Charlo on win over Castano: ‘I’m a legend’

There’s one king at 154, and it’s Jermell Charlo. The Unified WBC, WBA and IBF World Champion Jermell Charlo picked up the WBO title with a dramatic tenth-round KO of Brian Castaño in a rematch of their 2021 masterpiece to become the first ever undisputed male 154-pound champion in the four-belt era on Saturday, May 14 live on SHOWTIME from Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson.

The bout, which was another Fight of the Year-type encounter, headlined a Premier Boxing Champions event before an announced crowd of 7,406.

Photo: Stephanie Trapp/SHOWTIME

The end came when Charlo (35-1-1, 18 KOs) dropped Castaño with a short, left hook as he was fighting off the ropes with around a minute left in the tenth. Castaño (17-1-2, 12 KOs) rose on unsteady legs and was allowed to continue and Charlo jumped on him, landing a vicious left to the head and body that caused Castaño to collapse and referee Jerry Cantu to wave off the bout at 2:33 of the tenth.

Saturday’s ending was reminiscent of the way Charlo closed his fight with Tony Harrison in their 2019 rematch when he KO’d Harrison in the 11th round after Harrison dethroned him in 2018.

Charlo, 31, is trained by Derrick James, who helped orchestrate Errol Spence Jr.’s 10th round stoppage of Yordenis Ugas to pick up a third welterweight title on April 16 from AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.

Charlo and Castaño went toe-to-toe for 12 grueling rounds the first time they fought on July 17, 2021 on SHOWTIME, with the back-and-forth tilt ending in a split-decision draw. Charlo didn’t leave it in the judges’ hands on Saturday.

“This is legacy,” Charlo said in the ring afterward. “This is something that is legendary. I’m a legend. I knew Castaño was going to give it his all. I knew I had trained very, very hard but you all can see that I came in at 152 pounds because I was really in shape, and I wanted to make sure that this was my fight.”

The rematch was previously announced to take place on March 19 but was rescheduled after Castaño suffered an arm injury in training. The delay angered Charlo, who accused Castaño of gamesmanship in the run-up.

But the two shook hands and praised the other’s tenacity on Saturday after sharing the ring for a combined 22 rounds.

“We showed that we are warriors,” Castaño said. “We both were fighting back-and-forth. He’s a champion. He hit me. He got me. But I’m okay.”

Castaño again caused the rematch to start later than scheduled when he arrived late to the arena on Saturday night, pushing back the start of the match. Instead of fighting angry and impatiently, Charlo produced a calm, clinically efficient and ultimately punishing performance.

“I don’t care about being late,” Charlo said. “I don’t care about who’s early. I knew once I got to this arena, and I’m fighting outside in this beautiful place, I had to get it on.”

Expecting Castaño to fight aggressively and apply pressure, Charlo boxed effectively off his back foot, utilizing a hard jab and a counter-left that repeatedly found its target, none more violently than the final moments of the match.

Just like the first match, Castaño again landed a number of overhand rights and was successful in spots with his constant pressure. The fight was again fought at a torrid pace with both fighters hurting the other. But just like in the first fight, when Charlo gathered strength as the fight went on and won the final three rounds on all the judges’ scorecards, Charlo again wrested control of the bout in the late stages on Saturday.

“I listened to my corner this time,” he said. “I got in my bag around the seventh round. I started sitting down a little bit more instead of boxing so much and moving around. I saw that he was wearing down a little bit and I was breaking him down. I just saw my punches being more effective. I get stronger in the later rounds if they didn’t know.”

Ramirez: ‘Everyone knows I want (Dmitry)Bivol’

Mexican light heavyweight star Gilberto “Zurdo” Ramirez (44-0, 30 KOs) of Mazatlan, MX, made Mexico proud today as he defeated former interim world champion Dominic Boesel (32-3, 12 KOs) of Freyburg, Germany via knock-out at the 1:33 marker of the fourth round of their scheduled 12-round light heavyweight fight. The fight, pit the #1 Boesel against the #2 Ramirez for the WBA Light Heavyweight Final Title Eliminator at Ontario’s Toyota Arena.  Ramirez put his power on display for the boxing world to see to claim the crown as the #1 light heavyweight for the WBA and the new mandatory for the world championship. 

