Body shots were the weapon of choice for brothers Brandon and Gordon Berry on Saturday night as the boxing brothers from West Forks each achieved a significant career goal during a card at the Skowhegan Community Center.
Brandon “The Cannon” Berry, the 34-year-old who promoted the show, won his second Universal Boxing Organization championship belt in the main event, knocking out previously undefeated Juan Maniuel Witt of Argentina in the sixth round to capture the vacant UBO International super welterweight title.
Gordon Berry, 40, returned to the boxing ring after a 12-year layoff to make his professional debut and scored a first-round technical knockout victory over 35-year-old Lucinei Santos, a Brazilian now living and fighting out of Concord, New Hampshire.
The younger Berry used his jab to work inside Witt’s defenses at the start of their scheduled 10-round championship bout, then spent much of the evening pressing the taller Witt into the corners and against the ropes and then landing punishing left and right hooks to the body.
“I never would have said it in the past, but I guess I’ve turned into a body puncher. I really enjoy working the body, and it’s partially because I’m usually at a disadvantage with height, I’m usually fighting taller guys,” Berry said.
“At the weigh-ins I found out he was much taller than I thought, so I thought that if this was a guy who I could get to his body it might pay dividends in the later rounds, and really it did. I was able to land some good body punches early.”
Witt bounced back in rounds three and four, landing several clean punches while on the counter-attack, but Berry remained the aggressor and continued to wear down his opponent.
“I didn’t know what to expect as far as the longevity of the fight but I planned on going 10 rounds with him,” Berry said. “He was going to push me to my limits, and he did. He hurt me to the body, too, so I had to be cautious.”
Berry’s body work finally paid off in the sixth round, producing his first knockdown midway through the three-minute period with a short right hand to the head as he pressured Witt against the ropes.
“I think I was hurting him to the body, and then when I caught him in the head that’s when he went down,” Berry said.
Witt rose from the canvas but soon found himself backed into the corner where Berry knocked him down for a second and final time with a right hook to the body.
This time Witt was counted out with nine seconds left in the round, marking his first loss in 42 professional fights.
“I want to thank everyone here for their support, and I want to thank my opponent, coming all the way from Argentina,” Berry said. “He was tough and definitely had me hurt with some good body shots.”
Berry, who held the UBO All-America welterweight title coming into Saturday’s bout, improved his record to 24-6-2 with 17 knockouts after securing his 11th victory in his last 12 bouts during a stretch that began in July 2019.
Witt, who came into the bout after winning two regional titles in his native Argentina earlier this year, fell to 39-1-2 with 28 knockouts.
Gordon Berry, whose own amateur boxing career led to his younger brother taking up the sport, entered the ring for the first time as a professional earlier in the evening and used his own body shots to stop Santos at 1:04 of the opening round.
“We were very happy but both of us also were like, ‘I wish it could have gone longer,’ because Gordon had trained so hard and put in months and months of work,” said Brandon Berry, who worked in his brother’s corner during the scheduled four-round bout.
“He landed just a perfect right hand to the body. Right when it landed I heard it, and I thought the kid was going to get up but I can see why he didn’t. It was just a perfect shot, unfortunately for the opponent but great for my brother.”