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Lampkin discovers boxing is in his blood

Former lightweight contender's son aims for Olympic team

Ray Lampkin III could be a chip off the ol' block, eventually. If only he had chipped off a little earlier.

The 20-year-old son of the former No. 1 lightweight contender from Portland started boxing only two years ago. Next month, he'll get a shot at making the Olympic team.

'I thought I was going to be a professional basketball player,' says the 5-5, 125-pound Lampkin, who attended Jefferson High and played junior varsity basketball. 'I thought I'd be in the NBA. It took me until I turned 18 to find out I was too short.'

His pop, Ray Lampkin Jr., who once fought Roberto Duran and lasted 14 rounds, says his son 'is better than I was at this stage. He's just as tough, and he hits harder. It helps being left-handed, too.'

The young Lampkin will compete in the Olympic Trials Feb. 16-21 in Tunica, Miss. He's the second-ranked featherweight in the country.

The elder Lampkin's stepson, Marcus Pernell, hopes to qualify for the trials as well. Pernell, a light heavyweight, needs to make the finals at a USA Boxing regional event Feb. 3-7 in Bakersfield, Calif., in order to qualify.

The two stepbrothers often spar against each other at Matt Dishman Community Center Ñ the 178-pound Pernell being the perfect partner for his smaller brother and vice versa. 'It's a good workout, speedwise,' says Pernell, 23, who attended Madison High. 'He's pretty quick and he's got a lot of power for his size.'

Lampkin says he has 'busted up' Pernell's nose a few times.

'Everybody I spar with is 20 to 30 pounds heavier than me,' he says. 'When I get in with a lightweight, then I'm the aggressor and stronger.'

Lampkin finished second in the recent U.S. Amateur Boxing Championships, losing to Brandon Rios of Garden City, Kan., by decision in the 125-pound final. He has a 29-5 record and boasts that only one or two of his defeats have been legitimate losses.

'I only lost to two guys who will be at the trials, and once because I punched myself out,' he says. The winner of each classification goes to the Olympics in Athens, Greece.

Lampkin wants to turn pro soon after the Olympics. 'I'm going to be the next lightweight champion of the world,' he says.

It looks like the right path for Lampkin, who grew up playing football and basketball and participating in many other sports including martial arts. But he has an identity now, and he has won two national tournaments, and has won a silver and a bronze medals in other events.

His buddies from Jefferson, University of Kansas basketball players Aaron Miles and Michael Lee, have traveled to Kansas City to watch him fight twice.

Fight fans knew his dad as 'Lightning Ray,' which the younger Lampkin also has taken as his nickname.

'Or,' he says, 'call me 'Relentless Ray.' '

Contact Jason Vondersmith at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..