“I feel great about my performance,” said Ramirez. “As I said, I would put on a spectacular show here in LA. I got the victory via knock-out. I was expecting his best; we were expecting heavy shots. I trained way too hard for this position, and no one will take it from me. I used my distance more, and I attacked the body more. I know my last fight was tough, but I was really prepared for this one. I ate more tacos for this fight. I feel this is my natural weight. Everyone knows I want Bivol. He needs to stop running and sign the contract. I’m coming for you and that belt. I deserve that fight. I think I can beat him since I’m bigger, stronger, and smarter.”

Photo: Tom Hogan/Golden Boy Promotions 

“I thought I would hit him more with my jab,” said Boesel. “I came confidently to this fight. He got me in the liver with the first punch. I couldn’t do much when I got hit with the body shot.”

In the co-main event of the night, rising lightweight star William “El Camaron” Zepeda (25-0, 23 KOs) successfully defended his WBA Continental Americas Lightweight Title for the second time against the resilient, former world champion, Rene “Gemelo” Alvarado (32-11, 21 KOs) of Managua, Nicaragua in a 10-round lightweight fight. Both fighters gave the crowd the show of the night, as they traded shots back and forth. Zepeda delivered power shots, while Alvarado took them and returned with intensity. Zepeda took the victory via unanimous decision with scores of (98-92), (97-93), and (96-94) all in his favor.

“It was a great fight with a great fighter,” said William Zepeda. “I have a lot to learn, and we need to work on some things. I want to thank Alvarado for the opportunity. He gave me some of his experience, which I am grateful for. We’re going to keep giving it our all. Now to enjoy this victory. Thank you to all my fans.”

Also, part of the live stream, John “Scrappy” Ramirez (10-0, 8KOs) of Los Angeles, CA, will fight for a regional title for the first time against new opponent Jan Salvatierra (8-2, 4 KOs) of Cabo San Lucas, MX, in a scheduled 8-round fight for the vacant NABA Super Flyweight title.  The battle ended early after Ramirez landed a power shot that propelled Salvatierra out of the ring. The referee waved off the fight at the 2:25 marker of the first round, crowning Ramirez the winner via knock-out.  

“I knew I was going to end the fight via knock-out,” said John Ramirez. “I am excited the fight ended dramatically, but there is more to come from me. I am going to keep working, keep rising until I can claim that world title.” 

Opening up the DAZN live stream, fan-favorite Katsuma “El Cuete Japonecito” Akitsugi (10-0, 1 KO) of Hollywood, CA, faced veteran Jose Gonzalez (23–1, 13 KOs) of Guadalajara, Mexico in a scheduled 10-round featherweight fight. Early in the third round, an accidental head-butt opened up a cut on Gonzalez’s left eye. After review from the doctor at :01 of the fourth round, it was determined that the fight could not go on and Akitsgui was given the victory by technical decision.

“I don’t even feel like I fought,” said Akitsugi. “I was trying to fight the full ten rounds. Unfortunately, the head butt was an accident. I wanted to continue, but it is what it is. I can’t wait to fight on more Golden Boy cards.”

 

 

Conwell on Charlo-Castano II: ‘I think Charlo will win, but I would not be surprised if Castano does it’

‘Bad News’ Charles Conwell is picking Jermell Charlo to emerge as the undisputed super welterweight champion after his rematch with Brian Castano.

Conwell, one of the most talented contenders in the 154lbs division, believes Charlo will have too much variety for Argentina’s Castano in Carson on Saturday night.

The fight – which sees the WBC, WBA, IBF and WBO belts on the line – is a rematch of their clash from July which ended in a split draw.

Photo: Stephanie Trapp/SHOWTIME

Former US Olympian Conwell, who returns to the ring on June 2, says as soon as the final bell sounded, he predicted the judges would be unable to reach a unanimous verdict.

But the unbeaten 24-year-old expects Charlo to be victorious this time, saying: “After the first fight, is it so difficult to choose a side but I feel like Charlo is more athletic, more able to come with a different style whereas Castano, I feel, has one style for size and his height.

“So, I feel like Charlo can be more unpredictable than Castano who is more predictable. You know how he’s coming out to fight.”

