After discovering that prize fighting is illegal in Maine since the abolition of the Maine Athletic Commission in 2007, Joe Gamache Sr. and his son, Joey, have officially called off their fight card that would have featured Steven Gamache’s pro debut on June 19 in Lewiston.
“It’s a shame,” Joe Gamache Sr. said. “We wanted to have it in Lewiston where (Steven’s) father fought. I am going around and giving back the money (to the fight’s sponsors).
“Finally, I had to call it off. With nothing being done or hearing anything from the Maine Legislature, I decided it was in my best interests to cancel. When the attorney general says no, what can you do.”
But Gamache Sr. said his grandson Steven can’t wait for the Maine Legislature to amend the 1873 law that prohibits prize fighting unless it is held as a non-profit event. The Maine Boxing Commission, which became the Maine Athletic Commission, regulated boxing in Maine for decades. But when the Maine Athletic Commission was abolished by the Legislature in 2007, the 1873 law outlawing prize fighting came into play again.
The Gamaches briefly considered holding the card in the Penobscot Nation, but Gamache Sr. said, “that’s a long way for Lewiston people to go.”
“I thought we might as well go another 100 miles south for the fight,” Gamache Sr. added.
So now, Joey Gamache, who was the promoter for the defunct fight card, wants to have his son, Steven, turn pro in Somersworth, N.H., in July. The New Hampshire town is located in between Dover and Berwick, Me.
“It is better that Steven fight some place than not fight at all,” said Gamache Sr., who was waiting for a last-ditch effort by lawmakers to allow him to hold the card in Maine.
But Gamache Sr. is hoping that he and his son can establish a loyal clientele in New Hampshire and eventually bring Steven Gamache back to Maine when and if the Legislature allows boxing’s return.
Gamache Sr. doesn’t understand why Maine didn’t grant him a one-day waiver to hold the fight, which he believes would have helped the community, financially.
“I understand they (state attorneys) are just doing their jobs,” said Gamache Sr. “I don’t believe they should have abolished the Maine Athletic Commission. It’s a shame in a way. It hurts the fans in Lewiston-Auburn who wanted to see Steven having his first (pro) fight.”