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  Young Stars Edgar Berlanga & Xander Zayas Ready For ESPN & Madison Square Garden Spotlight

Three of Puerto Rico's young stars are ready for the Madison Square Garden spotlight.

Super middleweight sensation Edgar "The Chosen One" Berlanga (18-0, 16 KOs) makes his main event debut Saturday evening in a 10-rounder versus longtime contender Steve Rolls (21-1, 12 KOs).

Xander Zayas (12-0, 9 KOs) takes the co-feature stage in an eight-round junior middleweight bout against Louisiana-born spoiler Quincy LaVallais (12-2-1, 7 KOs).

In the eight-round televised opener, junior welterweight John "El Terrible" Bauza (16-0, 7 KOs) steps up in class against Canadian veteran Tony "Lightning" Luis (29-4, 10 KOs).

The televised tripleheader kicks off at 10 p.m. ET on ESPN & ESPN Deportes (simulcast on ESPN+). Undercard action will stream live and exclusively on ESPN+ (7:15 p.m. ET) and includes the return of Brooklyn-born Bruce "Shu Shu" Carrington (2-0, 1 KO), Kelvin Davis (3-0, 2 KOs), and rising junior lightweight Henry Lebron (14-0, 9 KOs).

This is what the main card fighters had to say at Thursday's press conference.

Edgar Berlanga

ďIím feeling amazing. I want to thank Top Rank and ESPN for finally making it happen here back home. Itís a blessing, man. Iím looking forward to Saturday.Ē

ďItís about adversity. In my last fight, I tore my biceps in the third round. I broke the guyís orbital bone in three places. I would have stopped the fight in the 10th, but I got dropped in the ninth. So, for me, I just feel I needed that for my career. I needed that adversity.Ē

ďEvery fighter goes through that in their career, especially being this young. I know I was going to come out of that adversity because having a torn biceps in the third round and fighting seven rounds like thatóa lot of fighters would have quit because the pain is just ridiculous. But I took it as it came. We got the victory. I won the WBO NABO title, and we moved to Las Vegas, and now weíre here ready for Saturday.Ē

ďI donít like to predict nothing. Heís a tough veteran. He went in there with the best. And for me, Iím just looking forward to putting on a show. Iím ready to blow the roof off this place. Iím just ready to explode. Itíll be fireworks like always.Ē

Steve Rolls

ďI think he wants to step up and get closer to a world title shot. He wants a challenge. Thatís why they chose me. Iím sure he could have taken an easier route. But, credit to him for picking an opponent of my caliber.Ē

ďIím going to bring experience into this fight. I still got big goals that I have and that I need to accomplish. Thatís all that fight was [against Golovkin]. It wasnít a fight where I was getting blown out or that wasnít competitive. I made a mistake. He has experience. And I think thatís going to serve me well on Saturday night.Ē

ďI have goals. I want to put a world title around my waist, so we both have pressure on us. Heís not the only one with pressure. This is a fight that we both need. Training camp went well. Iím strong. A lot of people say this, but Iím really in the best shape in my life right now. So, thatís what drives me, man. When I set out to do this, I set out to put a world title around my waist. Thatís what keeps me moving forward.Ē

Xander Zayas


ďIím super excited. Itís my first fight of the year. Itís an eight-rounder against a great opponent. Thatís what we were looking for. Iím ready to put on a show Saturday night.Ē

ďItís a good fight. I wouldnít say itís the biggest challenge yet because the biggest challenge is yet to come. Itís another stepping stone. Iíve got to put on a show. Iíve got to make a statement and show the world that Iím here to stay.Ē

ďIt all starts with the team and the family. I have a great team and a great family. I know what Iím here to do. I know what my dreams are. I just have to stay focused, keep winning and keep moving forward. Thatís what keeps me really grounded.Ē

Quincy LaVallais


ďI feel like my experience will help me in this fight. I donít feel heís fully developed yet to be a 154-pounder. I feel like heís a good fighter, but Iím going to take him to a different level to show him that itís a different ballgame here.Ē

ďIt makes me feel good to know that I can go to somebodyís hometown, beat them, take a couple of their fans, and then go back home and do it again. Iím going to keep on doing it, over and over again.Ē

John Bauza

ďI want to thank God and Top Rank for putting me on ESPN. I didnít know that was going to happen. Iím very happy that Iím going to be part of that main card.Ē

ďFrom the beginning, Iíve dedicated myself to being the better boxer. Iíve always liked to implement a nice boxing style, to hit and not get it. But because they were criticizing me a lot, saying I didnít have any power or that I was boring, I decided to show people that I have power and that I can knock people out. We will see what happens in this fight. We will win, which is most important.Ē

ďIt fills me with pride to be next to two future stars, just like I will be as well, and to demonstrate that Puerto Rico is still alive in this sport.Ē

Tony Luis


ďIíve stayed in shape. Iíve stayed active. We had some trouble last year in getting some fights to materialize. The stuff with COVID kind of sabotaged them. It was out of my control. I stayed in the gym. I stayed active. Iíve been sparring. So, I feel good, and my body is now healthy, too.Ē

ďItís an honor to be fighting here. Weíve come close before in my career to being here, but things fell through. But now Iím finally here, and itís nice.Ē

ďI definitely rise up to the level of opponent in front of me. I know the odds are stacked against me. Politically, me winning does not fit the agenda. I know that. That just fuels me. Iíve trained to be at my best. Iím expecting him to be at his best also. Itís going to be a tough fight."



 

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