Wednesday, March 22, 2023  |


Edgar Berlanga is ready to explode on the ESPN+ card in Philly Saturday night

Photo by Mikey Williams/Top Rank

PHILADELPHIA, PA – Edgar Berlanga Sr. had a unique alarm clock about 20 years ago—his son, Edgar Jr., who would pounce on the bed each morning and ball his little fists up and pop his dad with a few to the chin. In fact, young Edgar wasn’t afraid to pop anyone on the chin as a kid growing up in New York.

It led to a point that Edgar Sr. had to do something about it. So, about the time Edgar Jr. was seven, father and son happened to be driving by a nearby gym, where a friend of Edgar Sr.’s was working.

Edgar Sr. found the right medicine for his rambunctious son.

Those furious fists now belong to a lean, sinewy 6-foot-1½ middleweight who instead of waking anyone up puts them to sleep.

Edgar Berlanga Jr. will be one of the talented young fighters highlighted Saturday night on the Top Rank Boxing on ESPN+ card (10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT) from Temple University’s Liacouras Center.

The 10-round super featherweight bout between Jason Sosa (22-3-4, 15 knockouts) and Lydell Rhodes (27-3-1, 13 KOs) will be the main event, replacing the originally centerpiece fight between Carl Frampton and Emmanuel Dominguez that was scuttled on Monday when a hotel lobby pillar fell and broke Frampton’s left hand.

But a fighter that’s certainly worth attention is Berlanga, who’s 11-0, with 11 first-round knockouts. He’ll be facing Frenchman Gregory Trenel (11-4-2, 3 KOs).

It will mark the second national TV appearance for Berlanga Jr., who fell in love with boxing the first time he stepped into the ring. Berlanga fought the son of the gym owner and held his own.

A few things happened next: One, he went home, did his homework and immediately went to sleep; and two, he wasn’t throwing fists very much anymore at anyone outside the gym. “The Chosen One” became devoted to boxing.

“I loved it, but I was exhausted from being in the gym,” Berlanga Jr. said. “I took about six months off when I was around 13, 14. I went to my dad and asked him if I could go back to the gym.

“Boxing is a part of me. I felt just like a natural when I began.”

Berlanga thought about the 2016 Olympics, but opted to turn pro. This fight Saturday will be his third-straight scheduled eight-rounder.

There’s no disputing his talent, his power, nor his work ethic.

“I’ve been itching for a higher level of opponent, but Top Rank does well moving Puerto Rican fighters and I have complete faith in Bob Arum and Brad Goodman,” said Berlanga Jr., who grew up idolizing Felix Trinidad and Miguel Cotto.

Berlanga Jr. writes left, throws right and boxes with an orthodox stance.

“I’m looking forward to being Saturday night,” he said. “Expect fireworks. I want to stay at 160 as soon as I can. Berlanga versus Canelo Alvarez, it’s something I can look forward to in the future.”

Marc Farrait, Berlanga’s trainer for the last four years, would like to see his fighter get some work in. But Berlanga hasn’t exactly been complying to that scheme.

Blink, and he’s knocking someone out.

“Edgar has a great work ethic, he’s a humble, hard-working kid and he’s willing to be patient,” Farrait said. “Edgar has been in with some strong guys, and he’s held his own, if not dominated them.

“We have a lot of work ahead of us, because Edgar right now is only about 50 percent of just how good he can be.”

Then Farrait relayed a story of seven months ago. Berlanga and Farrait just finished working out, when Farrait received a call from Edgar Sr. Here, Berlanga had suffered a strained oblique muscle.

“I asked Edgar what he was doing, and we work twice a day really hard,” Farrait recalled. “He told between workouts he went to LA Fitness to get some extra work and he strained his side.

“That’s Edgar. He always wants to get the extra work in. He’s amazing. I come in the gym and Edgar is already there. He loves it. Personally, Edgar has good people around him and everyone thinks being patient is the key.”

But watch out for next year.

Weights and records from Philadelphia

Jason Sosa (22-3-4, 15 KOs) 129 lbs vs. Lydell Rhodes (27-3-1, 13 KOs) 130.9 lbs
(Super Featherweight – 10 Rounds)

Edgar Berlanga (11-0, 11 KOs) 162.3 lbs vs. Gregory Trenel (11-4-2, 3 KOs) 162.2 lbs
(Middleweight – 8 Rounds)

Robeisy Ramirez (Pro debut) 125 lbs vs. Adan Gonzales (4-2-2, 2 KOs) 125.3 lbs
(Featherweight – 4 Rounds)
ESPN+ (8 p.m. ET)

Paul Kroll (4-0, 4 KOs) 147.9 lbs vs. Shinard Bunch (2-0, 2 KOs) 146.6 lbs
(Welterweight – 6 Rounds)

Sonny Conto (3-0, 3 KOs) 214.5 lbs vs. Guillermo Del Rio (2-2-1, 2 KOs) 225.5 lbs
(Heavyweight – 4 Rounds)

Donald Smith (9-0, 6 KOs) 126.5 lbs vs. Raheem Abdullah (3-2, 0 KOs) 124.6 lbs
(Featherweight – 6 Rounds)

Jeremy Adorno (1-0, 0 KOs) 121.9 lbs vs. Fernando Robles (2-1, 0 KOs) 121 lbs
(Super Bantamweight – 4 Rounds)



Latest Issue Cover