University of Maine football player Carlton Charles is seen in this 2014 file photo. Credit: Gabor Degre | File

Former University of Maine football player Carlton Charles of Windham will fight for a mixed martial arts title at NEF 34, the New England Fights show scheduled for June 16 at Aura in Portland.

Charles (2-1) is set to face Duncan “The Highlander” Smith (2-2) for the vacant NEF amateur welterweight (170-pound) championship. The fight is scheduled for five, three-minute rounds.

Charles debuted in the cage last August with a 23-second stoppage of then undefeated Josh Jones — a former Erskine Academy and Husson University basketball player — at the Cross Insurance Center in Bangor.

The 2014 UMaine graduate and Black Bears fullback suffered his first loss last November to undefeated Mark Gardner, but bounced back by stopping Delmarkis Edwards in just 12 seconds during his most recent bout in February in Lewiston.

“I’m really excited and blessed for this opportunity to fight for the NEF amateur welterweight title,” Charles said in a press release. “I think it’s a big important step forward for my experience as an amateur and fighting career. This fight is against a great opponent that I know will, and is, training hard and will leave it all in the cage. I know my coaches and family will have me ready for this fight, and I’m looking forward to us putting on a show for Portland.”

Smith made his NEF debut last month at NEF 33 in Portland with a first-round victory over Taylor Bartlett via standing guillotine submission. A veteran of MMA and kickboxing since 2014, Smith is based in Saco.

“Carlton and I are both looking to go pro and climb up the ladder,” Smith said. “Fights like this is what it’s all about. I have the utmost respect for my opponent, but I have all the skills to win. Other than getting clipped, this fight is already won.”

Also appearing at NEF 34 will be the promotion’s pro lightweight champion, “The” Ryan Sanders of Young’s MMA in Bangor, who will face Vince McGuiness in a non-title bout.

Sanders, who won his title belt by defeating fellow Bangor-area fighter Jon Lemke in April 2017, is a familiar face to NEF fans.

He fought on 10 of the promotion’s first 15 cards, then returned in mid-2016 after a two-year hiatus from NEF and won five straight bouts. He dropped a unanimous decision to Jon Manley in a non-NEF bout this in March. Sanders moved up from the 155-pound lightweight division to the 170-pound welterweight ranks for that fight.

Sanders (15-9) has won eight of his last 10 fights.

McGuiness, a Brooklyn, New York, native and head coach of Bang Muay Thai in Tampa, Florida, is 5-3 and will attempt to end a four-fight losing streak.

Berry wins Skowhegan event

Brandon “The Cannon” Berry of West Forks scored a six-round unanimous decision over Brazilian Francisco Leto in the main event of a pro-am boxing show Berry promoted at Skowhegan Area High School on Saturday night.

The show was held in front of what Berry described as a standing-room-only crowd at the high school, which served as a late replacement for the original location at the nearby Skowhegan Community Center. The center was being used as a staging area during the manhunt for John D. Williams of Madison, a suspect in last week’s shooting death of Somerset County Sheriff Cpl. Eugene Cole. Williams was captured early Saturday afternoon.

A 50-50 raffle to benefit the Cole family was held during the boxing show. Berry said $1,400 in tickets were sold and all of the money was given to the family after the 50-50 winner donated his share back to the cause.

The Berry fight was one of four professional bouts on the card. Casey Kramlich of the Portland Boxing Club scored a unanimous-decision victory over Dennis Sharpe Jr. in a second super welterweight fight, while Josh Jones won by first-round TKO over Christiano Pedro in a cruiserweight contest and Fairfield heavyweight Justin Rolfe debuted with a second-round TKO victory over Mike Hansen.

Among eight amateur contests, three-time national Golden Gloves champion Liz Leddy of Portland scored a three-round unanimous decision over Jessica Lampron while Braden Littlefield of East Benton earned a 2-1 decision over Marion Rodriguez in a battle of junior hopefuls.

Boyington boxes to draw

Bruce “Pretty Boy” Boyington of Brewer returned to the boxing ring Saturday night, battling “Irish” Tommy O’Connell of North Andover, Massachusetts, to a four-round draw in their 150-pound catchweight fight at the Castleton Banquet and Conference Center in Windham, Massachusetts.

Boyington, best known for his work in the mixed martial arts cage, was awarded a 39-37 decision by one of the ringside judges while one judge had it 39-37 for O’Connell and the third judge scored it 38-38.

Both Boyington and O’Connell are 1-0-1 as professional boxers.

Follow BDN Maine Sports on Facebook for the latest in Maine high school and college sports.

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...