Conwell fights in Montreal next month against Abraham Juarez Ramirez on a co-promotion event between Probellum and GYM.

The American wants to use the fight as a springboard for an active second half of the year, which will end with him knocking on the door of a world title, potentially, with the winner of Saturday’s undisputed clash.

“The first fight was a really good fight and I thought it could have gone either way, either to Castano or Charlo, and so at the end of the 12 rounds I felt like it was going to be a draw.

“For the rematch, I want to say, Charlo. I’ve been going with Charlo, this whole time and I think Charlo will win, but I would not be surprised if Castano does it, given how close it was last time.”

 

Charlo on fight with Castaño: ‘I don’t want this fight to go the distance’

Unified WBC, WBA, and IBF 154-pound world champion Jermell Charlo talked his upcoming showdown at a media workout in Los Angeles Wednesday, before he enters the ring this Saturday, May 14 live on SHOWTIME from Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, Calif., headlining a Premier Boxing Champions event.

Charlo made clear his goal is to prevent the judges from deciding his fate when he faces WBO 154-pound world champion Brian Castaño in a rematch of one of 2021’s most significant fights, which ended in a hotly contested split draw They again will seek to become the first undisputed super welterweight male champion of the four-belt era.

The SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING telecast begins at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT and will also feature Philadelphia’s Ennis in an IBF Welterweight Title Eliminator against unbeaten Canadian Olympian Custio Clayton that serves as the co-main event. Ennis said he was looking forward to recording a knockout in front of a new Southern California fanbase, and he also predicted a win for Charlo in the rematch.

Here is what Charlo had to say Wednesday from Churchill Boxing Club in Santa Monica:

JERMELL CHARLO

Photos: Stephanie Trapp/SHOWTIME

“I don’t want this fight to go the distance. I don’t get paid for overtime.

“I’m excited and I’m ready to go. I’m ready to rock. I’m putting it all on the line and I’m ready to destroy. I’m going to give the fans an exciting and entertaining show and just have fun out there.

“Castaño is going to have to do something different this fight. If not, he knows he’s getting slept. Whatever he does or whatever move he makes, I’m going to be on him. My goal is to knock him out.

“I approach this fight like I approach any fight. I come in there like I’m 0-0. Let’s go in there and see who’s better. Let’s see who the real dog is.

“I don’t take much from the last rematch I had against Tony Harrison. That was a totally different opponent. I’m just preparing for Castaño. There’s no correlation with my last rematch. I’m just focused on who I’m facing.

“I’m just focused on my career and my craft. Being on the undisputed list means more to me than being on pound-for-pound lists. I want to be on the top tier and for people to see that I’m undisputed and say that he’s an animal. This is my moment.

“I’ve made some changes, but it’s still going to be the same Jermell Charlo. I’m ready to take advantage of what’s in front of me.

“I don’t know if this fight will be like the first one. It could be a quicker night. It should be. If not, it’s going to be entertaining for 12 rounds.

“I don’t worry about pound-for-pound lists and whether I’m on them. If I win these belts, they might have to. If I go in there and knock him out, or handle my business for 12 rounds, that’s it. They won’t be able to deny me.

“I haven’t fought at this venue since much earlier in my career. It’s a little bit chilly right now in Southern California, but I know that once I get warmed up, I’ll be able to adapt no matter what it’s like Saturday.”

Kovalev felt making 175 was too hard, says he was physically spent against Canelo

 Sergey “The Krusher” Kovalev (34-4, 29 KOs), living in Long Beach, CA, will fight Tervel Pulev in his cruiserweight debut on Saturday, May 14 at The Kia Forum in Inglewood, CA and will be streamed live on Triller and Fite.tv.

The Krusher says “My motivation to keep going?  First is money (laughing) and money is energy. Second is my son.  I want to become world champion once again so he can see that ‘don’t ever give up.’  Right now, it is all for my kids.  I tell them and show them to follow your dreams and your dreams will come true. If I ended my boxing career right now, I would feel uncomfortable for the rest of my life.

“Since I lost my title to Canelo, I am not on the top.  Since I changed to cruiserweight it has changed everything, most importantly I don’t have to worry about losing the weight. Actually, the last two years fighting at light heavyweight, and making 175, was miserable for me.”

