Brandon Berry has spent more time in a doctor’s office than in a boxing ring during the last two years.

He hopes that’s about to change.

The junior welterweight from the tiny town of West Forks in northwestern Maine got clearance to resume training this week, 21 weeks removed from the most recent of three surgeries on his right shoulder.

“I tried to go into my post-op appointment as positive as I could but if I had to have bet money on it I would have bet the doctor was going to tell me to come back in another eight weeks and tell him how I felt at that point,” said Berry.

“But when he shook my hand and smiled and said, ‘I can’t wait to see you back in the ring,’ and that I was good to go, I almost choked up a little because it’s finally behind me.”

Berry, who turns 30 later this month, expects to resume sparring in October and is likely to return to the ring either late this year or in early 2018.

“I’m far off from fighting still because I have to get back in the gym and start training, but it feels good to have the go-ahead,” he said. “I’ve also got my wedding coming up Sept. 30 so I think it would be best if I’m not black and blue for that.”

Berry originally suffered a torn labrum in his shoulder during a November 2014 fight against Freddy Sanchez in Portland and underwent surgery the following January.

He returned to the ring with a second-round stoppage of Engelberto Valenzuela on July 17, 2015, in Skowhegan and fought three more times before re-injuring the shoulder during a June 18, 2016, fight against James Lester in Lewiston. As he was recovering from a second surgery, he slipped on the ice last winter and required yet a third surgery.

Berry hasn’t sparred since the Lester fight, the longest layoff of his boxing career.

“I’m definitely not in fighting shape and I think it’s going to be a big dose of reality when I get in there and start sparring with somebody who is in shape,” he said.

Berry, who promoted his first boxing show last summer in Skowhegan, plans to put on another card next spring — ideally with himself fighting in the main event.

But while he is confident of a full return to boxing, Berry also has considered the possibility of another shoulder injury and how it would affect his future in the ring.

“I think this is my last shot at it,” he said, “so if something does happen again, whether it’s now or two or three years from now, if something does happen to my shoulder again I guess I’ll probably have to call it a day.

“But I can’t say it enough how much I can’t wait to get back out there in front of everyone.”

Avatar photo

Ernie Clark

Ernie Clark is a veteran sportswriter who has worked with the Bangor Daily News for more than a decade. A four-time Maine Sportswriter of the Year as selected by the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters...