Brandon Berry of West Forks lands a left jab against Grove, Oklahoma's James Roach during their junior welterweight boxing match at the Portland Exposition Building on Saturday, Nov. 9, 2019. Berry won by second-round technical knockout. Credit: Courtesy of Kineo Photography

Business was booming at Berry’s General Store in West Forks on Wednesday morning, with Brandon Berry’s telephone interview frequently interrupted by customers getting out after cleaning up a fresh batch of mid-November snow or otherwise making their way along Route 201 in northwestern Somerset County,

Berry was eager for such multitasking, foremost for the sake of the family business and because things are on the rebound in his other profession, boxing.

The 32-year-old Berry extended his winning streak to four fights with a second-round technical knockout of James Roach at the Portland Exposition Building on Saturday night.

The fight was Berry’s fourth in the past five months, and while the first three victories came against sub-.500 competition, the promising Roach brought a 5-2 record from his home in Grove, Oklahoma, to the East Coast and represented the biggest challenge to Berry’s comeback from a spate of injuries.

But Berry, now 17-5-2, was as fit as he’s been in recent years thanks to a steady diet of training, fights and healthy eating.

“I was able to mentally really stay on track. I never really left the gym,” he said between his cash register duties. “After every fight I’d take three or four days off, and then I was right back at it.”

Berry battled Roach at 142 pounds, the lightest he’s weighed in for a bout since 2016.

“Everything has gone as planned since summer,” Berry said. “The first opponents were nothing I was proud of as far as their records go, but it was part of the plan. It was necessary to get things going back in a positive direction.

“This one I’m proud of; this was a step-up fight against a better opponent.”

Berry and Roach battled through what “the Cannon” described as a competitive first round.

“He came out very strong,” Berry said. “There was no trying to figure me out or pacing himself. He came out throwing very hard punches, and I just tried to stay calm and realistically just tried to weather his storm and stick to my game plan, and it worked.”

Berry began landing his jabs more consistently as the first round continued to slow Roach’s early momentum.

“Then in the second round I was still cautious because he had heavy hands, but I was able to hurt him to the body and get him on the ropes and hit him with 11 or 12 what I guess you would call power shots,” Berry said. “They were landing pretty hard.”

The referee then jumped in and stopped the fight for Berry’s 11th pro knockout.

I was planning on going all six rounds if we had to, but it ended early,” Berry said. “I’ll take it.”

Others scoring victories during the show hosted by the Portland Boxing Club were Portland-area favorites Russell Lamour and the comebacking Casey Streeter of Raymond.

Lamour, the former IBA North American middleweight champion, improved his record to 17-3 with a TKO victory over Argentina’s Diego Adrian Marocchi. Streeter, who 15 months ago had his leg mangled by a log truck’s grappling claw, won by unanimous decision over Miguel Angel Suarez and is now 10-1-1.

“It was a great show all the way around,” Berry said.

Berry plans to take a small break from fighting over the holidays, though he plans to remain active in the gym to prepare a firm base for an active 2020.

That likely will include Berry promoting a spring boxing show at the Skowhegan Community Center.

“I’m knocking on the door of 20 wins, which would be awesome, and the plan is to keep stepping it up a little bit at a time,” he said. “I don’t want to jump in too deep yet. [Roach] was great, the next guy I’d like to fight will be a little better than him, I hope, and then I just hope to slowly get better every fight.”

Ernie Clark

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...