we did," said organizer Bobby Russo, referring to the fights last November 16th, which were the first in Portland since 1992.
"The atmosphere was just awesome. The crowd roared for everything. They roared the roof off the place," he said. Next month's bouts will be the 99th event he's coordinated in Portland.
"It's propelled by the personalities that you have and we've got a real strong group of local guys that bring fans in on their own right," said Russo. Many of those fighters have and continue to train under him at the Portland Boxing Club.
His most recognized fighter is Deering alum Russell Lamour. The middleweight, who's started his career 7-0 including a win at the Expo, thinks the success of the first show will generate even more interest this time around.
"I think it's going to be bigger. I know it's going to be bigger," he said.
Fellow Portland Boxing Club member Jorge Abiague will also be featured on the Expo card again, The only Mainer ever to win a national golden gloves tournament is undefeated as a bantamweight (4-0).
West Forks native Brandon Berry, 5-0 as a light welterweight, relished his last opportunity to fight in Portland last fall.
"Being a part of it and having my name stamped in the book that I've been a part of it as well. It was a dream come true, Berry said.
He too is scheduled to fight again at the Expo in front of former boxing greats.
"It's unbelievable being in the same building as these guys," he said. Two of Berry's boxing idols as a kid were coincidentally Holyfield and Micky Ward. While Ward refers to himself as "the same old Micky from Lowell (Massachusetts)" he understands the role he plays in helping rejuvenate boxing not only throughout New England, but nationally as well.
"You know, they get the good crowd here and it brings enthusiasm back again where it should be. It's a great area for boxing. It's a great town for boxing," he said.
Tickets can be purchased starting May 6th.