By Ricardo Ibarra
While the once languishing Oregon pro boxing scene has undergone a strong revival in recent years, it’s been over a decade since a professional event has taken place in the city of Portland, the most heavily populated area in the state. On December 9th, though, former IBF super featherweight champion Steve “2Pound” Forbes and his partner Christina Lunzman, both Portland natives, will step into the promotional ring looking to reignite the sport in The City of Roses, staging the first of what they hope will be an ongoing series of shows. Working under their newly formed promotional banner 2 Pounds Sports and Entertainment, their first event will take place at the Jackson Armory and feature a nine-bout pro-am line-up, featuring regional talent.
Headlining the inaugural card will be a six round fight pitting Pacific Northwest cruiserweight prospect Marquice “Tree” Weston (11-1-1, 6 KOs) against Missouri’s Gary “Freak Train” Tapusoa (9-7-1, 8 KO’s). Weston, a skilled and rangy boxer fighting out of Tacoma, Washington, is one of the top 200-pound hopefuls in the region and has maintained a productive schedule this year, scoring four consecutive wins, three of those by knockout. He last fought on October 28th, defeating tough Louisianan Steven Lyons by unanimous decision.
Tapusoa, meanwhile, has been in the ring with some tough competitors over the stretch of his five-year career, including Michael Hunter—who recently challenged for the WBO cruiserweight title—losing in the first round of their 2014 fight; and unbeaten light heavyweight Mike Lee in 2015, losing to him in two. He’s gone 2-1 in his last three fights, scoring knockout wins over Gary Dydell and Wayman Carter in 2016, and most recently losing to Patrick Ferguson this past September via third round stoppage.
Weston and Tapusoa are slated to meet at a weight slightly over the cruiserweight limit. Four additional fights will make up the remainder of the pro portion of the card.
In the co-main event, Detroit, Michigan’s James Ballard (9-0, 3 KOs) will square off with Britton Norwood (4-1-1, 3 KOs) in a six round light heavyweight match-up. Ballard, a crafty pro and former Detroit Golden Gloves champ, is looking to keep his nine-fight unblemished record intact. He last fought in June, defeating Rayco Saunders by unanimous decision. Norwood, of Brandon, Mississippi, is coming off a TKO win over Omar Nunez in Mexico two months ago.
Also on the card, Portland’s Oscar Hernandez (1-1) will look to break a three year stretch of inactivity, taking on Henderson, Nevada’s Marco Russell (1-1-2) in a four round middleweight contest; Vancouver, Washington’s Chance Gabriel, a pro MMA fighter, will step into the paid boxing ranks for the first time, facing tough brawler Felipe Medina (0-2), of Albany, Oregon, in a four round lightweight tilt; and lastly, local fighter Oscar Herrera and Northern California’s Shawn Hardwood will debut as paid practitioners, facing off in a four round Jr. middleweight clash. Four amateur bouts will make up the rest of the line-up.
Tickets to the event, titled ‘2 Pound’s Fight Night,’ are available now at www.tickettomato.com. Doors will open at 6 p.m. with the first bell set to ring at 7 p.m. For more information visit www.2poundsports.com or the 2Pound Sports and Entertainment Facebook page.