2019 “was a crazy year” for Kovalev. In February, Sergey won back the title from Eleider Alvarez.  Then the WBO ordered a mandatory defense against Anthony Yarde that was first scheduled June in Russia.  He arrived in Russia one month before the fight and “was right on weight at 182.” The fight was soon cancelled the first week of June and rescheduled for August 24 “so I went back home to US and during those three weeks we celebrated my wife’s birthday and all the sudden I got back to 200 pounds,” which is his regular walk-around weight. Training camp for the new date began June 20 and on July 20 he returned to Russia. “The day after the Yarde win, I got the offer to fight Canelo, and two weeks later returned to training camp. Some fighters fight for their legacy, I fight to fight.  I have never turned down a fight.

“The night of the Canelo fight, we are at the door to begin the ring walk and a fella with a headset came to us and said, ‘we are not ready, we have to wait for the other fights (the UFC card) to finish.’ We waited for another hour. An hour!  I went to the corner after round seven and I said to Buddy ,”Buddy, I am spent, totally,” and he said “I see.”

“Now I feel fresh.  Making 175 was killing me.  I was at the point either quit or move up in weight. Now I can eat everything at any time.”

“This is a new step in my boxing career. I plan to fight a couple more years.  No more than three years.  I am not sure how many fights it will take to get a title. But if I win a title next year – then I will stop.  How long will it take to get a title shot?  It could be a two or three year wait, but we will see. I can fight into my 40’s no problem.  I just had two years off.  I am fresh.”

But on the other hand, after May 14, if Jake Paul wants to fight, I will be ready, and I will knock him out.”

Sergey is being trained by Buddy McGirt and his strength and conditioning coach is Teddy Cruz.  They are the duo that reinvented Arturo Gatti.

Mayweather: ‘I’m going to continue to break barriers on May 14’

With fight week now underway, legendary Hall of Fame boxer, Floyd “Money” Mayweather, known globally as TBE (The Best Ever), promises a special and unique boxing experience when he returns to the ring this Saturday, May 14 headlining “The Global Titans Fight Series” in an exhibition against unbeaten “Dangerous” Don Moore that serves as the main event of a pay-per-view lineup taking place “in the skies of Dubai” outdoors on the helipad of Dubai’s opulent Burj Al Arab Hotel.

The pay-per-view event, which is presented by FrontRow and Global Titans in association with Mayweather Promotions, will begin at 9:30 p.m. GST (1:30 p.m. ET) and be broadcast live by LIVENow, is available for purchase HERE.

“I promise you’ve never seen a boxing event like this,” said Mayweather, who recently traveled to Nigeria to promote the fight, before landing in Dubai ahead of Saturday’s action. “I’m going to continue to break barriers on May 14. This is a once-in-a-lifetime event and I’m a once-in-a-lifetime fighter. There’s no one else in the sport who could headline an event this over the top. I’m going to give the fans what they paid for.”

While in Nigeria, Mayweather expressed his goal of setting up a boxing academy in the country and met with Rotimi Amaechi, a presidential hopeful there. Upon arriving in Dubai, Mayweather was spotted at The Kamani Club for final workouts ahead of fight night as he met with fighters including two-division world champion Badou Jack, who fights on Saturday’s undercard, and cruiserweight champion Lawrence Okolie.

Prior to leaving the U.S., Mayweather had returned to his hallowed stomping grounds from throughout much of his record-breaking career, The Mayweather Boxing Club in Las Vegas. Still attracting a strong crowd during his legendary workout sessions, the latest addition to Mayweather’s training entourage was his two-year-old grandson, K.J., who brought Mayweather new joy amongst another camp.

“It was business as usual,” said Mayweather. “It always feels good to be in the ring and around familiar faces in the boxing gym. I’ve spent so much of my life in the gym, so I always feel comfortable getting back into it. Training for any fight, and even this exhibition, is something I am always going to do. No one ever saw me take a day off during my career. Why would I start now?”

