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Knockout Streak Over For Berlanga

Mikey Williams/ Top Rank

New York: The undefeated KO streak of Super Middleweight Edgar Berlanga is over which could be a good thing. He failed to get his 17th consecutive knockout Saturday night going the eight-round distance in a unanimous decision win over Demond Nicholson.

After his win at the Silver Spurs Arena in Kissimmee, Florida, televised on ESPN/Top Rank Boxing, Berlanga said to a crowd of Puerto Rican fans “I feel amazing. I had to go to the judges with all the people here. I know they wanted a first round knockout,”

Berlanga has become a sensation in the sport with his roots from Brooklyn NY and Puerto Rico. He is one of the rising stars on the Top Rank roster and Bob Arum the Hall of Famer promoter has expressed interest in highlighting Berlanga on a future card at Madison Square Garden to coincide with the annual National Puerto Rican Day Parade.

However, with a capacity cap placed on fans in New York indoor arenas, all stemming from the COVID pandemic, the debut of Berlanga in the Garden will wait. Top Rank in the past saw champions Felix Trinidad and Miguel Cotto defend their titles at the Garden before sold out crowds  that also conceded with the Puerto Rican Day Parade weekend.

Yes, we all wanted the first round stoppage to keep an amazing streak going. But Nicholson was a tough test and Berlanger for the first time took directions from his corner after stopping 16 previous opponents in the first round.

Berlanga had trouble going with the right and used the left. He knocked down Nicholson four times in separate rounds and almost kept a knockout streak going with a final flurry of punches in the final round.

Though, in the end, we learned that Berlanga needs more time to challenge David Benavidez or the champions Caleb Plant and Canelo Alvarez. More so, Berlanga was able to get a taste of a fight going the distance and that was important as he moves forward.

“I give myself a “C: tonight,” he said. “I wanted the knockout of course. I got the experience. What’s next? Keep working in the gym, improving my craft and get ready for whatever is next.”

NAVARRETE DEFENDS TITLE: Main event on the card, WBO featherweight champion Emanuel Navarrete of Mexico knocked down Puerto Rican contender Christopher Diaz four times and got the 12th round stoppage.

It was the first successful featherweight title defense for Navarrete (34-1, 29 KOs) a former WBO junior featherweight world champion. After the knockdown in the 12th, Diaz’s trainer, Nelson Rodriguez, threw in the towel.

Diaz (26-3, 16 KO’s) entered the fight having won two straight since a decision loss to Shakur Stevenson in a non-title bout. He landed 183 punches on Navarrete, but was unable to hurt the champion.

It was another classic fight of fighters from Mexico and Puerto Rico that have been a storied part of boxing history.

KISSIMMEE, FLORIDA – APRIL 24: Emanuel Navarrete and Christopher Diaz exchange punches during their fight for the WBO featherweight title at the Silver Spurs Arena on April 24, 2021 in Kissimmee, Florida. (Photo by Mikey Williams/Top Rank Inc via Getty Images)

“I think we did put on a worthy performance,” Navarrete said. “I knew he was tough. I knew he was strong. And I knew he could hit hard, but he surpassed all my expectations. He brought out all the best in me so I’ve got a lot of respect for Christopher Diaz.

THROWING THE PUNCHES: “The main thing I’ve learned here is discipline. That’s something you can’t buy, you have to do it on your own. You have to want it.” From former unified heavyweight champion Andy Ruiz Jr. during his training camp as he prepares to oppose Chris Arreola Saturday May 1 on FOX Sports PBC Pay-Per-View.

First, this fight is more suited for a FOX Sports telecast and not pay-per-view. Second, where was the Ruiz discipline in his second fight against Anthony Joshua?…

The Ryan Garcia report of pulling out of his July 9 fight against Javier Fortuna is disturbing. Garcia did not give a specific reason but he did say on social media, “At this time it is important to manage my health and well being.”

Comment: Twitter@Ring786 Mancuso

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