Edgar Berlanga Defeats Steve Rolls
Photos: Mikey Williams - Top Rank
Edgar Berlanga sold out the Hulu Theater at Madison
Square Garden to the tune of 5,158 fans. Berlanga
prevailed via 10-round unanimous decision (96-94 and
97-93 2x) over Steve Rolls in his main event debut.
It wasn't the sterling knockout Berlanga sought, but it
was an important step forward for the Brooklyn native.
Berlanga (19-0, 16 KOs) tore his biceps last October
against Marcelo Esteban Coceres and spent the last 12
weeks training in Las Vegas.
The biceps injury did not flare up, as Berlanga stalked
the Canadian veteran. Rolls had pockets of success,
especially with right hands to Berlanga's midsection.
Berlanga closed the fight strong, winning the final two
rounds on all three judges' scorecards.
He now moves forward to a potential June 11 date.
Berlanga said, "You could tell that he was fighting
scared. Every time I reached in or threw something, he’s
pulling back, running the whole fight.
"I was looking for a big shot. My corner was telling me
use a jab. My elbow was bothering me a little bit. But
I’m just happy we got the victory and moving forward.
"My elbow starting hurting me in like the second round
but no excuses. We got the biceps torn in the last
fight, came back in four months and got to it."
Zayas Blanks LaVallais
Xander Zayas was dominant in the junior middleweight
co-feature, shutting out New Orleans-based veteran
Quincy LaVallais over eight rounds (80-72 2x and 80-71).
Zayas, the 19-year-old phenom from San Juan, Puerto
Rico, excelled in his first scheduled eight-rounder,
applying the pressure early and never letting up.
Zayas (13-0, 9 KOs) nearly scored the stoppage in round
two, as he had LaVallais (12-3-1, 7 KOs) pinned against
the ropes for the whole round. He landed 54 punches in
that stanza, but LaVallais' granite chin blunted Zayas'
power. By the fifth, LaVallais was marching forward, if
not banking rounds.
Zayas kept the barrage going in the later rounds, and
LaVallais received a moral victory of sorts in surviving
the distance. Zayas outlanded LaVallais at a nearly 4-1
Zayas said, “I need this type of experience. Eight
rounds against a tough opponent will only help me as I
move forward in my career.
“The plan is to come back June 11 at The Garden on
Puerto Rican Parade Weekend. That’s a special weekend
for Puerto Ricans, and I am proud to represent my
Junior Welterweight: John Bauza (17-0, 7 KOs) UD 8 Tony
Luis (29-5, 10 KOs). Scores: 80-72, 79-73 and 78-74.
Luis applied his typical pressure, but that wasn't
enough to upset the apple cart against the rising Puerto
Rican star. Bauza used his southpaw jab and
quick-trigger combinations to blunt the Luis attack.
Welterweight: Jahi Tucker (7-0, 4 KOs) UD 6 Tracey
McGruder (6-2, 4 KOs). Scores: 60-54 and 59-55 2x. Long
Island native Tucker tried everything he could, but the
stubborn McGruder withstood the onslaught. He turned
southpaw at times and attempted to lure McGruder to the
ropes. After six rounds, McGruder was still standing,
and Tucker had to settle for the near-shutout.
Junior Lightweight: Henry Lebron (15-0, 10 KOs) TKO 7
Josec Ruiz (23-6-3, 16 KOs). It took Lebron nearly seven
rounds, but the Puerto Rican contender became the first
man to knock out the Honduran veteran. Lebron laid a
beating on Ruiz, but he finally staggered him in the
seventh, prompting referee Benjy Esteves to stop the
Junior Lightweight: Bruce Carrington (3-0, 2 KOs) KO 5
Yeuri Andujar (5-5-1, 3 KOs). Carrington, the latest
knockout puncher from the Brownsville section of
Brooklyn, knocked Andujar out cold with left hook. The
Dominican veteran gave Carrington the most competitive
run of his young career, but it was mostly one-sided
traffic that ended in devastating fashion.
Carrington said, "I want to thank Brownsville and all of
Brooklyn for coming out to support me. Fighting as a pro
at Madison Square Garden was a dream come true. This is
only the beginning."
Junior Welterweight: Armani Almestica (5-0, 5 KOs) TKO 3
Luis Valentin Portalatin (3-4, 1 KO), 1:57. Almestica
brought a vocal contingent to the Hulu Theater and
battered late replacement Portalatin until referee Eric
Dali stopped the fight.
Junior Welterweight: Kelvin Davis (4-0, 3 KOs) TKO 1
Phillip Carmouche (2-3), 1:17. The eldest of the
Fighting Davis Brothers from Norfolk, Virginia, Kelvin
notched the first first-round knockout of his burgeoning
career. Carmouche offered little resistance, and Davis
pounced with a pair of knockdowns. The finishing blow
came courtesy of a right hook as Carmouche was slumped
against the ropes.