Last time local MMA fighter Gwyn Berry stepped in the octagon for Battlefield Fight League, he had a relatively easy time.
He’s expecting a tougher contest next month when he takes on Juan Castillo for the amateur lightweight title.
The two will face each other as part of BFL 47 at Coquitlam’s Hard Rock Casino on Feb. 18.
“I’m expecting a five-round war,” Berry said.
Berry, who just turned 23, grew up in Britannia Beach and lives in Squamish. During the week, he has been training at The Sound gym in town to get ready for the bout. Both Berry and Castillo, who is based out of Victoria, are 3-0 in BFL so far, and Berry said he is not expecting an easy time from his opponent.
“He moves a lot. He has a solid left kick,” Berry said, adding that while he has an idea of what to expect when he is fighting, he has to be ready for his opponent to throw something different.
“I’m adapting when I’m in there,” he said. “I definitely adapt to the fight... Later in the fight I feel I get better.”
Last October, Berry faced Mitch Burke at BFL 46, winning on a TKO 15 seconds into the third round at which point the referee stopped the fight.
In that fight, Berry landed blows early, but slowed the pace down in the second, often grappling with Burke. In the third thought, he hit Burke with a number of knee blows to the side and some punches at which point his opponent was finished.
“I was really surprised at how smoothly it went,” he said.
Berry grew up on a skateboard and later played soccer, though he had been a fan of MMA. At the urging of his friend, fellow fighter and current BFL pro bantamweight champ Cole Smith, he started training at mixed martial arts and had his first competition after only two months. While he did not win, he said he did well enough to stick with the sport.
Castillo is ranked first right now, while Berry is ranked third, and next month’s fight could pave the way for Berry to make the jump to professional ranks.
“I’m planning on turning pro this year,” he said. “This next fight will determine on how fast I turn pro.”
To get ready, he’s working out in the evening after work, which means he does not have the free time or social life of many young men his age, but he is willing to put in the work.
“I’m at the gym three hours a day,” he said, adding that on Saturdays he heads to the city to train at Adam Ryan’s academy in Richmond. “I do some sparring with the fighters in Vancouver.”
He even went to Thailand last year, where Smith was fighting, to step up his training to help him move up the rankings.
“That’s, I think, where I got my work ethic,” he said.
Berry is not the only local fighter out of The Sound that will be taking part in BFL 47. Jamey-Lyn Horth (1-0) will taking on Lupita Godinez in one of the preliminary bouts.
For tickets or more information on Battlefield Fight League 47, see www.battlefieldfl.com.