Native boxer Landon Horseman, a 25-year-old lightweight boxer from Tacoma, Washington, will have his second pro fight on the undercard of ESPN's Friday Night Fights at Little Creek Casino Resort in Shelton, Washington on Friday, April 12.
Horseman, Blackfoot/Assiniboine, is a nephew of former fighter Joe "The Boss" Hipp, who was the first Native American to challenge for a world heavyweight championship. Hipp worked the corner for Horseman during his last four amateur fights as well as his pro debut, a victory this past November. But Horseman was not sure if Hipp would also be lending a hand in his upcoming match.
"He's helped me out a lot," Horseman said. "During the past year I lived with him and trained with him for six months. But he's been pretty busy lately so I'm not sure if he'll be out for this fight."
Horseman will square off against Ray Lampkin of Vancouver, Washington, another relative newcomer to the pro scene, in a bout scheduled for four rounds. Lampkin won both of his first two pro contests.
"I know he was a former national amateur champion," Horseman said of Lampkin. "And his father (also named Ray) was a pretty good pro. His father fought Roberto Duran."
As for Horseman, he had 18 amateur fights and won 14 of them. He said he much prefers the pro ranks over the amateur system because of its scoring system. "I like to hit hard," he said. "In the amateurs you can beat somebody else up but you can lose bouts because they tap you more."
Horseman was only offered the fight against Lampkin a few weeks ago. So he'll only have about a month in total to prepare.
"I wasn't sure when I was going to fight next," he said. "This should be plenty of time though to get ready."
Horseman has had a love-hate relationship with boxing in recent times.
"During the last couple of years I've quit a few times and then I've just come back," he said.
Horseman said various injuries have caused him to give up on the sport in the past. He blames his setbacks on his former strength and conditioning regimen.
"I lost a lot of my muscular function," Horseman said, adding he continues to receive therapy on his spine. "But I want to do this now. I want to get stronger. You have to be really strong to be a boxer."
Horseman runs and works out most days. A few months ago he also started his own company in Tacoma; he waxes cars, boats and RVs.
During the past few years the Little Creek Casino Resort has hosted a handful of other boxing cards. But this marks the first time the facility will host ESPN's Friday Night Fights broadcast. (Related story: Little Creek Casino Resort Hosts ESPN's Friday Night Fights; Native Boxer Landon Horseman on the Undercard)
The Little Creek facility can accommodate about 1,500 fans for the event.
"It's a great opportunity for the Squaxin Island Tribe to showcase the property and what we have to offer," said Michael Starr, Little Creek's CEO. The casino resort is an enterprise of the Squaxin Island Tribe. The resort includes an 18-hole golf course, 200 luxurious rooms as well as a dozen restaurants.
Starr is confident the event will be a huge success and that ESPN will also stage future events at the facility.
"It's definitely not going to be our last time," Starr said.
Horseman's opponent might be thinking something else come Saturday morning, though.