Streeter almost loses life and limb after accident
By Stephen Tobey
On Nov. 9, Casey James Streeter will face Miguel Suarez of Argentina in a six-round junior middleweight bout at the Expo in Portland, Maine, not far from where he lives in Raymond, Maine.
Just 15 months ago, it seemed unlikely Streeter, now 28, would ever fight again and there was some doubt about whether or not he’d still have a right leg or, for a brief time, his life.
On Aug. 1, 2018, Streeter was working as an arborist. It was his second-to-last day on the job. He had given notice and was set to begin a new career as a corrections officer.
Streeter was in a ditch, trying to move a fallen tree.
“I was standing in the ditch and the guy operating the grappler couldn’t see me,” Streeter said. “The claw closed on my leg.”
The grappler mangled his right leg. His kneecap was shattered. His femur tore through his skin. Muscle was exposed. His femoral artery was spared by an eighth of an inch.
“His femur just blew out the back of his leg,” said Bobby Russo, who has trained Streeter at the Portland Boxing Club since Streeter was 13. “He was lucky he didn’t die. He was lucky he didn’t lose a leg.”
Because of the location of the job site, getting Streeter to the emergency room at Main Medical Center was a challenge.
“The cell service wasn’t good,” Russo said. “The EMTs had to cut a path so they could get to him.”
The doctor who treated Streeter, Dr. Matthew Camuso, was a Navy veteran who treated Marines during the Iraq war. He ended up operating on Streeter four times since the accident.
“[Boxing] was a huge motivation,” said Streeter, who is a father of two young children. “When I learned I’d still have my leg, I thought what about my boxing career.”
A four-time New England Golden Gloves champion, Streeter turned pro in 2014. Then known as Casey Kramlich (he later changed his last name to that of his wife), he was 9-1-1 with 4 knockouts after winning a four-round unanimous decision over Dennis Sharpe on April 28, 2018.
He has a majority-decision win over the previously unbeaten Ray Oliveira, Jr. to his credit. His only loss was a decision against Greg Vendetti on Sept. 30, 2018 in Boston during a nationally-televised card. Vendetti was briefly ranked ninth by the World Boxing Association toward the end of 2018. He lost to Michele Soro in a bid for the WBA Gold title.
“That was an eight-round bout,” Streeter said. “Greg is a warrior. I learned a lot in that fight.”
Streeter believes his boxing experience allowed him to survive and get through the surgeries and months of physical therapy. Being in top physical condition before the accident helped, but that wasn’t the only thing he had going.
“Being a boxer, helped, not just physically, but mentally,” he said.
Once Streeter got back into the gym, he went to work restoring the tools that helped him win nine of his first 11 fights.
“I feel great,” he said. “I’m probably in the best shape I’ve been in for the last two years. My lateral movement is back. That’s the first thing Bobby started working with me on.”
Said Russo, “One of his biggest attributes is his lateral movement. What he’s always been able to do is wear down his opponents with his lateral movement. It’s come back.”
The pro-am show on Nov. 9 is an annual event for the Portland Boxing Club. Former NABF and New England middleweight champion Russell Lamour will also be fighting on Nov. 9 at the Expo, which is the second-oldest sports arena still in use in the United States.
“It’s amazing,” Streeter said. “The Expo has a great history and there’s always a big crowd.”
Streeter’s comeback bout figures to be a challenging one. It’s six rounds; Suarez, who will be fighting in the United States for the first time, is 15-4 with nine knockouts.
Streeter didn’t want to start over from scratch. He wanted to pick up where he left off.
“I told Bobby I wanted a six-round fight,” he said. “I wanted a good opponent.”
That was fine with Russo.
“[Suarez] is a good opponent,” Russo said. “It’s a challenge. My guys don’t get set-up fights.”
Streeter wants to fight as often as possible. He also has his position as a corrections officer waiting for him when he’s ready. In and out of the ring, he wants to be the same Casey James Streeter he always was, but he does have a different perspective on life.
“It was one eighth of an inch away from my femoral artery,” he said. “I always want to live life to the fullest.”