LEWISTON — His family’s name and fulfilling his grandfather’s wish are two important reasons why Steven Gamache will be lacing up his boxing gloves at the Androscoggin Bank Colisee on Saturday night.
This will be the first time the junior middleweight, who is the son of former junior lightweight and lightweight champion Joey Gamache, will be fighting professionally in his hometown of Lewiston.
His appearance in familiar surrounding also means a great deal to him, especially since he hasn’t fought professionally in two years. Steven Gamache said he took time off waiting for pro boxing to come back to Maine.
“Once they legalized boxing, I moved back,” Steven Gamache said. “Of course, I want to spend time with family as well. I figured it was a chance to come back and fight here and be with my family.”
For several years, pro boxing was declared illegal in Maine after the state’s boxing commission disbanded in 2007. The sport was sanctioned by the state again several years later.
Gamache (4-0, one TKO) trained with his dad in New York for a decade before he returned to Maine to bring back the family name to boxing. Gamache’s father, who lives in New York City, is also training fighters in Denmark and can’t attend his son’s fight.
But Steven’s grandfather, Joe Gamache, will be there. He has been waiting several years to see another family member fight professionally in the Pine Tree State.
“Stevie is such a good kid. He can fight,” Joe Gamache said. “I am glad, but I just wish it was a little bit different, I am not overly keen with these guys — the promoters. But it is what it is. You take the good with the bad.
“Like I said, I am very near retiring and I have been at this too long.”
Joe Gamache said the promoters should have featured local fighters instead of boxers going outside New England to fill the fight card.
Steven’s memories of his dad trading blows with a handful of the best fighters in the world are still fresh in his mind.
“Of course, (Muhammad) Ali and Sonny Liston fought there,” Steven Gamache said. “It really feels like a home venue to me.”
New England Fights will promote the seven-bout fight card. Gamache will be facing Damon Antoine of Akron, Ohio, in a four-round matchup.
“He is a formidable guy,” Steven Gamache said. “He has fought some world champions. He is a legit boxing guy.”
The main event features Maine junior welterweight Brandon “The Cannon” Berry of West Forks taking on Eric Palmer in a six-round bout.
The rest of the card includes: Junior welterweight Brandon Brewer vs. Saul Almeida; junior middleweight Bruce Boyington vs. Nate Charles; super middleweight Joe Bishop vs. Jarod Lawton; light heavyweight John Webster vs. John Downey; and lightweight James Carville of Lisbon vs. Johnny Frazier.
With his father away, Steven Gamache has been training with promoter Glenn Cugno at the Gamache Boxing Club in Lewiston.
“He is looking great,” Cugno said of Steven. “Every week he is getting better. He should be peaking at the right time for this weekend. I am working three guys on the show.”
Gamache said he is not nervous despite his two-year absence from the sport or fighting in front of a hometown crowd.
“This isn’t my first time at the rodeo,” Steven Gamache said. “I am not the main event, surprisingly. The crowd knows who the main event will be.
“I am really excited to be fighting at home. The Gamache name is back. I am proud to represent where I come from. I am proud to represent Lewiston. A lot of people think negatively of the place, but I love it.”