Michael Leary, right, works out with Justin Rolfe, 29, on Feb. 3 at O’Leary’s Fitness on College Avenue in Waterville. Rolfe, a pro boxer out of Fairfield, as well as West Forks boxer Brandon Berry have each had fights in New Hampshire as Maine continues to hold off on promoting combat sports events.  Michael G. Seamans/Morning Sentinel Buy this Photo

For months, boxers and mixed martial artists from Maine have gone out of state for competition. With those sports in the high-risk category for Covid-19 transmission, it could be a while before the state hosts either one.

The Combat Sports Authority of Maine, the governing body of boxing and mixed martial arts in the state, met recently to discuss being ready when events are again allowed in the state, Bill Bouffard, CSAM secretary, said in an email. With boxing and MMA in the high-risk category, the sports continue to be on hold in Maine.

“With that, we cannot commit to any dates for events. But I can tell you that MMA and boxing promoters are starting to prepare for the next phase of openings in hopes that the restrictions on our sports get loosened,” Bouffard said. “As soon as they are, the promoters are ready to host events.”

Professional boxer Brandon Berry of West Forks had a show planned for April 25, 2020 at the Skowhegan Community Center. Justin Rolfe, a pro boxer from Fairfield, was planning a show for May 30 of last year at Winslow High School. Both events were cancelled in the early days of the Covid-19 pandemic. While unable to promote and host events over the last year, Berry and Rolfe have continued their careers with fights in New Hampshire.

Since last October, Berry has fought three times in New Hampshire, winning each bout. Rolfe has competed in two fights in New Hampshire since August. Both Berry and Rolfe are scheduled to be on the card of an event at the SportsZone in Derry, NH, April 17. Berry is scheduled to fight Gael Ibarra, while Rolfe will take on Alfredo Trevino.

“Hopefully by the end of the year, we can get back to fighting in Maine,” Berry said.

Bouffard said he’s optimistically hoping for events to be scheduled in Maine by late summer or early fall.

“Realistically it will take a couple months after we get word for the events to come together. As much prep work as can be done prior, is happening now. Tentative dates are being explored, contact is being made with fighters and venues. Everyone is anxious to get back to the sports we love,” Bouffard said.

It’s likely the first boxing and MMA shows in Maine will be held with a limited number or no fans in attendance, Bouffard said.

Travis Lazarczyk — 861-9242

Twitter: @TLazarczykMTM

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