Edgar Berlanga apologizes for biting Angulo

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.

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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.

Taylor on fight with Serrano: ‘It’s being billed as the biggest fight in female boxing history’

Katie Taylor and Amanda Serrano are set to make history in an epic battle for Taylor’s undisputed Lightweight title at Madison Square Garden in New York on Saturday, April 30 live worldwide on DAZN – and Taylor is thrilled to be part of shining the brightest ever light on women’s boxing.

Taylor and Serrano will become the first female fighters to headline ‘The World’s Most Famous Arena’ in its 140-year history in the process. Irish favorite Taylor (20-0 6 KOs) puts her 135lbs hardware on the line for the sixth time in the Big Apple and does so against seven-weight champion Serrano (42-1-1 30 KOs), the Puerto Rican ace and Brooklyn native.

Both fighters can proudly state that they have played huge roles in the recent rise in popularity for women’s boxing, and when they step through the ropes at the famous arena in ten days’ time, they smash through yet another glass ceiling and showcase women’s boxing on the grandest of stages.

“This is just a special occasion for me, to headline a huge fight like this at Madison Square Garden,” said Taylor. “It’s being billed as the biggest fight in female boxing history. This is just incredible and a real privilege for me.

“I love being involved in these kinds of fights. These are the challenges that I’ve always wanted. I don’t think I’ve ever backed down from any challenge. I’ve wanted to face the very best.

“Amanda Serrano is a fantastic fighter, she’s a great champion and she’s not here for no reason. She deserves this opportunity as well. She’s been pioneering her own way and that’s why this fight is the best in female boxing history.  We have champion versus champion. The best versus the best and this is why this fight is so special.

“This fight is at Madison Square Garden, the most iconic venue in boxing. The Mecca of boxing, really. You think of Madison Square Garden, and you think the likes of Muhammad Ali, Joe Frazier these kinds of fights.

“It’s definitely a 50-50 fight. I think that a lot of people will have me, and a lot of people will have her before the fight. I love being involved in these kinds of fights.

“This fight is genuinely the biggest fight in boxing as a whole right now!

“It’s years and years later we’re still talking Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier kind of fights. I think years and years later from this fight people are still going to be talking about Katie Taylor versus Amanda Serrano.

“I feel very privileged to be in this position and to be an inspiration to the next generation and to have those young girls look up to me. It’s a huge responsibility as well and I want to set a great example for these young girls coming up. I want to give them hope and I want them to know thy dreams they have in their hearts can be possible.”

“Growing up I had to pretend I was a boy to get fights. I had the headgear on, and my hair tucked into the headgear. They just had my name down as K. Taylor and obviously when the headgear came off there was an uproar because all the judges and officials saw I was a girl.

“I don’t grave the attention or crave the media attention. I don’t want to be famous; I just want to be the best boxer in the world.

“I’m also very grateful for the women that went before me – the likes of Christy Martin and Deirdre Gogarty, Lucia Rijker, Laila Ali who were pioneers in their sport. I don’t think that I’d be in the position I’m in today if it wasn’t for all those girls who went before me. I’m obviously very grateful for those who went before me.”

Taylor-Serrano will have a star-studded supporting cast when Jessie Vargas and Liam Smith meet in a must-win battle at Super-Welterweight and there is more undisputed action on the card as Franchon Crews-Dezurn and Elin Cederroos decide who is the top dog at 168lbs.

Olympic Gold medal star Galal Yafai makes his American debut and defends his WBC International Flyweight Title against Miguel Cartagena in his second pro fight, Austin ‘Ammo’ Williams is in a tough test with fellow unbeaten Middleweight Chordale Booker, Reshat Mati is always popular in his home city and the ‘Albanian Bear’ meets Joe Eli Hernandez over eight rounds, Australia’s Skye Nicolson fights for the second time as a pro against Shanecqua Paisley Davis over six rounds and Light-Heavyweight talent Khalil Coe makes the short trip from Jersey City to face William Langston over six.

Berlanga goes for his 14th straight first-round knockout on 3/14 at MSG

Edgar “The Chosen One” Berlanga (13-0, 13 KOs), the Puerto Rican puncher who calls Brooklyn home and has 13 first-round knockouts to begin his pro career, will return in an eight-round super middleweight bout Saturday, March 14 at Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden.

Berlanga’s opponent will be announced next week.

