SKOWHEGAN — It still stings Brandon Berry that he won’t be headlining his own fight card, but the professional boxer out of The Forks has learned that his future in the sport might end up being different than he’d originally planned.

“I’m fully aware the fighters don’t age gracefully,” Berry joked Tuesday night at Whit’s End, where he was promoting this Saturday’s 13-bout boxing program featuring an appearance by “Irish” Micky Ward, the two-time world champion portrayed by Mark Wahlberg in the 2010 Academy Award-winning film “The Fighter.” The event at the Skowhegan Community Center will feature two professional bouts and 11 amateur ones in the first boxing show held in Skowhegan since July of 2015.

One person who isn’t nervous at all is 11-year-old Braden Littlefield of East Benton. Littlefield will be fighting fellow amateur Nelson Torino of Lynn, Massachusetts, in his third career bout.

On July 1, Littlefield earned Fight of the Night honors during a Nova Scotia vs. Canada competition for amateurs held in Nova Scotia.

“I’m not nervous at all,” Littlefield said. “I don’t really get nervous before fights.”

Littlefield is trained by Canaan’s Glen Cugno, who trains more than two dozen local fighters out of his gym in Lewiston. The 46-year-old Cugno, who promotes two shows a year of his own in Lewiston, thinks having shows featuring local fighters is important to the fight game’s long-term survival.


“What matters is getting the local talent out there,” said Cugno, who doesn’t charge fighters fees for using his gym. “My main goal is giving back. It doesn’t cost anything to come to our gym. I do it because I love it.”

Last winter, Berry wanted to promote this very program with him as part of it, fighting in front of his hometown fans and his closest friends and family. A third injury to his shoulder has sidelined him, leaving him instead to follow the lead of Cugno and others around Maine, like Bobby Russo at the Portland Boxing Club.

It’s about the love of the game.

“I’m ashamed that it’s been two years (since the last boxing card in Skowhegan),” Berry said. “I believe in this, and I want it to continue. We need to have local boxing for local fighters. We need to have amateurs, because without amateurs there are no pros. Boxing in Somerset County is growing — it wasn’t that long ago there were no fighters from Somerset County, and now there are so many, I don’t even know who they all are.”

Nate Charles of Greene will compete in one of the two professional bouts on Saturday’s card. Like Berry and Cugno, he’s here for his love of the sport. At 35 years old, Charles will enter the ring for only the second time in his career — and the first time since his pro debut in October of 2014.

“I’m looking forward to getting back into the ring and turning my career around,” Charles said. “I’m happy to do it in Maine.”


Charles didn’t start fighting until after he returned from the Navy and had a family. After a brief foray into mixed martial arts, his true love called. He’s been clamoring to get back into a boxing ring, which he’ll do against Leno Chavez Hernandez, a veteran of 45 professional fights.

“It’s quite a step up for me,” Charles said. “But I’m ready. I’ve been sparring, and I’m in good shape. What I lack in experience, I’m going to make up for in conditioning, pressure and movement.”

In the co-main event on Saturday, Jason Quirk of the Portland Boxing Club will face Brandon Bauer.

Ward will appear at 6 p.m., when the doors open, to meet with fans and sign autographs.

“When it all comes down to it, it’s probaby better that I’m not fighting on this card,” said Berry, who plans to fight again once fully healthy. “If I was also preparing to fight, I wouldn’t even have had time to think about so many things (on the promotion side). I think this is actually a really good time to get my feet wet as a promoter.”

Travis Barrett — 621-5621

[email protected]

Twitter: @TBarrettGWC

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