Top Rank hopes for stiffer test for Edgar Berlanga on December 12
Super middleweight contender Edgar Berlanga will face once-beaten Ulises Sierra on December 12, Top Rank announced on Wednesday afternoon.
The 10-round bout will take place at the MGM Grand Conference Center in Las Vegas and open an ESPN telecast (10 p.m. ET/ 7 p.m. PT) that will be headlined by the junior lightweight bout between WBO mandatory challenger Shakur Stevenson and Toka Kahn Clary.
Berlanga (15-0, 15 knockouts), who resides in New York City, has notched all his victories by knockout in the opening round. In his most recent bout on October 17, which also took place in Las Vegas, Berlanga battered Lanell Bellows before the fight was stopped at 1:19.
The 23-year-old has answered every test thus far early on in his career, forcing Top Rank matchmaker Brad Goodman to research opponents that would challenge Berlanga and have punch resistance. Promoter Bob Arum hopes Sierra can not only challenge Berlanga but can last rounds.
“Edgar Berlanga has a unique blend of power and charisma and I believe he is the next Puerto Rican superstar,” said Arum. “Ulises Sierra is the toughest test of Edgar’s career. Who knows if that will make a difference? We’ve tried to get the kid some rounds before but once Edgar hurts his opponents, it’s game over.”
In his previous fight on July 21, Berlanga knocked out Eric Moon at 1:02 of the opening round. Cesar Nunez has lasted the longest in the ring with Berlanga thus far, losing by stoppage at 2:45 of the opening round on December 14.
Sierra (15-1-2, 9 KOs), who resides in San Diego, California, suffered the first loss of his career in his most recent bout on January 17, losing by unanimous decision to unbeaten Vladimir Shishkin. The 31-year-old Sierra, who is the son of former Major League Baseball pitcher Ulises “Candy” Sierra, did notch a knockout win over Jose Hernandez, in July 2016, in 28 seconds of the opening round.
Also on the Top Rank card will be a 10-round lightweight bout between lightweight contender Felix Verdejo and Masayoshi Nakatani of Japan.
The December 12 card will mark Top Rank’s final outing of 2021.
Francisco A. Salazar has written for The Ring since October of 2013 and has covered boxing in Southern California and abroad since 2000. Francisco also covers boxing for the Ventura County (California) Star newspaper. He can be reached by email at [email protected] or on Twitter @FSalazarBoxing.