Unbeaten super middleweight contender Edgar Berlanga will be taking a step up in class against hard puncher Demond Nicholson on April 24th on ESPN.
The Athletic is reporting that Berlanga (16-0, 16 KOs) will be facing the 28-year-old Laurel, Maryland native Nicholson (23-3-1, 20 KOs) in two months from now.
This will be the first fight in which Berlanga will be facing someone with legitimate punching power, and it should be interesting to see how he takes the heavy shots from Nicholson.
If Berlanga doesn’t get rid of Nicholson early, he might run into some trouble later.
Can Berlanga continue his first-round knockout streak?
Berlanga will be looking for his 17th consecutive first-round knockout when he takes on Nicholson, who isn’t ranked in the top 15 by any of the four sanctioning bodies at this time.
Considering the type of opposition that the 23-year-old Berlanga has been facing during his five-year professional career, Nicholson is a huge step up for him and a good test.
In his last fight, Nicholson won a 10-round split decision win over journeyman Mike Guy (12-6-1, 5 KOs) last year in February 2020.
The eight-year professional Nicholson has been stopped twice in his career, losing to Jesse Hart by a seventh-round TKO in 2018 and Lekan Byfield by a sixth-round knockout in 2014.
Nicholson’s other loss came against Steve Rolls in losing an eight-round split decision in 2017. This is the same Rolls that was knocked out in four rounds by Gennadiy Golovkin in 2019.
Top Rank is taking things slowly with moving the New Yorker Berlanga, as he’s not someone with Olympic pedigree like some of the fighters they’ve had in the past.
Berlanga is ranked #5 WBA, #8 WBO, and he’s getting closer to a world title shot.
‘The Chosen One’ Berlanga is coming off a first-round knockout win over Ulises Sierra on December 12th in Las Vegas. Before that, Berlanga had fast stoppage wins over these fighters:
- Lanell Bellows
- Eric Moon
- Cesar Nunez
- Gregory Trenel
- Gyorgy Varju
At this point, it would be wise for Top Rank to hold off in letting Berlanga fight for a title until he’s picked up experience.
His opposition has woeful up until now, and he’s clearly not ready to fight world champions like Caleb Plant, Billy Joe Saunders, or Canelo Alvarez.
Former WBC super middleweight champion David Benavidez recently showed interest in facing Berlanga, but nothing came of it.
Even if Berlanga were to agree to the fight with Benavidez, Top Rank would likely veto it. Berlanga is badly trailing Benavidez, 24, in terms of experience, even though they’re both close to the same age.
“Keith Connolly tells The Athletic he struck a deal with Top Rank president Todd duBoef for Edgar Berlanga to face Demond Nicholson April 24 on ESPN.
“Easily toughest opponent for Berlanga thus far. Nicholson coming off win over Mike Guy. Berlanga has 16 1st-round KOs in 16 bouts,” said @MikeCoppinger.