A five-division world champion who racked up 12 world titles on his way to an iconic 50-0 record, Mayweather has continued to deliver entertainment for fight fans even in retirement. In addition to his work as the President of Mayweather Promotions, Mayweather has taken part in blockbuster exhibition matchups, traveling to Japan to fight kickboxer Tenshin Nasukawa in 2018, before a 2021 showdown that broke the internet against social media star Logan Paul in Miami.

“I love displaying my talents for the whole world and doing something new that interests me,” said Mayweather. “Boxing is entertainment, and that’s what I’m all about. I worked hard to accomplish more than anyone during my career, and now I’m going to enjoy the fruits of my labor, while still giving fans something exciting to watch.”

Considered the UAE’s most iconic hotel and a global icon of Arabian luxury, the Burj Al Arab Hotel will make a perfect host for a fighter known for his luxurious lifestyle and larger than life events. A preview of the one-of-a-kind ring set up can be viewed HERE, as Mayweather will headline the first boxing card at the internationally renowned venue.

“They always say the sky is the limit, well I feel like I’m pushing the limit in the entertainment world once again, going up and literally fighting in the sky,” said Mayweather. “These are the kind of opportunities that I’m always going to jump at.”

This Saturday night, Mayweather faces an opponent in Don Moore who he’s sparred with numerous times throughout his career. In addition, Moore was trained by the late great Roger Mayweather, Floyd’s uncle, and stated during the announcement press conference for this fight that he believes this familiarity with Floyd will give him an edge when they square off.

“I’ve known Don for a long time and I know that he’s a very smart fighter who I can’t take lightly,” said Mayweather. “I believe that he’s coming to prove something in this fight. On top of this fight being at a one-of-a-kind venue, you’re going to see a guy coming in to take his shot at The Best Ever.”

 

Morrell on Benavidez: ‘I know I’ll give him a beatdown’

Undefeated WBA super middleweight champion, David Morrell Jr. (6-0, 5 KOs), is ready to let the world know he wants the best fights possible, and as soon as possible. Morrell Jr., from his training camp in Houston, TX, with coach Ronnie Shields, says a fight with David Benavidez is what he seeks most.

“I look at someone like David Benavidez who claims to be avoided, but you never here him mention my name,” said Morrell Jr., who has knocked out five of his six opponents in the pro ranks. “He speaks as though he’s the boogeyman of the division, well fight me and let’s find out. He’s chasing a fight with Canelo, but I know I’ll give him a beatdown that he’ll never forget.”

Photos from Sean Michael Ham/Premier Boxing Champions

After a monumental amateur career where he compiled an astonishing record of 130 wins with only 2 losses, Morrell Jr., an international star from Cuba, has looked indestructible in his first six fights as a professional. He’s been on the fast track to a world title and captured the WBA super middleweight world title in only his fifth fight as a pro.

“I’ve seen every style you can possibly think of in the amateurs, so I know how to beat a guy like Benavidez, who likes to come forward and bang,” continued Morrell. “David Benavidez is a great puncher with a lot of heart, and he’s a warrior, I’ll give him that, but he doesn’t have the skills that I possess. I’ll fight David Benavidez anytime, anywhere, but will he fight me, that is the question the fans want to know, myself included. Now the world knows who I want most, let’s see who the real boogeyman is…come to papa David, Boo!”

Persoon: ‘I’m very excited to compete on an undercard for Floyd Mayweather’

A women’s 10-round championship fight has been added to the inaugural edition of “The Global Titans Fight Series,” headlined by the ring return of Floyd “Money” Mayweather facing “Dangerous” Don Moore “in the skies of Dubai” on Saturday, May 14, as former unified champion Delfine Persoon of Belgium will take on France’s undefeated Elhem “The Diamond” Mekhaled for the vacant Female WBC Silver Super Featherweight Championship.

Persoon (46-3, 19 KOs) and Mekhaled (14-0, 2 KOs) will meet in one of the supporting bouts when Mayweather (50-0, 27 KOs) returns to face Moore (18-0-1, 12 KOs) in an eight-round, main-event exhibition matchup, outdoors on the helipad of Dubai’s opulent Burj Al Arab Hotel.

