In this October 2020 photo, Brandon Berry of West Forks (left) lands an uppercut to the body of Bryan Timmons of Saint Joseph, Missouri, during their eight-round welterweight boxing match in Windham, New Hampshire. Credit: Emily Harney Photography

Brandon Berry’s reward for successfully defending his Universal Boxing Organization All-America welterweight championship is a vacation.

It may become a working vacation, as the West Forks native is in line to transform an already scheduled visit to Florida next month into a chance to fight professionally outside of New England for the first time.

“Nothing’s official,” said the 33-year-old Berry, who scored his eighth straight victory and improved his record to 21-5-2 on Saturday with a fifth-round technical knockout of Gael Ibarra in the main event of a show at Derry, New Hampshire.

“It’s an opportunity that popped up a couple of weeks ago, and I had agreed with the promoter that as long as everything went well [against Ibarra] that I would plan on it.”

Berry was contacted shortly before the Ibarra fight about the possibility of being part of a May 8 card at the Orlando Marriott World Center.

“There’s a matchmaker I’ve worked with in the past from Orlando and I told him a long time ago I’d love to fight there sometime,” Berry said. “He called and said there’s a show May 8 and I told him I was going to be on vacation but that, ‘My goodness, I’m going to be in Orlando,’ so it’s kind of worked out.

“They’ve named a few guys I could fight, so there’s a very good chance I could be fighting.”

A steady body attack and the ability to defend successfully against an opponent who had not gone past the second round in a fight since July 2019 led to Berry’s stoppage of Ibarra and his 14th career knockout victory.

“He was strong and was hitting me with some good shots, but with a lot of the punches he was landing my hands were up and I was blocking them with my gloves,” Berry said. “You don’t want to get hit, even on the gloves, but it’s better than the alternative, getting hit in the face.”

The end came as Berry began the fifth of eight scheduled rounds with several punishing body shots before using a right hand and a left uppercut to send the 18-year-old Ibarra (5-3) off balance toward the ropes. Berry continued his surge with a bevy of unanswered lefts and rights that backed Ibarra into a corner and prompted referee Leo Gerstel to stop the fight 1:29 into the round.

“It was a perfect test, a perfect opponent for a title defense,” Berry said. “[Ibarra] was there to win it, and it was a pretty even match until it got stopped.”

Berry’s fight in Florida would come just three weeks after the victory over Ibarra and be his third bout in less than three months, but “The Cannon” is eager to build on his current momentum.

“I’ll take a few days off,” Berry said. “That fight was a tough fight, but luckily I came out of it injury free and feeling good so it will be good to get right back in the gym, fight in May and then probably have a few weeks off after that.”

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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...