Brandon Berry (left) wins Northeast Junior Welterweight title over Eric Palmer, Oct. 12, 2014. Credit: Courtesy of Ron Morin

Brandon Berry will reach a personal milestone Saturday night when he steps into the boxing ring for his 20th professional fight as part of a pro-am show at the Skowhegan Community Center.

Berry, 31, will take on Bryan Goldsby of Macon, Georgia, in a six-round bout that originally was scheduled for last January in New Hampshire. Berry was forced to drop out after suffering a cut while training for the fight.

Berry goes into the contest — the main event of the third boxing card he’s promoted in Somerset County — with a 13-4-2 pro record.

It’s a career with unlikely roots in the tiny town of West Forks some 50 miles north of Skowhegan along U.S. Route 201. It proceeded through the New England amateur ranks to an 11-1 start as a pro before shoulder problems and the loss of his best friend slowed that progress.

“During this past year I’ve definitely realized that this sport is not forever, that’s for sure,” Berry, who is 2-3-2 in his last seven bouts, said. “This sport, just like anything, has its ups and downs and for the most part you’re only going to get out of it what you put into it.”

While Berry seemingly has put three surgeries to repair a torn labrum behind him, the death of fellow boxer Joel Bishop in an Oct. 1, 2017, automobile crash lingers.

“That really has taken a toll in ways that nobody would know unless you went through it,” Berry said. “This past year of boxing didn’t go as well as I would have hoped, and since losing him he’s in a spot now where any time I have a good workout or if things go well I use the loss of Joel as my motivation. Then when I do something not so good or don’t perform well, I blame him.

“He’s in a pretty [tough] spot now, both taking credit and getting blamed.”

What Berry has done throughout a professional boxing career that began in May 2013 is bring his sport to a local audience that normally wouldn’t have direct access, and fans have reacted by filling four previous shows he’s headlined in Skowhegan and North Anson with 800 to 1,000 fans each.

Saturday’s 7 p.m. card also will feature Portland middleweight Russell Lamour Jr.’s 20th professional fight as well as two fighters who train with Boston-based Murphys Boxing — founded by Dropkick Murphys front man Ken Casey — and six to eight amateur contests.

“Coming from a small town everybody thinks you’re at such a disadvantage, but if you get one kid from a small town who starts doing something good everybody gets behind them,” Berry said. “There might be a few hundred fighters like that in a big city but nobody knows who they are, it’s just where you’re from.

“I love the small-town atmosphere.”

While Berry is coming off a loss in his last fight, his performance in a six-round unanimous decision defeat in September against 11-0 welterweight prospect Anthony Marsella Jr. at the Twin River Event Center in Lincoln, Rhode Island, is seen as a motivating step on the comeback trail.

“My plan now for 2019 is to try to put it all together again and make one good last run at this and hope to get that win that I’ve always been looking for,” Berry said. “I still enjoy it. I love the sport, I love the fans, I love the gym. I’ll always love boxing, but just like anything things change, and I’ll be 32 years old before you know it.”

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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...