Presented by FrontRow in association with Mayweather Promotions, the event will also feature world-famous combatants such as UFC legend Anderson Silva facing fellow Brazilian fighting star Bruno Machado in an exhibition bout, as well as a sanctioned bout between former two-division world champion Badou Jack (25-3-3, 15 KOs) and Hany “Egyptian Hurricane” Atiyo (16-4, 12 KOs) from Dubai via Egypt.

Perhaps best known for her two-fight series against top pound-for-pound fighter Katie Taylor, Persoon, of Roeselare, West-Vlaanderen, Belgium, held the Women’s WBC Lightweight Championship for five years and made nine successful defenses before losing a nationally televised controversial decision to Taylor for the undisputed lightweight championship at Madison Square Garden in 2019. The rematch with Taylor was held in 2020 and Persoon again lost a razor-thin decision.

Persoon, who works as a railway policewoman in her homeland, started professional boxing in 2009 after competing in judo. Ranked among the best female fighters on the planet, Persoon also held the IBF female lightweight title in 2012.

“It’s great to be back in the ring and I’m very excited to compete on an undercard for Floyd Mayweather,” said Persoon. “My opponent has a good record and I respect her taking this challenge, but I’m going to show her I’m at a different level. Just like I did against Katie Taylor, I’m going to bring the action from start to finish and do everything I can to have my hand raised.”

The undefeated Mekhaled hails from Vaulx-en-Velin, Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes, France. In her five-year career, she has held the WBC interim female super-featherweight title, which she captured in March 2019 by defeating Spain’s Danila Ramos via 10-round unanimous decision, as well as the French and European Championships.

The fight against Persoon will be Mekhaled’s second outside her native France. The 31-year-old was last seen scoring a first-round knockout over Bosnia And Herzegovina’s Pasa Malagic to successfully defend her EBU (European) belt in September 2021.

“I’m on the path to a world title and this victory is going to catapult me toward my goal,” said Mekhaled. “It’s an honor to be fighting on a big card like this with Floyd Mayweather, and I’m planning to show everyone watching that I’m ready to become world champion.”

The pay-per-view event, which will begin at 9:30 p.m. GST (1:30 p.m. ET) and be broadcast live by LIVENow.

Berlanga-Angulo, Zayas-Hudaynazarov set for June 11 in NYC

KISSIMMEE, FLORIDA – APRIL 24: Edgar Berlanga celebrates as he defeats Demond Nicholson at the Silver Spurs Arena on April 24, 2021 in Kissimmee, Florida. (Photo by Mikey Williams/Top Rank Inc via Getty Images)

On the eve of the Puerto Rican Day Parade in New York City, the island nation’s brightest stars are coming to throw down. Edgar “The Chosen One” Berlanga, the flashy super middleweight knockout artist, will defend his NABO belt in the 10-round main event against two-time world title challenger Alexis Angulo.

In the eight-round junior middleweight co-feature, Xander Zayas, the fistic prodigy from San Juan, steps up in class against Uzbekistan-born veteran Ravshan Hudaynazarov.

Berlanga-Angulo and Zayas-Hudaynazarov will be broadcast LIVE on ESPN, ESPN Deportes & ESPN+ at 10:30 p.m. ET/7:30 p.m. PT.

“Boxing events at Madison Square Garden on the eve of the Puerto Rican Day Parade are always special, and we have sensational young talents in Edgar Berlanga and Xander Zayas topping the bill,” said Top Rank chairman Bob Arum. “They are each stepping up in class, and I expect them to perform in a big way in front of a raucous, sold-out arena.”

Berlanga (19-0, 16 KOs), at 24 years old, is already one of the biggest ticket-sellers in New York City. In March, a sold-out crowd of 5,158 packed the Hulu Theater for his step-up fight against Steve Rolls, which he won by unanimous decision. Berlanga burst onto the scene with 16 consecutive first-round knockouts to start his career, a ferocious run that captured the imagination of fight fans. The streak ended in April 2021, although Berlanga sent Demond Nicholson to the canvas four times in eight rounds. He survived a gut check that October, overcoming a torn biceps and a trip to the canvas to defeat Marcelo Esteban Coceres. Berlanga is currently the WBO No. 7-ranked super middleweight contender and can edge closer to a world title shot with a victory over Angulo.

