Super middleweight contender Edgar Berlanga(20-0, 16 KOs) wasn’t impressive Saturday night. Still, he got the job done as he defeated two-time world title challenger Alexis Angulo (27-3, 23 KOs) by unanimous decision (99-91 2x and 98-92) over 10 rounds in front of 4,357 fans at Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden.
The Puerto Rican native headlined his first card on the eve of the Puerto Rican Day Parade, a tradition made famous by 2022 International Hall of Fame inductee Miguel Cotto.
Berlanga, 25, grew in popularity because of his 16 first-round knockouts to start his career. However, he used his jab against Angulo. Berlanga overcame a bloody nose in this fight, but he really had no issues with Angulo.
Despite not getting the knockout, Berlanga was happy with how he boxed.
“Mentally, I felt good. I felt happy the whole training camp. I moved the training camp to Puerto Rico, and I can’t be more grateful to be on my island training,” Berlanga said. “I did a full camp for this fight, and you see the difference tonight.
In the seventh round, things got interesting as it appeared Berlanga attempted to bite Angulo on his shoulder.
Fortunately for Berlanga, it was not caught by the referee Ricky Gonzalez.
“He was throwing elbows,” Berlanga said after the fight. “I was about to do a Mike Tyson on him. He kept throwing his elbows, and I didn’t want to get cut.”
On Sunday, via Twitter, Berlanga apologized for his actions.
“I want to apologize for my actions, and what I said yesterday about the Mike Tyson bite, he said. “I was in the moment and got a little ahead of myself. It doesn’t take away from the embarrassment that I have caused upon myself, my team, top ranks, and many others.
“I reacted poorly and take full responsibility. Moving forward, I am going to be more mindful and encouraging in my behavior. Once again, I do apologize.”
This was not a good night for Berlanga, but again, he won, so now he has to continue to get better. Can he be a world champion? Not so sure, but he definitely has a fanbase, and if he keeps on winning, maybe he can headline a card on the eve of the Puerto Rican Day Parade next year at MSG.
Junior Lightweight: Henry Lebron (16-0, 10 KOs) UD 8 Luis Lebron (18-4-1, 11 KOs), Scores: 80-72, 79-73 and 78-74. In the all-Lebron Bowl, Henry Lebron made it 16 in a row with a masterclass in boxing off the back foot. Luis Lebron pushed the pace in the bout’s final stages, but Henry Lebron early work proved too much for him to overcome. Henry Lebron had the advantage in power shots landed, 88-62.
Junior Featherweight: Victor Santillan (12-0, 4 KOs) UD 8 Carlos Caraballo (15-2, 14 KOs), Scores: 78-74 2x and 77-75. In this all-southpaw affair, Santillan upset the Puerto Rican crowd favorite with a disciplined display of smart pressure. Santillan stunned Caraballo in the fourth and seventh rounds, doing enough in the eyes of the judges to pull away. Santillan had fought most of his career in the Dominican Republic, but in his second bout on American soil, he authored his signature win.
Junior Welterweight: Dakota Linger (13-5-3, 9 KOs) TKO 2 Josue Vargas (20-3, 9 KOs), 2:06. West Virginia native Linger refused to read the script, shocking Vargas with a brutal display of power punching. Early in the second Linger landed an overhand right that dropped Vargas, although the referee did not rule it a knockdown. Sensing the end was near, Linger pressed forward and floored Vargas with an uppercut. Vargas rose gingerly, and following a barrage featuring dozens of winging blows, the bout was stopped.