By Ricardo Ibarra
After two years of working diligently to reignite the professional boxing scene in and around the city of Portland, former IBF Jr. lightweight world champion Steve “2 Pound” Forbes and partner Christina Lunzman will stage their fourth card in the area this Saturday at the Clackamas Armory in Clackamas, Oregon. Working under their promotional banner of 2Pound Sports & Entertainment, the pair hope to keep building on the momentum already sparked with their past three events and have lined up a six bout card featuring young talent from around the region as well as an exhibition bout between two former world champions.
Topping the card will be a welterweight rematch between Tacoma’s Andre Keys (10-1, 5 KOs) and Washington journeyman Antonio Neal (4-10-1, 3 KOs). The two faced off once before in September of 2016, with Keys taking a unanimous five round decision win.
Keys, a former Pacific Northwest amateur stand-out who claimed multiple regional Golden Gloves titles, is a pupil of former USA Olympic team head coach Tom Mustin. He’ll be looking for his tenth consecutive win since suffering his only pro defeat in March of 2016—a first round loss to Thomas Turner. The slick boxer has looked increasingly sharp since that lone setback, racking up nine straight wins with four of his last five ending inside the distance. Most recently, he defeated Texas’ Randy Fuentes last November in Las Vegas, claiming a six round split decision victory.
Neal, a durable fighter with a fifteen-fight ledger under his belt, will be looking for his first win in seven fights. In his most recent outing, he battled to a six round draw against Sean Gee on June 1st. Keys and Neal will face off over 6 rounds at 145 lbs.
“I’m excited to see these two fight,” said Forbes of the match-up. “I like Keys. He comes from a good boxing background. He’s one of those young disciples of Tom Mustin. I got to box with Tom Mustin and all those guys from up there when I was 16, 17 years old. I learned a lot of boxing tricks from them. Being that Keys is a Tacoma guy and with Mustin, I’m excited to see him. And Antonio Neal is a tough fighter. As a fan, I’m excited to see this fight.”
Forbes (36-14, 11 KOs) himself will be competing in a special attraction on the card, facing off with former WBO Jr. welterweight world champion DeMarcus “Chop Chop” Corley (51-33-1, 28 KOs) in an exhibition bout. Forbes recently returned from a near five-year break from the ring, scoring a unanimous decision win over Tavorus Teague at the Clackamas Armory in April. He’d planned on continuing his comeback on this card, but unfortunately two deaths in his family took his attention away from training and forced him to postpone his fight. Unwilling to completely sit out, he chose instead to participate in an exhibition.
“I didn’t want to sit out,” said Forbes. “I had a stretch where I really wasn’t too active…It was tough and it’s still a mourning process. We knew that would happen eventually at least with my great grandpa, but with my cousin that was a shock…But going forward I’ve been trying to push myself and stay in the gym and keep working. So, I thought it would be good to do an exhibition. Keep training and keep working on things with a respected former world champion in Chop Chop, who’s very active and always in great shape. It’s going to be good work. It should be at a pace we both like…I didn’t want to mess around as far as having a comeback and then stalling. I want to get in there and use this as something to keep up my conditioning.”
Corley, who sports a pro record of 85 fights, has maintained an active schedule even after twenty-three-years as a pro. He last fought in March, losing to Custio Clayton via sixth round TKO. Forbes and Corley will box over three rounds.
Four pro fights will make up the remainder of the line-up. In a Jr. middleweight contest, Oregonian Chris Johnson (4-0, 1 KO) will look to a add a fifth win to his undefeated record, taking on William Fernandez (0-6). Johnson, a rangy southpaw with a good amateur background, claimed his last win in April, taking a four round unanimous decision win over Charon Spain. Fernandez, who’s had long spurts of inactivity between fights since turning pro in 2012, last fought in June of 2017, losing in the first to Steven Villalobos. The two will square off over four scheduled rounds.
Las Vegas’ Daquan Wyatt (3-0, 3 KOs) will return to the Clackamas Armory for the second time in four months, facing off with what should be his toughest opponent to date in Andres Garcia Abarca (1-2) in a four rounder. Wyatt, who’s claimed all three of his wins inside the distance, scored a second round TKO win over Somethonit Phoumychack in his last fight this past April. Abarca, meanwhile, has been on a two-fight losing run since dropping a close majority decision to Chris Johnson last October. In his last time out, he was defeated via unanimous decision by Charon Spain. Wyatt and Abarca will meet at the welterweight limit.
Virginia’s DeJon Corley, son of DeMarcus Corley, will make his entrance into the paid ranks in a four round Jr. welterweight bout. The eighteen-year-old upstart will take on Mike Fernandez (0-1).
A four round welterweight match-up between pro debuting William Hernandez Gomez and Portland’s Ian King (0-2) will round out the card.
“We’re growing at a good pace,” said promoter Christina Lunzman. “We like the momentum we’ve got. People are liking the momentum, too…For this show we’ve got a trifecta. We’ve got two former world champs. We’ve got two brothers fighting on the show. And we’ve got a father and a son. It’s pretty cool. It’s that uniqueness on this show that makes it so interesting.”
“It feels cool to bring boxing back to Portland,” added Forbes. “I wanted to come back and open that door up for the younger guys coming up. I learned so much about boxing up here. So, I wanted to give other guys that opportunity. I wanted to open that door up… And I’m a fight fan, so having these guys on that we hear about is cool. We get to let the crowds here see these guys.”
Tickets to 2Pound Sports’ ‘Fight Night 4’ are available now at https://www.tickettomato.com/event/6210. Doors to the Clackamas Armory will open at 5 p.m. with the first bout set to start at 6 p.m. For more information visit www.2poundsports.com or the 2Pound Sports and Entertainment Facebook page.