Edgar Berlanga Returning to Ring for Next Boxing Match

Edgar Berlangais heading back to the ring…

The 22-year-old Puerto Rican hard-hitting super middleweight boxer will be featured on the undercard of featherweight world titlist Shakur Stevenson‘s first defense, on March 14 at the Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden in New York, according to Top Rank.

Edgar Berlanga

Top Rank said Berlanga’s opponent for the scheduled eight-round bout will be finalized next week, but the fight will be one of the preliminary bouts that’ll be streamed live on ESPN+beginning at 7:00 pm ET, ahead of the main card on ESPN at 10:30 p.m. The main card includes the previously announced meeting between Stevenson and challenger Miguel Marriagaand former junior featherweight world titlist Jessie Magdalenosquaring off with Sakaria Lukasin a 10-round featherweight fight.

Berlanga (13-0, 13 KOs), who hails from New York, has won all of his fights by first-round knockout.

“Hopefully, I can get in some rounds on March 14,” said Berlanga, who turned pro in 2016. “I want to show everyone I’m more than a one-round fighter. This is my time to shine.”

Berlanga’s longest ring appearance came in his most recent fight, when he needed 2 minutes, 45 seconds to knock out Cesar Nunezon December 14 at Madison Square Gardenon the Terence CrawfordEgidijus Kavaliauskasundercard.

Orozco Knocks Out KeAndre Gibson

Antonio Orozco is still unbeaten…

The 29-year-old Mexican professional boxer, a junior welterweight contender has positioned himself for a world title shot after knocking out KeAndre Gibson in the fourth round in a fight between unbeaten fighters on Saturday at The Cosmopolitan in Las Vegas.

Antonio Orozco

Orozco (26-0, 17 KOs) lived up to his nickname of “Relentless” as he went right after Gibson (16-1-1, 7 KOs) in the main event of the “Golden Boy Boxing on ESPN” card. He backed him up throughout the bout and blasted away to the body.

In the second round, Orozco forced Gibson to the ropes and continued to pound his body. A couple of shots strayed slightly low, and referee Russell Mora warned Orozco about the infraction.

With a minute left in the third round, Gibson landed a very low left hand that badly hurt Orozco, and Mora issued him a stern warning. But Orozco shook off the low blow, and in the fourth round, they continued to battle at close range before Orozco flicked out a jab and followed with a right hand behind it that caught Gibson hard near the temple.

Gibson dropped to the canvas on all fours and was clearly hurt. Although he beat the count, he was unsteady and did not respond to Mora when asked if he wanted to continue, forcing Mora to wave off the fight at 1 minute, 31 seconds as Orozco leaped in the air and pumped his fist in celebration.

“My corner was telling me he’s got the jab [figured out], so hide it and follow with the right hand,” Orozco said. “They were telling me, ‘Follow up after the jab,’ and that’s what we did — double jab, right hand.”

Gibson, who was stepping up the level of his opposition, had no excuses.

“I tried to outbox him,” said Gibson, whose purse was $20,000 compared to Orozco’s $30,000. “Unfortunately, I got caught. It happens.”

According to CompuBox punch statistics, Orozco landed 81 of 248 punches (33 percent) and Gibson landed 62 of 185 punches (34 percent), though nothing appeared to remotely bother Orozco. Of Orozco’s 63 landed power shots, 43 were to the body.

It was a big turnaround for Orozco, 29, compared to where he was three months ago. He was preparing to fight Fidel Maldonado Jr. on December 16, knowing a win would send him into a world title elimination fight or perhaps directly to a shot at unified world champion Terence Crawford.

Two days before the fight though, Orozco was struggling to make the 140-pound weight limit. He was dehydrated and lethargic and ultimately passed out. He wound up in the hospital, and the fight was canceled. He had waited too long to cut weight, and it cost him the title eliminator.

He was deeply apologetic to his team and took responsibility for what happened. In preparation to fight Gibson, Orozco hired a nutritionist to help him make weight properly, and he weighed in at 139.6 pounds on Friday afternoon and looked very sharp in the fight.

“From start to finish, I stuck to the fundamentals in this fight,” Orozco said. “We knew he was quick, had good foot movement [and was] a great boxer. Patience was the key, and we prevailed. I’m very happy to have won this fight, and now it’s time to go home to my family.”

With the victory, Orozco put himself back on track for a shot at a world title.

“This is the goal,” he said. “This is the first step [after what happened in December]. We’re here to become world champion.”

Hernandez to Make Professional Boxing Debut in December

Nico Hernandez is turning pro…

The 20-year-old Latino boxer, who claimed a light flyweight bronze medal at the 2016 Rio Games in August, will make his professional debut on December 10 at the CenturyLink Center in Omaha, Nebraska, on the undercard of unified junior welterweight world champion Terence Crawford‘s hometown title defense against John Molina Jr.

Nico Hernandez

Hernandez, who doesn’t have an opponent for his four-round bout yet, will fight as a 115-pound junior bantamweight after competing at the 2016 Summer Olympics as a 108-pounder.

Hernandez said he and his father/trainer Lewis Hernandez discussed the possibility of remaining amateur and trying to improve on his performance in Rio, but Nico said he really wanted to go the professional route.

“I made the decision because financially it would be better as a pro,” Hernandez told ESPN. “If I’m getting punched in the face, I might as well get paid for it. Now they’re letting pros go to the Olympics (as of the Rio Games), so there’s really no point in being an amateur boxer anymore since the goal is to make it to the Olympics.”

At the Rio Games, Hernandez ended the medal drought for Team USA’s male boxers, who had not won an Olympic medal since heavyweight Deontay Wilder claimed a bronze medal at the 2008 Beijing Games. Hernandez won a three-round decision against Ecuador’s Carlos Eduardo Quipo Palaxti in the quarterfinals to clinch a bronze.

Hernandez wasn’t considered a medal favorite when the Rio Games began, but his Cinderella run ended with a decision loss to eventual gold medalist Hasanboy Dusmatov, of Uzbekistan, in the semifinals. Two bronze medals are awarded in boxing.

Hernandez, who began boxing at age 9 and was approximately 122-13 as an amateur, returned home to Wichita as a hero. He was feted at a parade, and Wichita State University bestowed him with a four-year, full-ride scholarship.

Hernandez went 3-1 during the Olympics and became the first American light flyweight to win a medal since Michael Carbajal — who went on to have a Hall of Fame professional career — claimed silver in the 1988 Seoul Games. Hernandez said he plans to work toward a degree while boxing professionally.

“I definitely want something [to] fall back on,” Hernandez said.

But he is anxious to start his pro career.

“I can’t wait to go pro. I’ve been wanting to for a while,” Hernandez said.