Berlanga-Steve Rolls, Zayas-Quincy LaVallais and Davis-Esteban Sanchez will be televised live on ESPN & ESPN Deportes (simulcast on ESPN+) at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT
Edgar “The Chosen One” Berlanga is currently completing his final week of fight preparation in his new training locale. After choosing to do his physical therapy in Las Vegas following bicep surgery, Berlanga and his team made the decision to remain in the boxing capitol of the world for their training camp ahead of his March 19 fight.
The choice to move his training camp base west has paid off for Berlanga as he prepares for his first main event, which will take place in his New York hometown. Throughout camp, he has enjoyed the easy access to all of the training facilities he and his team need to prepare for his March showdown with Steve Rolls at the Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden. Las Vegas and its mild winter climate have provided excellent training and preparation opportunities for Berlanga ranging from the UFC Performance Institute to the many mountain areas and outdoor spaces for running.
“I came out here to Vegas to get a different training environment and take everything to the next level, but also to do physical therapy on my bicep, which I tore in my last fight. The UFC PI is amazing, the physical therapy is just different. They’ve worked very well on my bicep and they got it back to 100 percent so I’m happy,” Berlanga said.
The 24-year-old learned a lot from his last outing on October 9, the toughest of his five-year professional career. Following a hard-fought victory in his 18th pro fight, Berlanga underwent surgery to repair a left bicep tear on October 20. He traveled to Las Vegas in November to begin physical therapy on his left arm and has been training in Sin City since that time.
In addition to the high-level facilities, Berlanga has benefitted from training alongside many elite fighters, some of whom he’s known since he was a young amateur.
“I love the environment here, being with top fighters such as Jared Anderson, Troy Isley, Duke Ragan, Kenneth Sims and Bruce Carrington (who will also compete on the March 19 card). These are the type of fighters and the gym environment I want to be around as I’m progressing in my career. If you’re doing something wrong, you’ve got your brothers around to tell you. They could be in the ring sparring, and I can pick up some of the things that they are doing,” he said.
Berlanga has focused in on his boxing skills and critical technical elements over the past few months in Las Vegas. Although he has become best known for the 16 first round knockout streak that opened his professional career, Berlanga plans to showcase boxing skill and talent many fans have not previously seen from him.
“I’ve been working on my boxing ability and everything I’ve been doing all my life. I’m just bringing it back and not relying on power anymore because the power is there. I’m going back to my roots and my boxing ability,” he said.
Berlanga and his team will return home to New York early in fight week to finalize preparations for his 2022 debut. The event will air live on ESPN and ESPN Deportes at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT on March 19. Tickets for the stacked card of young talent are going quickly and a full house is expected for the Brooklyn-born boxer’s first main event.
Three future fistic superstars are set to unite under the Madison Square Garden spotlight
Brooklyn-born super middleweight sensation Edgar “The Chosen One” Berlanga will defend his NABO belt against crafty Canadian Steve Rolls in the 10-round main event Saturday, March 19 at Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden. Berlanga, whose family hails from San Juan, Puerto Rico, makes his main event debut in his stiffest test to date.
In the junior middleweight co-feature, 19-year-old Puerto Rican star Xander Zayas will fight in his first scheduled eight-rounder against Louisiana-born spoiler Quincy “Chico” LaVallais.
The eight-round televised opener will see the return of lightweight U.S. Olympic silver medalist Keyshawn Davis against Mexican veteran Esteban Sanchez.
Berlanga-Rolls, Zayas-LaVallais and Davis-Sanchez will air live on ESPN and ESPN Deportes (simulcast on ESPN+) at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT.
Promoted by Top Rank, in association with DiBella Entertainment, tickets starting at $51 go on sale Friday, Jan. 28 at 12 p.m. ET and can be purchased by visiting Ticketmaster.com or MSG.com.
“Edgar, Xander and Keyshawn are future pound-for-pound superstars, and it will be a special evening in front of a sold-out New York City crowd,” said Top Rank chairman Bob Arum. “All three are in there with the toughest fights of their respective careers, but I expect them to pass with flying colors.”
Berlanga (18-0, 16 KOs) took the boxing world by storm with 16 straight first-round knockouts to open his pro career. He went the distance twice in 2021, opening his campaign in April by knocking down Demond Nicholson four times in eight rounds in an ESPN-televised rout. Berlanga returned on the Tyson Fury-Deontay Wilder III card in October, defeating Marcelo Esteban Coceres via 10-round unanimous decision despite suffering a torn biceps in the third round and the first knockdown of his career in the ninth.
Berlanga said, “I’m so excited to fight in my first main event in my hometown. It’s a dream come true for a fighter representing New York City and Puerto Rico. I can’t wait to show the world what I’m truly about. We are going to blow the roof off the Hulu Theater, so grab your tickets early and get your popcorn ready for this performance.”
Rolls (21-1, 12 KOs), a 37-year-old from Toronto, is an 11-year pro who was an undefeated middleweight contender before moving up in weight. In June 2019, he challenged pound-for-pound stalwart Gennadiy Golovkin at Madison Square Garden and found some success in the second round before being stopped in the fourth. Rolls has tallied two wins since the Golovkin bout, most recently knocking out Christopher Brooker in the ninth round last month on the Artur Beterbiev-Marcus Browne undercard in Montreal.
Rolls said, “I’m happy to be back headlining at Madison Square Garden. Training camp has been going well, and I feel very strong with nothing but war on my mind. Berlanga has power, but I’ll be ready for whatever he brings. I’m looking forward to March 19. I’ll see you then.”
Zayas (12-0, 9 KOs) had a breakthrough 2021, going 6-0 with four knockouts while being mentioned prominently in Prospect of the Year debates. He made his Madison Square Garden debut last December and finished his 2021 campaign by knocking out Alessio Mastronunzio in the first round. He steps up against LaVallais (12-2-1, 7 KOs), who notched a December 2020 upset over Clay Collard at the MGM Grand Bubble. LaVallais, who is 2-2 since the Collard victory, has never been knocked out.
Zayas said, “It’s an honor to fight again at Madison Square Garden, where I know my Puerto Rican people will come out to show their support. 2021 was a great year, but I’m looking forward to an even bigger 2022. Quincy LaVallais is a solid veteran, so I can’t overlook him. I want to make a major statement on March 19.”
Davis (4-0, 3 KOs), from Norfolk, Virginia, won three bouts in the first five months of 2021 before journeying to Tokyo and earning a silver medal. He then signed a long-term promotional contract with Top Rank and improved to 4-0 with a second-round stoppage over Jose Zaragoza on December 11. Davis makes his 2022 debut against Sanchez (18-1, 8 KOs), a 23-year-old from Ensenada, Mexico, who has won two straight bouts and will be making his American debut.
Davis said, “I put on a show at Madison Square Garden in December, and I’m going to do it again. Esteban Sanchez is supposed to be my hardest fight as a pro, but it’s going to be easy work. The Davis Brothers are coming to represent Norfolk and leave no doubt that we are the future of boxing.”
Undercard action will stream live and exclusively on ESPN+ and is scheduled to include a host of undefeated talents, including Puerto Rican junior welterweight John “El Terrible” Bauza (16-0, 7 KOs) in an eight-rounder, welterweight and Berlanga’s New York City stablemate Pablo “Pretty Boy” Valdez (6-0, 5 KOs) in a six-round attraction, Puerto Rican junior lightweight Henry “Moncho” Lebron (14-0, 9 KOs) in an eight-rounder, and a four-rounder featuring junior welterweight Kelvin Davis (3-0, 2 KOs).
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