Brandon Berry doesn’t think he’ll be nervous on Saturday night when he steps in the boxing ring for his first fight since last November. He knows when he hears the first few notes of John Mellencamp’s “Small Town,” Berry’s entrance song, he’ll be ready to fight.

“Once that comes on, all the nerves go,” Berry said.

Seven months after shoulder surgery and nine months after his last fight, Berry, a West Forks native, returns to the ring on Saturday night at the Skowhegan Recreation Center against Engelberto Valenzuela, a native of Mexico with a professional record of 9-5. Berry will fight at 142-pounds his trainer, Ken “Skeet” Wyman, said. The fight is scheduled for six rounds.

Berry’s fight will be the main event of a card that will feature a handful of amateur fights before two pro bouts. Also fighting in a pro match will be Portland’s Jason Quirk, who will take on Michael Rodriguez, a Massachusetts-based boxer.

Berry enters Saturday night’s fight with a professional record of 8-1, the lone loss coming in his last fight, a Nov. 15 bout against Freddy Sanchez in Portland in which Berry tore the labrum in his left shoulder. On Jan. 15, Berry had surgery to repair the tear. Six weeks after surgery, Berry’s sling came off, and he was able to begin running. Two weeks later, he was shadowboxing.

“I went 175 days without putting on a pair of boxing gloves,” Berry said.

One thing that hasn’t been a distraction is Berry’s arrest for criminal speeding on April 25. Berry was arrested by Somerset County Sheriff’s after being clocked at 128 miles per hour on Route 201 in Madison. Berry said the issue has been resolved and declined further comment on the matter.

In recent weeks, Berry has been sparring in anticipation of this weekend’s fight.

“The entire process had been great. We haven’t had a glitch,” Wyman said. “It’s just phenomenal. I thought there’d be some setbacks. I’ve just been nervous. I’d be a liar to say I’m not nervous about Saturday night.”

In Valenzuela, Berry faces an unknown opponent. Valenzuela won his first seven professional fights, but he’s lost his last four — most recently in March. Those four losses, however, came against what appears to be strong competition. The four boxers are a combined 40-0 and three of the four fights ended in the first round.

“He’s a pretty tough guy,” Berry said of Valenzuela. “He’s fought some guys who are pretty good. I don’t think he’s coming up here to lose.”

“Brandon better be firing on all eight (cylinders) Saturday night,” Wyman said.

To get back into boxing shape, Wyman focused Berry’s recent sparring sessions on quickness. Berry has shown no hesitance to use his left arm, Wyman said.

“(Berry’s) jab looks better. When we’ve sparred, we’ve brought guys in for speed. The sparring’s just been exceptional. He isn’t missing a thing,” Wyman said. “Training camp has been good. Brandon is focused.”

Berry said the hardest part of his rehab was going to boxing matches and knowing he couldn’t get in the ring.

“I’ve been missing walking in, hearing everybody cheering,” Berry said. “I’m ready. It’s worth the wait.”

Travis Lazarczyk — 861-9242

[email protected]

Twitter: @TLazarczykMTM


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