LEWISTON, Maine — Since the late 1800s, Lewiston has hosted professional boxing, a legacy that includes hosting Muhammad Ali’s controversial first-round “phantom punch” knockout of Sonny Liston on May 25, 1965.
It also is the hometown of former world champion Joey Gamache Jr.
But the pro boxing scene has been quiet in Lewiston and the rest of the state for more than a decade — until Saturday, Oct. 11. That’s when promising light welterweight Brandon “The Cannon” Berry of the West Forks headlines the first all-professional boxing show at what is known as the Androscoggin Bank Colisee since 2004.
The card, scheduled for a 7 p.m. bell time, will be promoted by New England Fights, a Maine-based organization known since 2012 for staging mixed martial shows around the state, primarily in Lewiston.
“This has always been the plan with NEF,” NEF co-owner and promoter Nick DiSalvo said in a press release. “We always intended this promotion to be multifaceted when it came to putting together different combat sporting events. With pro boxing once again legal in Maine, we felt this was the perfect time to make our move into the boxing arena as well.”
While the full fight card has yet to be announced and is subject to change and approval by the Combat Sports Authority of Maine, the show is expected to feature the undefeated Berry, 6-0 since turning professional in May 2013. He is slated to fight again in Manchester, New Hampshire, in September before he makes his Lewiston debut.
“There hasn’t been pro boxing in Lewiston in nearly 11 years so, needless to say, I am very excited to headline this event,” Berry said. “I hope to bring a big crowd of people to help make this a successful ‘comeback’ of pro boxing in the Lewiston area.”
“I’ve been training very hard and look forward to showing all of the locals that pro boxing is alive and well and that Brandon Berry is here to stay.”
Berry is one of at least three fighters trained by Ken “Skeet” Wyman out of the Wyman Boxing Club in Stockton Springs scheduled to be on the card.
Brandon “L-Jack” Brewer (11-0-1), the reigning Canadian Professional Boxing Council light middleweight champion from Fredericton, New Brunswick, is penciled in to fight, as is Clinton’s Joel Bishop, a heavyweight who will be making his pro debut.
“We’re excited to be working with Skeet, Brandon and the rest of the Wyman’s Boxing Club athletes to bring the biggest show possible to Lewiston,” NEF co-owner Matt Peterson said. “Berry is a rising star who is doing all the right things to prepare himself for a championship run. Brandon has earned his spot the old fashioned way: through hard work and dedication to a dream. Skeet is the architect behind Brandon’s focus and has done a great job positioning him for the big stage. NEF is motivated to maximize the potential of this powerful alliance.”
Also anticipated on the Lewiston card is undefeated Stevie Gamache (4-0), the son of Joey Gamache Jr., who will be fighting professionally for the first time in his hometown.
Joey Gamache Jr. (55-4) holds the distinction of the only professional boxer to come out of Maine and capture a world title, winning the World Boxing Association super featherweight crown in 1991 and the WBA lightweight championship in 1992.