SKOWHEGAN — Brandon Berry took a sip of juice, then nodded his head.

“I feel good,” Berry said. “I feel really good.”

Minutes earlier, Berry, 25, had crossed an important personal threshold. In front of nearly two dozen family, friends and fans gathered at T & B’s Tavern Berry weighed in for his professional boxing debut.

Berry, a West Forks native, will fight Bill Jones of Berwick in a four round junior welterweight bout tonight at Skowhegan Area High School. The night begins at 7:30 p.m., with the first of seven amateur fights. Berry and Jones will close the evening. Tickets are available at the door, and are $50 for ringside seats and $20 for general admission.

Nicknamed “The Cannon,” Berry weighed in at 143 pounds even, while Jones weighed in at 144.6 pounds. Tonight’s fight will be the first professional boxing match in Maine in eight years, Berry said, and the first fight in Maine since the reformation of the Maine Athletic Commission.

“(Berry’s) at the top of his game. No ifs, ands or buts, he’s ready to fight,” Ken “Skeet” Wyman, Berry’s trainer, said. “He’s fought the best of the best amateurs in New England. It’s time.”

Jones, 34, has a long career as a professional mixed martial arts fighter, but this is his first professional boxing match. Jones has a record of 11-7 in MMA fights, and has been ranked as high as No. 7 in New England in his weight class.

“It will be different. He’s always worn headgear, I’ve never worn headgear. He’s used to getting hit with the bigger gloves, I’m used to smaller gloves,” Jones said. “It will be different for both of us.”

Jones said he’s studied tape of Berry, and he thinks his ability to counter will be his key.

“Let (Berry) be the aggressor. I think my blocking skill will mess him up. He’s good. He’s a legitimate, tough boxer. He’s going to go for the body, but I’m not going to stay in and let him. I’ll back off and counter,” Jones said.

Despite Jones’ lack of boxing experience, neither Berry nor Wyman are taking him lightly.

“I can’t underestimate him at all,” Berry said. “The MMA guys, they do a little bit of everything. I know he’ll be ready for a good fight.”

Added Wyman: “I’d be crazy to say Brandon’s going to go out there and have a walk in the park, because he’s not. But that’s not what we want. He has to show what he’s made of. He’s elusive in the ring. He’s aggressive in the ring.”

Berry is coming off a successful conclusion to his amateur boxing career. In late January, he won a fight at TD Garden in Boston, beating Julio Perez by unanimous decision. In February, Berry lost in the New England Golden Gloves finals to Tim Ramos in a split decision.

Making his pro debut so close to home is important, Berry said.

“This is another dream come true,” Berry said.

Travis Lazarczyk — 861-9242

[email protected]

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