Joel Bishop helps Brandon Berry train during a training session at the Portland Boxing Club in Portland on Oct. 1, 2014. Michael G. Seamans/Morning Sentinel file photo

By the time Saturday night turns into Sunday morning, central Maine could be home to a pair of boxing champions.

West Forks native Brandon Berry is fighting for his first belt since early in his professional boxing career. Fairfield’s Justin Rolfe is fighting to defend the belt he won in August. Berry will take on Zack Kuhn for the Universal Boxing Organization’s All-American welterweight belt. Rolfe will face Mike Marshall for the USA New England heavyweight title in his first title defense.

Both fights are on the card for Saturday’s show in Derry, New Hampshire. Berry’s bout with Kuhn is the main event of the afternoon session, while the Rolfe-Marshall fight is the co-main event of the evening session. As has been the case with other boxing show held in New Hampshire in recent months, fighters must have their temperature taken and be symptom-free to be allowed to fight. All corner staff, as well as the limited crowd, must wear masks.

Since winning the New England heavyweight belt with a unanimous decision over Tracey Johnson on Aug. 29, Rolfe has become more recognizable. He’s done radio interviews and a few public appearances at Waterville-area restaurants. Rolfe even married his longtime girlfriend, Jasminne Drouin. None of that was a distraction from his training, Rolfe said.

“It’s actually inspired me more than ever,” Rolfe, 28, said. “I haven’t really been out of training camp. Winning the belt, it’s helped me. I’ve been doing everything I can, community-wise, but every day I get my work in.”

“This training camp was better than the first one,” Rolfe’s trainer Mike Leary added. “You work hard for something, you want to keep it.”


The fights Saturday come just 28 days after Berry defeated Bryan Timmons via TKO in Windham, New Hampshire. It’s a quick turnaround, Berry said, but the opportunity to fight for a belt was one he couldn’t pass up.

“A week after my fight, the promoter called and said there’s slots available (on the card),” said Berry said. “It’s a cool opportunity. I took nine days off, then I was back in the gym.”

Berry enters Saturday’s fight the winner of his last five matches. This is Berry’s first shot at a belt since he defeated Eric Palmer for the Northeast junior welterweight crown at the Androscoggin Bank Colisee in Lewiston in October 2014. In Kuhn (10-6-1), Berry (18-5-2) faces his toughest opponent in some time.

Justin Rolfe stands next to a heavy bag in his Fairfield home in February 2015. Michael G. Seamans/Morning Sentinel file photo

Berry and Kuhn were in negotiations to fight a couple years ago, Berry said, it just didn’t work out.

“(Kuhn) can be a very slick fighter when things go his way. I want to make him feel uncomfortable early,” Berry, 33, said. “I’ve always had problems with guys who box slick.”

Berry definitely comes into the fight the hotter boxer. A native of Charleston, West Virginia, Kuhn lost four of his last five fights, including his last bout, a knockout loss to Jose Valenzuela on Aug. 29 in Los Angeles.


In Marshall, Rolfe (4-1-1) has an opponent making a comeback of sorts. Formerly a cruiserweight fighting at 200-pounds, Marshall has not fought since Nov. 5, 2016, a knockout loss to Luther Smith. Despite that long layoff, Rolfe and Leary are not taking Marshall (3-1) lightly.

“I know he’s tough. He’s got heavy hands. But I’m tough. I have heavy hands. I’ve proven I can take a punch,” Rolfe said. “I’ve proven I can go the distance. I’m ready to show I’ve crisped up a few things.”

Added Leary: “I don’t make any predictions. Justin is going to fight hard. Coming off the couch (after four years) is hard. Justin’s a great student. His game has just gotten better.”

Travis Lazarczyk — 861-9242

Twitter: @TLazarczykMTM

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