SKOWHEGAN — On Friday afternoon, Brandon Berry helped set up the boxing ring in the Carrabec High School gym. With 1,000 fans expected to watch him step into that ring Saturday night, Berry couldn’t mask his excitement.
“It’s like electricity, man,” he said. “I was visualizing all the people (who) are going to be in there.”
The North Anson school is preparing to host Berry’s fifth professional fight. Berry, 26, of West Forks, will fight Skowhegan native Josh Parker, 33, in the featured bout of a seven-card fight. The first fight is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.
Berry and Parker weighed in Friday at T&B’s Event Center. Parker checked in at 141.2 pounds. Berry weighed in at 141.3 pounds, his leanest since turning pro last year.
“We anticipated fighting before now, so we’ve been in fight shape the whole time. Of course, we picked it up another level the past eight weeks. I never stop going to the gym,” Berry said. “People might not think it’s much, a few pounds, but it really means a lot.”
Berry is 4-0 as a professional boxer, with three wins by TKO (technical knockout). Berry last fought Nov. 13, when he defeated Paul Souza at the Portland Expo.
This will be Parker’s boxing debut. He comes to the fight with a mixed martial arts background.
“I like to stand and bang,” he said. “You don’t get that a whole lot in MMA. Everybody likes the ground game, tries to take you to the ground. Boxing is where I like it, standing.”
Parker said he studied Berry’s fights after finding them on the Internet.
“I’ve watched some of his tapes,” he added. “I don’t think he’s very smart about it. He put his tapes all over YouTube. He’s got his fights everywhere. He knows nothing about me. My strength’s being unknown to him. That’s going to be my biggest advantage. He has no tape on me. He has nothing to look at on me.”
This is not Berry’s first experience against an opponent with an MMA background. Berry’s first two professional fights came against former MMA fighter Bill Jones. Berry won each fight via TKO.
“I understand (Parker’s) a very strong guy with both hands,” Berry said. “I’m not sure what his plan is, but I know I don’t want to get hit by him, especially with anything crazy. He’s a strong guy, and he’s got the type of power that can change a fight with one punch. We’re taking him very seriously.”
Berry’s trainer, Skeet Wyman, said Parker packs a punch.
“He’s a bad cat,” Wyman said. “You know, we’ve heard a lot about (Parker). It’s quite obvious. You’ve seen him when he got on the scale. He’s in tremendous shape.
“Brandon’s just got to get in there and execute what he knows. We never would have gone looking for (Parker). He came to us because he’s a local guy. Brandon’s up and coming, and my feeling is (that) they’d like to get something going for themselves. I think they’ll be awfully disappointed on Saturday night.”
Like Berry, Parker is eager to compete close to home.
“This is where I grew up,” Parker said. “I’m eager to stand. There’s no grappling. He’ll have to stand with me, and in my opinion he’s not going to fare very well doing that.”