Brandon Berry takes a rest during a training session at Wyman’s Boxing Club in Stockton Springs on July 31, 2013. Morning Sentinel photo by Michael G. Seamans

Brandon Berry is disappointed the boxing card he had planned for April 25 at the Skowhegan Community Center cannot go on due to the coronavirus pandemic. At the same, time, Berry understands and agrees with the decision.

“It would be selfish of me to worry about the sport,” said Berry, a West Forks native. “People are dying.”

Berry’s boxing card was canceled when Governor Janet Mills ordered no large events be held through April. A boxing show promoted by Fairfield boxer Justin Rolfe and his trainer Mike Leary scheduled for May 30 at Winslow High  School is still on, although neither Rolfe nor Leary expects it to stay that way.

“It’s not looking too good, but we’re all in this together,” Rolfe said. “If they do allow the show to happen. How many people are going to want to come out so close to that situation?”

Staff photo by Michael G. Seamans Brandon Berry is turning to a professional boxing career in the hope that it will help him save his familyÕs store in West Forks.

Added Leary: “It was like a ball was rolling, and it was picking up steam, and all of a sudden it stopped.”

Rolfe said he’s in frequent contact with representatives from USA Boxing as he monitors the situation and prepares to make contingency plans should the May 30 show get postponed.


“I plan to do it sometime. Everybody who worked with me is still on board,” Rolfe said.

In the meantime, Berry and Rolfe train as much as they can. With social distancing, sparring is out, but both fighters are able to work on other aspects of boxing.

“I’m in my (home) gym every day. I’m trying to stay right on track. I hit the bags. I jump rope. I run. I was on a really good stretch there. My last fight I felt I was really peaking. I don’t want to take any steps back,” Berry said.

Since turning pro in 2013, Berry is 17-5-2. His last fight, a TKO win over James Roach on Nov. 29 at the Portland Expo, was his fourth win in a row after losing three of four fights. Berry’s next fight is to be in June in New Hampshire against an opponent to be determined. He hopes that event is able to go off as planned.

“You miss one (fight), you might miss two. I’m 32 years old. I don’t want to miss the whole summer,” Berry said.

Rolfe and Leary talk every day by phone.


“I talk to all my fighters every day. Once a week we all do a video call and catch up,” Leary said.

Rolfe is 3-1-1 since making his pro debut almost two years ago, on April 28, 2018. His last fight was a draw with Tracey Johnson at the Quincy (Mass.) Armory. Rolfe stays in contact with other fighters, including Edet Mkpanam, a Brockton, Massachusetts boxer with whom Rolfe occasionally spars. Mkpanam is scheduled to be the co-main event in the May 30 show.

“I trade workout videos with other fighters. We video chat. We motivate each other,” Rolfe said.

With no sparring, Rolfe’s workouts focus on cardio and footwork.

“I feel like this is going to put me in better shape, because I’m focused on things I haven’t focused on before,” Rolfe said. “I’ve got the strength. I know how to fight. Now it’s working on the small things, instead of brawling with somebody. No sparring is a blessing in disguise. It forces you to get back to the drawing board.”

Leary said he can relate to the anxiety felt by many waiting for the stay at home order to be lifted. When he was 18, Leary suffered from Guillain-Barre Syndrome, an autoimmune disorder that left Leary paralyzed for six months.


“It comes on strong. I had to learn how to do everything all over again,” Leary said.

Berry said he hopes to promote a show in Skowhegan later this year, with pro fights and a chance to showcase young amateurs, like Braden Littlefield of Benton, who was scheduled to fight in the main event of the amateur portion of the April 25 card.

“I wanted to put on a good show for everybody, and hope to when this is all over,” Berry said.

Travis Lazarczyk — 861-9242

Twitter: @TLazarczykMTM

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