Edgar Berlanga takes on Steve Rolls in main event at MSG’s Hulu Theater
Unbeaten super middleweight Edgar Berlanga will face once-beaten Steve Rolls on March 19, Top Rank announced Thursday afternoon.
The 10-round bout will take place inside The Hulu Theatre at Madison Square Garden in Berlanga’s hometown of New York City and will headline a three-bout ESPN telecast (10 p.m. ET/ 7 p.m. PT).
Junior middleweight prospect Xander Zayas and U.S. Olympic silver medalist Keyshawn Davis are also scheduled to fight in separate bouts on the telecast.
“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 knockouts) overcame a knockdown in round nine to defeat Argentina’s Marcelo Coceres by unanimous decision. The victory over Coceres took place five months after Berlanga dropped Demond Nicholson five times en route to a one-sided decision win.
The 24-year-old began his pro career scoring 16 straight knockout wins in the opening round. After facing adversity in his last bout, Berlanga believes that made him a better overall fighter. He hopes to put on a show in front of family and friends.
“I’m so excited to fight in my first main event in my hometown,” said Berlanga, who is trained by Andre Rozier and managed by Keith Connolly. “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 Theatre.”
Rolls (21-1, 12 KOs), who resides in Toronto, Canada, knocked out gatekeeper Christopher Brooker in round 9 of his last bout on December 17. He has won his last two bouts since losing by knockout to Gennadiy Golovkin in June 2019.
The 37-year-old believes his experience and having faced the better opposition of the two will be the difference on March 19.
“I’m happy to be back headlining at Madison Square Garden,” said Rolls, who is promoted by Lou DiBella. “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.”
Xander Zayas will look to build on a successful 2021 campaign, one that saw him fight six times.
Zayas (12-0, 9 KOs) last fought on December 11, also at Madison Square Garden, stopping Alessio Mastronunzio in the opening round. Zayas, who is managed by Peter Kahn, has stopped seven of his last nine opponents.
The 19-year-old will square off against Quincy LaVallais in an eight-round bout. LaVallais (12-2-1, 7 KOs), who resides in Kenner, Louisiana, lost by unanimous decision to Nolberto Casco in his last bout on October 30.
Davis (4-0, 3 KOs), who resides in Norfolk, Virginia, is an amateur standout who recently signed a promotional deal with Top Rank. In his last bout on December 11, Davis dropped Jose Zaragoza twice before ending matters in round 2.
The 22-year-old will face Esteban Sanchez (18-1, 8 KOs), who is originally from Ensenada, Mexico and now resides in Conroe, Texas. Sanchez has won his last two bouts since losing by knockout to Luis Montano Alvarez in November 2020.
Francisco A. Salazar has written for The Ring since October 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 at FSalazarBoxing