Brandon Berry takes a rest during a training session at Wyman’s Boxing Club in Stockton Springs on July 31, 2013. Michael G. Seamans/Morning Sentinel

Brandon Berry is set to return to the ring Saturday for his first fight in just more than 11 months.

And he’s leaving the state to do so because boxing matches aren’t yet permitted in Maine under current community sports guidelines.

The West Forks boxer will square off against Bryan Timmons on Saturday at Southpaw Boxing Club in Windham, New Hampshire.

This fight will be unlike any in Berry’s boxing career, professional or amateur, because it comes during a pandemic that has killed more than 210,000 people in the United States. There will be no spectators for the fight — one of 13 on the card Saturday — and all boxers must pass a COVID-19 test before being allowed to box that night. Trainers and corner personnel members must also wear masks.

Berry, 33, who last fought Nov. 9, hasn’t gone this long between fights since 2017, when he was recovering from shoulder surgery. He’s had several fights canceled because of the pandemic, including ones scheduled in April and June. Another fight scheduled for August was canceled when Berry’s opponent suffered a torn Achilles tendon training.

“It feels like a long time, but luckily I stayed in shape,” said Berry. “Last year, I got into a really good groove with conditioning, and I’ve kept it up.”

Berry was scheduled to promote a boxing event in Skowhegan last April. He said he’s received no update from the state as to when live boxing can return to Maine, with or without ticket sales.

“Maine is very strict, and it’s probably a good thing. Maine’s coronavirus numbers are very low,” Berry said.

The fights begin at 2 p.m. Saturday and will be streamed live at YouTube.com/bostonboxing.

“It’s very difficult to do without ticket revenue,” acknowledged Peter Czymbor, the event’s promoter.

The web broadcast will feature commercials, Czymbor said, from combat sports-specific businesses as well as small businesses supporting the various fighters on the card. Without ticket sales, the ad revenue is a way to keep small boxing events viable as the nation continues to fight the coronavirus, Czymbor said.

“The longer this goes on, the more regional promoters don’t come back from it,” Czymbor said.

PORTLAND, ME – OCTOBER 1, 2014 Joel Bishop, right, talks with friend Brandon Berry, center, during a training session at the Portland Boxing Club in Portland on Oct. 1, 2014. (Staff photo by Michael G. Seamans/Staff Photographer) Michael G. Seamans/Morning Sentinel

Berry (17-5-2 as a pro fighter) doesn’t know much about Timmons (6-12-1). Timmons’ last fight came Feb. 28, a six-round draw against David Griffith in Louisville, Kentucky. Prior to that fight, Timmons lost three consecutive fights, each by either knockout or technical knockout. Timmons’ last win came April 29, 2017, a decision over Reymundo Hernandez.

Czymbor described Timmons, a native of St. Joseph, Missouri, as a “have gloves, will travel” fighter. Despite his record, Berry cannot take Timmons lightly, Czymbor said.

“(Timmons will) fight anybody. He doesn’t care,” Czymbor said. “If Brandon is on his A-game, he should have a good night, but Bryan’s not going to make it easy for him.”

The fight is scheduled for eight rounds, and will be a welterweight fight. That means Berry, who is  just under 150 pounds, will not need to cut weight.

“This guy (Timmons) is under .500, but he’s fought some good guys. I expect a good fight,” Berry said.

Berry said staying in shape between fights is more important to his career than ever. Berry was offered Saturday’s fight just a week and a half ago, but having trained throughout the summer for fights that eventually were canceled helped him prepare for this one.

“Weight cuts and that stuff are no longer easy. I realize time isn’t on my side. I don’t feel 33. I can’t wait to get in there,” Berry said. “Before, I’d be like ‘Well, I still have four weeks to get ready’ or whatever. Now I find myself, I’m just constantly thinking, this in one more day I don’t have to get ready.”

When the state gives the go ahead, Berry would like to begin promoting boxing events in the Skowhegan area again as soon as possible.

“I feel like I have a lot to offer boxing in this state,” Berry said.

Berry carries a four-fight win streak into Saturday’s bout. His last fight was a TKO at 1:40 of the second round over James Roach, on Nov. 9 last year at the Portland Expo.

 

Travis Lazarczyk — 861-9242

[email protected]

Twitter: @TLazarczykMTM

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