“I’m so pumped to be headlining my second main event at the Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden,” Berlanga said. “Get ready for another sold-out crowd! This one will be special because this will be my first main event during the festivities of the Puerto Rican Day Parade weekend, just like my idols Felix ‘Tito’ Trinidad and Miguel Cotto did. I’m following in the footsteps of greatness, but also continuing the legacy of bringing my people together on a beautiful weekend.

“For this fight, we decided to do the training camp on my Island, and it has been a great decision. It has been a great training camp in Puerto Rico. At the beginning of training camp, I met with ‘Tito’ Trinidad, and he gave me some very encouraging and motivating advice. He is my hero! I’ve been working very hard and I can’t wait to fight on June 11 to show what I’m made off. I will raise the Puerto Rican flag up high and represent for all my Boricuas around the world.”

Angulo (27-2, 23 KOs), from Patia, Colombia, received his first crack at the brass ring when he challenged Gilberto “Zurdo” Ramirez for the WBO super middleweight title in June 2018. He lost a unanimous decision to Ramirez, bouncing back with a major upset over then-unbeaten prospect Anthony Sims Jr. in January 2020. Less than seven months after the Sims triumph, he fought David Benavidez for the IBF super middleweight crown, falling via 10th-round TKO. In his lone outing of 2021, Angulo knocked out Carlos Galvan in five rounds. He hopes to upset the apple cart once against Berlanga.

Angulo said, “I look forward to getting back in action at the legendary Madison Square Garden and putting on a great show for all boxing fans, the Colombian fans, Puerto Rican fans, and the Latino community that will show out and support. I have proven to be a skilled, experienced, gritty, and valiant fighter. I intend to bring the same into the ring on June 11 against Edgar Berlanga.”

Zayas (13-0, 9 KOs) has been on the fast track since signing with Top Rank at 16 years old. From first-round knockouts in his first two pro fights in 2019, to a spotless 6-0 run in 2021, Zayas has lived up to the billing. This will be his third consecutive fight under the Madison Square Garden lights, less than three months removed from a one-sided eight-round decision over Quincy “Chico” LaVallais. Hudaynazarov (19-5, 14 KOs) has only been stopped twice in a 14-year professional career and has won two of his last three bouts.

Zayas said, “For me, fighting at Madison Square Garden is always a great opportunity. It fills me with emotion because the fans always bring very positive and motivating energy. This coming June 11, I know it will not be the exception, as this will be my first fight on the weekend of the Puerto Rican Day Parade. I assure you that this will be the first of many. I want to continue bringing glory to Puerto Rico and Madison Square Garden, and I will continue to work hard to write my name in the history books as Cotto and Trinidad did.”

The undercard — streaming live and exclusively on ESPN+ — features the following Puerto Rican standouts in separate bouts:

Henry Lebron (15-0, 10 KOs), 8 rounds, junior lightweight — Lebron, from Aguadilla, stood out on the Berlanga-Rolls card with a seventh-round TKO over the usually durable Josec Ruiz. Before turning pro, he won Puerto Rican amateur national titles in 2015 and 2016.

Carlos Caraballo (15-1, 14 KOs), 8 rounds, junior featherweight — Co-promoted by Miguel Cotto, the native of Guayanilla survived a gut check versus Luis Fernando Saavedra on March 26, edging a majority decision. Caraballo won his first 14 pro bouts by stoppage before a close unanimous decision loss to Jonas Sultan last October temporarily blunted his momentum.

Josue Vargas (20-2, 9 KOs), 8 rounds junior welterweight — Born in Isabela and raised in the Bronx, Vargas returns to the Hulu Theater, site of his first-round knockout loss to Jose Zepeda last October. Vargas regrouped to edge Argentina’s Nicolas Pablo Demario by unanimous decision in March.

Armani Almestica (5-0, 5 KOs), 6 rounds, lightweight — Born to Puerto Rican parents and raised in Orlando, Florida, Almestica broke through on the Berlanga-Rolls card with a third-round stoppage over Luis Valentin Portalatin. The all-action Almestica had a 117-7 amateur record and was on the Puerto Rican national team. He elected to turn pro after the Tokyo Olympics was postponed.

