Micky Ward (photo above by Peter Gordon), the Massachusetts boxer whose against-all-odds story was made widely famous in the Mark Wahlberg film “The Fighter,” is due to make an appearance in Maine’s largest city on Saturday night for the final bouts in USA Boxing’s New England Championships.
The event is being hosted by the Portland Boxing Club at the Stevens Avenue Armory, and Ward will be on hand to sign autographs when the doors open at 6 p.m. The fights will start at 8 p.m., and Portland Boxing Club head Bob Russo told Mike Antonellis on the Morning Jab today (sports radio WJJB, 96.3 FM) reserve tickets are almost sold out.
Those ducats, while there are any left, can be picked up at Bruno’s Restaurant on Allen Avenue. Russo also said general admission tickets can be purchased at the door as well, and he said he expects plenty of those to be available.
For those unfamiliar with the story, Ward turned around a sliding career and overcame the negative influences of his family members — most significantly his then-drug-addicted trainer brother Dicky Eklund — to upset Shea Neary in 2000 to claim the WBU Light Welterweight belt.
It was another great radio interview for the folks on The Big Jab, where the weekend guys were filling in for regular morning show hosts David “Shoe” Schumacher and Joe Palmeiri. (Listen for yourself here, if you’d like.)
Frazier, whose bouts with Muhammad Ali were legendary, was enthusiastic about talking to the young Portland Boxing Club trainees, Russo said, even in the presence of the political fundraisers he was officially in town to support.
Frazier made it a point to come over to the boxing club the day after the event to follow up and talk to the kids, he said, and it made a strong impression on the aspiring athletes.