By Mark Schremmer
Globe Sports Writer
MIAMI, Okla. — Editors note: A correction was made to this story at 12:05 p.m. Friday, Feb. 7.
Trey Lippe, the son of former heavyweight champion Tommy “The Duke” Morrison, is launching his professional boxing career.
Lippe, a native of Vinita, Okla., will face Kris Renty (1-0) in the four-round main event of a regional boxing card dubbed “The Night of Future Champions” on Feb. 15 at Buffalo Run Casino in Miami, Okla. The card also will feature Seneca High School graduates Dillon and Jesse Cook as they look to maintain their perfect records.
Morrison, who gained fame for his role in “Rocky V” and for beating George Foreman for the WBO title in 1993, died in September 2013 at the age of 44 from health complications.
The boxing card will not be televised, but an ESPN crew will be at the fight as part of a “30 for 30” documentary on Morrison’s life.
Tony Holden, who promoted Morrison for the majority of his boxing career, will be heavily involved in Lippe’s development.
“I’ve known Trey his entire life,” Holden said. “It’s a touching deal for me to be able to work with Tommy’s son. He came to me right before Tommy’s death in September of last year and said he wanted to box. Immediately.
“I tried to talk him out of it. I thought I had Trey talked out of it, but he called me and said he’s going to do it anyway. I had a long talk with his family and if he’s going to do it anyway, I want to do it with him. This isn’t a fly-by-night deal. This is family. I’m going to use every effort I have, every connection I have in the sport of boxing to move this kid. And you’re going to see him move fast.”
Lippe, age 24, has no amateur boxing experience to speak of and began training in November 2013. An all-conference defensive end at Central Arkansas, he finished his college football career in 2012. Lippe is the stepson of longtime Vinita High School football coach Mark Lippe.
“My dad always brought up boxing,” Lippe said. “He always wanted me to do it. I always wanted to. I just never could get into it with him because I had football. So by the time football ended and I had time to do it, my dad passed. So this is something I’m going to do and right now I figure he’s still with me. I still consider me and him doing it.”
Peppe Johnson, who has trained such boxers as super middleweight Allan Green, said Lippe’s progress is rapid.
“Once I showed him how I wanted him to jump rope and move his body, move his head and shoulders, it just came overnight,” Johnson said. “The next night he came to train, everything I taught him the day before he was doing in the gym. It was like he was made to do this.”
Holden said the 6-foot-3, 225-pound heavyweight from Vinita has a legitimate chance to eventually contend in the heavyweight division.
“It’s unbelievable how he resembles his father,” Holden said. “He cracks like his father, meaning he’s a big puncher. When I first saw him after two months of work, I was blown away. And with the heavyweight division where it’s at, this kid’s got a legitimate shot. It’s going to be great to see him be built up right here in this neck of the woods.”
Doors for the event will open at 7 p.m. on Feb. 15. Tickets range from $20-$40 and can be purchased at the Buffalo Run Casino box office.