Boxer Brandon Berry of West Forks wears the Universal Boxing Organization All America welterweight championship belt he won with a second-round technical knockout of Zack Kuhn on Saturday afternoon, Nov. 14, at the New England Sports Center in Derry, New Hampshire. Flanking Berry are fight referee Leo Gerstel (left) and New Hampshire boxing commissioner Art Nolin. Credit: Courtesy of Kineo Boxing Photography

The first thing boxer Brandon Berry does when faced with a new opponent is an internet search.

But as the 33-year-old West Forks native approaches the first defense of his United Boxing Organization All-America welterweight championship on Saturday afternoon in Derry, New Hampshire, information about 18-year-old challenger Gael Ibarra is hard to find.

“There’s really nothing on this guy except according to [boxing records website] BoxRec he’s 5-2,” said Berry, who enters the scheduled eight-round title bout with a 20-5-2 record including 14 knockouts.

“I can’t find anything on him. There’s no videos. If you type in his name, you find nothing.”

What is known about Ibarra is that he turned 18 just this week, making him legal to box professionally in the United States. His first seven bouts came just across the border from his birthplace of Douglas, Arizona, in Agua Prieta, Sonora, Mexico.

According to BoxRec, he made his pro debut at age 15 in November 2018, losing in the fifth round of a scheduled 10-round fight to an opponent who already had 26 fights to his credit.

Ibarra also lost his next bout, but since then has scored five consecutive victories, including four knockouts.

What isn’t known is whether that’s the entirety of Ibarra’s professional resume, and the extent of any earlier amateur background.

“You want to see footage,” Berry said. “It’s peace of mind. You can see strategy and tactics. It might change something you do in training. Unfortunately this guy doesn’t have any video out there, so I’m just going to go with what’s been working for me lately and train very hard. I know that I have fought eight rounds, and he’s never been eight rounds that I know of.”

The relative air of mystery has even prompted the UBO in promoting the bout to suggest the fight represents a “risky proposition” for Berry.

“They’ve done a really good job here during the last 10 or 15 years of making sure all fighters have accurate records reported,” Berry said. “BoxRec does a really good job, and all of the commissions are pretty hard on you so there’s no way you can hide fights.”

He nonetheless is convinced that Mexican fighters may well have much more experience than what is shown on their official record.

“It’s risky because he’s young, he’s won five in a row and we don’t know anything else about him,” Berry said.

He enters Saturday’s main event on a seven-fight winning streak, including a second-round TKO of West Virginian Zack Kuhn last November to win the UBO All-America title and an eight-round, non-title unanimous decision over Agustin Cicero in his most recent bout on March 13 in New Hampshire.

“The fact the UBO sanctioned this fight so it’s a title defense is a big deal to me,” Berry said. “A lot of people get to win titles, but it’s cool to be able to defend a title and hopefully successfully defend it.”

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...