Orlando Gonzalez (17-1, 10 KOs), 8 rounds, featherweight — It is an evening of redemption for Gonzalez, who is coming off a 10-round decision loss to Robeisy Ramirez on the Tyson Fury-Deontay Wilder III undercard. The Aguadilla native spent much of his early career fighting in Puerto Rico and will make his Madison Square Garden debut June 11.

Omar Rosario (6-0, 2 KOs), 6 rounds, junior welterweight —A six-time Puerto Rican amateur national champion from Caguas, the 24-year-old fights for the first time since January’s decision win over Raekwon Butler.

Frevian Gonzalez (4-1, 1 KO), 6 rounds, junior lightweight — A stablemate of Puerto Rican two-weight world champion Jose Pedraza, the Cidra native looks to bounce back from last June’s decision defeat to Bryan Lua.

Christina Cruz (2-0), 4 rounds, flyweight – Cruz, an eight-time U.S. national amateur champion, turned pro last summer. Born to Puerto Rican parents, Cruz was raised in the Hell’s Kitchen neighborhood of Manhattan.

Ennis willing to fight Spence, Crawford at 147 or 154

Undefeated rising welterweight star Jaron “Boots” Ennis reiterated his intention to “take over” the star-studded 147-pound division ahead of his IBF Welterweight Title Eliminator showdown against fellow unbeaten Custio Clayton in the co-main event of action this Saturday, May 14 live on SHOWTIME from Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, California and presented by Premier Boxing Champions.

“I’m looking to make a big statement come May 14,” said Ennis. “I’m coming to win in dominating fashion and get the knockout. I’m ready to take over this division.”

Trained in his native Philadelphia by his father “Bozy” Ennis, the 24-year-old Ennis has continued to push his already renowned training habits ahead of his upcoming fight and has added elite sparring against a collection of noteworthy fighters including unbeaten U.S. Olympian Charles Conwell and rising contender Paul Kroll.

“I’m feeling great,” said Ennis. “Camp has been going very well and I can’t wait to shine on May 14. I’m ready to rock and roll. We’ve been running a lot more sprints this camp and focusing a little more on conditioning each day, about a half an hour more every session. A lot of it are the normal things we do, like the underwater treadmill and chopping wood, we’re just working ten times harder.”

After a 2021 campaign that saw him knock out former champion Sergey Lipinets in a headlining bout on SHOWTIME in April, before stopping the normally durable Thomas Dulorme in one round in October, Ennis believes that he can shine even brighter and show an even greater range of abilities as the strength of his opposition increases.

“I feel like I’m getting better at taking my time and being more relaxed in the ring,” said Ennis. “I believe that the better the competition I face, the better I’m going to be. We’ve been working on jabbing more and being even more alert and sharper.”

In Clayton, Ennis will be up against an undefeated fighter with considerable pedigree, having competed for his native Canada at the 2012 Olympic games. While Ennis chooses not to focus on studying his opponent, he knows that he’ll have to be ready for a multitude of scenarios  to achieve his desired result  on fight night.

“I don’t watch tape on people that I fight,” said Ennis. “I let my team focus on that. We’re prepared all the way around. I don’t prepare just one way, because you don’t know how a fighter is going to fight you. So we just prepare for everything.

“This fight is everything to me. This is a big stage and it’s time for me to shine. From here on out, it’s only getting bigger and better. After I do my thing on May 14, we’re just going to keep going up and up. I’m looking to show everyone everything that I’m capable of. My speed, power, defense, ring IQ and footwork. At the end of the night, I’m coming for the knockout. That’s what the fans are coming to see. I’m going to show them what I can do and close the show with a knockout.”

As he continues his ascent up the welterweight rankings, Ennis has his sights set squarely on the division’s two stalwarts, unified WBC, WBA and IBF champion Errol Spence Jr. and WBO champion Terence Crawford. Even if a potential Spence-Crawford undisputed title fight comes to fruition first and eventually leads to Ennis fighting for vacant 147-pound titles, he believes those big fights will eventually become a reality.

“It doesn’t matter to me if Spence and Crawford decide to stay in the division and face me,” said Ennis. “I’d love to take the belts away from the champion, but if I have to fight for a vacant belt, I’ll see Spence and Crawford at 154 pounds. They can’t go too far.