Jason Quirk wanted to be a fighter long before he wanted to be a firefighter.

Now he’s doing both, as “The Fighting Fireman” combines both professions as a firefighter and paramedic assigned to the MEDCU 33 ambulance based at Portland’s Stevens Avenue Station and a former New England Golden Gloves boxing champion who is undefeated since turning professional in 2014.

“There’s a huge adrenaline dump with both because you never really know what to expect on the job and it’s the same with boxing because you don’t know what’s going to happen when you get into the ring,” said Quirk, a South Portland resident who trains at the Portland Boxing Club.

The 28-year-old Quirk (6-0 with four knockouts) will face Brandon Baue of Troy, Missouri, on Saturday night in a six-round middleweight bout as the co-main event of a pro-am boxing card at the Skowhegan Community Center.

The show, promoted by West Forks boxer Brandon “The Cannon” Berry, will feature two professional fights, 11 amateur contests and an appearance by former world lightweight boxing champion “Irish” Micky Ward, whose career was the subject of the Oscar-nominated movie “The Fighter.”

Ward will be available for autographs and photos beginning at 6 p.m., with the first bout set for 7.

Quirk, who was introduced to boxing at age 10 and had his first amateur bout at 16, graduated from Scarborough High School before opting for a military career.

“I originally joined the Coast Guard and thought I was going to do 20 years there, but I realized I wasn’t a big fan of moving around every two to four years so I had to think of a job where I could still influence other people’s lives,” he said. “The fire department was the first thing that popped into my head.”

Quirk left active Coast Guard duty in 2012 to continue boxing and pursue a degree in fire science from Southern Maine Community College in South Portland.

He transitioned from amateur boxing to the professional ranks in 2014 after winning the New England Golden Gloves title, and it was literally moments before that championship bout when Quirk learned of his future as a firefighter.

“I was warming up for the (championship) fight and saw a Portland number come up on my phone,” he recalled. “Normally I wouldn’t answer it right before a fight but I answered it and it was the chief calling to let me know I was hired. It was pretty cool.”

Quirk took 2016 off from boxing while completing his studies in paramedicine from SMCC but has been busy since returning to the ring in June.

He scored a second-round victory over Borngod Washington in Lewiston on June 17, continued preparing for his upcoming bout and even has made time to train with actor Patrick Dempsey, the Buckfield native and former star of the TV series “Grey’s Anatomy.”

Quirk was reluctant to talk about specifics of his work with Dempsey, but has said that his work with the actor has involved virtually all elements of the sport short of actual sparring.

The sparring has been reserved for his own workouts that are designed to fine-tune Quirk’s aggressive boxing style.

“I’m a move-forward, power puncher,” he said. “I try to come in, move my head and make him miss and make him pay for it. Head movement is the whole thing. Not only does it make your opponent miss but it sets you up to throw a power shot.”

Quirk’s self-analysis suggests an action-filled fight against the 30-year-old Baue, a former World Boxing Foundation All-Americas welterweight champion who is 12-10 with 10 knockouts.

Baue, who dropped a unanimous decision to former WBA super welterweight champion Yuri Foreman in 2013, is returning to competition for the first time in four years after battling a back injury.

“I go hard the whole time,” Baue said. “I’m a strict boxer-puncher. I try to hit and not get hit, and if it comes down to it I’m always down to brawl.”

Quirk hopes to use Saturday’s fight as the springboard for determining how good a boxer he can become.

“I really just want to take it as far as I can,” he said. “In my head there’s still time to take it to another level, and nobody’s going to tell me otherwise.”

Ernie Clark

Ernie Clark is a veteran sportswriter who has worked with the Bangor Daily News for more than a decade. A four-time Maine Sportswriter of the Year as selected by the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters...