By Matt Thompson
Promoter Bob Russo and All Star Boxing once again sold out the 2800-seat Expo Center in Portland, Maine with their annual “Fight Night” to benefit the Portland Boxing Club’s well known amateur boxing program this past Saturday. The pro-am event was highlighted by an eight-round contest for the vacant IBA North American Middleweight Title.
In the main event, 2015 Boxcino tournament winner and former WBO world title challenger John Thompson (18-3, 6 KOs) from Newark, NJ, pulled off a mild upset winning a split decision over hometown favorite Russell Lamour, Jr. (15-3, 7 KOs) to capture the belt.
Thompson used a long, fast and accurate jab which kept Lamour off-balance through the first four rounds while bloodying his nose and swelling his eyes. Lamour was able to begin to cut the distance, perhaps with some recklessness in the fifth, rushing in on Thompson and crowding him onto the ropes while he pounded away to the body and head, bloodying Thompson’s nose in fair retaliation to his own.
The sixth round saw the fighters exchange evenly leading into an uneventful seventh in which nothing significant landed, despite Lamour continuing to press forward. Thompson returned to his jab in the last round which allowed him to pot-shot from the outside, hooking smartly off his jab as well, clearly stealing the round. Scores were 6-2 and 7-1 for Johnson with one judge seeing it 6-2 for Lamour.
The co-main event showcased hometown firefighter Jason Quirk squaring off with Mikael Bosse of Charleston, WV, in an exciting middleweight contest which ended in controversy.
Quirk pressed forward with a determined body attack during the first three rounds as Bosse covered and looked for counterpunches. Midway through the fourth, Quirk connected with a clean right to the body that dropped Bosse to his hands and knees which was followed by an overzealous right hand that landed cleanly on the ear as Bosse was down, driving him flat onto the canvas.
Despite protests by the fighter and his corner, referee Dave Greenwood inexplicably elected to count Bosse out rather than follow the proper procedure for an unintentional foul which is a point deduction and five-minute rest for the injured fighter.
Bosse and Quirk immediately agreed to a rematch when both are available and continue the fight where it left off. Quirk improves to 8-0, 5 KOs while Bossee drops to 3-3.
The most thrilling fight of the night was a war between former US Marine Sergeant Brandon Montella of Lynn, MA and Austin Marcum of West Virginia in the light heavyweight division. Undefeated Montella entered the ring confident and loose but received a quick wakeup call, finding himself on the canvas courtesy of a right hand by Marcum. Once the action resumed, Marcum followed up with sharp combinations which overwhelmed Montella. Montella again hit the deck but showed great heart getting up and finishing the round. The second was give-and-take with both men landing clean shots, however by the third, now fully recovered, Montella landed a clean straight right to the solar plexus that dropped Marcus for the count at 2:17. Montella improves to 9-0, 8 KOs while Marcum drops to 10-10-1.
Returning to the ring after a year and a half layoff following shoulder surgery, Brandon Berry (11-2-2, 7 KOs) of West Forks, ME fought to a draw against Eric Palmer (10-12-5) of Uniontown, PA. Berry landed the flashier punches throughout the contest while Palmer managed to throw enough punches to keep the fight on close quarters. The scores were 58-57 for Berry while the remaining scorecards tallied the action at 57-57. The decision was initially announced erroneously as a majority decision for Palmer, but following the announcement, one of the judges pointed out to the commission that their scorecard had been misread.
Light heavyweight Tommy Karpency of Youngstown, Ohio picked up a quick win to improve to 28-6-1, 17 KOs against badly faded former contender Rubin Williams (29-30-1) of Detroit. Southpaw Karpency hurt Williams almost immediately with sharp body punching. Karpency connected with a left uppercut to the eye, prompting Williams to take a knee at 1:00 of the first round.
In the opening bout, cruiserweight Christiano Pedro of Lewiston, ME, improved to 2-1 and 1 KO with a 39-second blowout over last minute substitute John Hantzoupolas (0-1) of Whitman, MA. Original opponent Antoine McRae informed the promoter on Thursday evening that he would be unable to make weight, and a last second search found Hantzoupolas available and with the full required meds to step up to fight. Unfortunately, ability did not accompany willingness with the inexperienced young fighter. Hantzoupolas turned his back when hit with solid right hand-left hook combination by Pedro and the referee stopped the fight.
“Fight Night” was promoted by the Portland Boxing Club and the card was supervised by the Maine Combative Sports Authority. Mark Vaz was the matchmaker.