Berlanga’s bout will be part of the ESPN+ undercard stream (7 p.m. ET) before the ESPN-televised doubleheader (10:30 p.m. ET) that includes Shakur Stevenson’s WBO featherweight world title defense against Miguel Marriaga and the featherweight showdown between former world champion Jessie Magdaleno and Sakaria Lukas. The full undercard will be available in English and Spanish.

“Hopefully, I can get in some rounds on March 14,” Berlanga said. “I want to show everyone I’m more than a one-round fighter. This is my time to shine.”

Berlanga, a four-year pro, is one of the sport’s hottest prospects, a 22-year-old with an eraser in both hands. He went 4-0 in 2019 after signing a long-term promotional deal with Top Rank. He turned heads last December at Madison Square Garden on the Terence Crawford-Egidijus Kavaliauskas undercard, as he stopped Cesar Nunez (16-1-1 at the time) at 2:45 of the opening round. That marked the longest appearance of his career.

The ESPN+ stream is also scheduled to include the following bouts:

  • John “El Terrible” Bauza (13-0, 5 KOs), the Puerto Rican-born super lightweight prospect from North Bergen, N.J., will take on Brooklyn’s upset-minded Romain Tomas (8-3, 1 KO) in an eight-rounder.

  • Brooklyn’s Frederic Julian (12-0, 10 KOs) will look for his 10th consecutive knockout in a six-round light heavyweight fight against Victor Darocha (9-5-1, 6 KOs).

  • Mathew “Lefty Gunz” Gonzalez (10-0, 6 KOs), from the Ridgewood section of Queens, will fight West Virginia native Dakota Linger (12-3-2, 8 KOs) in a six-round welterweight tilt.

  • New York City native Pablo Valdez (3-0, 3 KOs) will face Jordan Morales (3-7, 2 KOs) in a four-rounder at welterweight. Valdez, 36, turned pro in July 2018 following an eight-year prison sentence.Photo: Mikey Williams/Top Rank Boxing

GGG on Derevyanchenko: ‘I’m scared because he looks good; he looks strong’

Gennadiy ‘GGG’ Golovkin believes his clash with Sergiy Derevyanchenko will be a classic when they meet for the vacant IBF World Middleweight title on Saturday October 5 at Madison Square Garden in New York, live on DAZN.

Golovkin (39-1-1 35 KOs) and Derevyanchenko (13-1 10 KOs) met at a press conference at the mecca of boxing yesterday and both men stated their excitement for what promises to be a thrill a minute battle for the belt that Golovkin used to hold, and that Derevyanchenko has challenged for.

Former unified king Golovkin is gunning to regain the crown he held for three years as the Kazakh star targets returning to World champion status and meetings with the other champions at 160lbs.

Derevyanchenko has plans to derail that journey though and came close to landing the IBF strap himself in October at the Hulu Theater at MSG, being edged out on a split decision against Golovkin’s old foe Daniel Jacobs.

“I’m so excited,” said Golovkin. “First of all, I’m happy to be back home, my second home. Thank you to my family at MSG for always supporting me. Of course, I’m very excited right now. Right now, I work with the best people from boxing.

“I have the best opponent, Sergiy. I’ve know him for a long time and he’s a very good fighter. This is a real fight. I’m a little bit scared because he’s good. I know his team is very strong, and I’m scared because he looks good; he looks strong. He feels it’s his time right now. Maybe – this is boxing, nobody knows. So if you want to watch a real show, a real fight, come to MSG on October 5 or watch live on DAZN.”

“I’m really excited and happy to be at Madison Square Garden,” said Derevyanchenko. “Thank you to my team, and I want to give thanks to Gennadiy Golovkin for the opportunity as well. I know exactly who I’m getting in the ring with. He’s the former Middleweight champion of the world, one of the best fighters in the world, but his time is coming to an end and I want to be the one that makes that time come to an end.”

Photo/courtesy: Amanda Westcott/DAZN

GGG: ‘We will bring back ‘Big Drama Show’ to the ring of The Garden;

Gennadiy Golovkin and Sergiy Derevyanchenko will clash for the vacant IBF World Middleweight title on Saturday October 5 at Madison Square Garden in New York, live on DAZN, in a fight brought to you by GGG Promotions and Matchroom Boxing USA in association with DiBella Entertainment.

Former unified Middleweight king Golovkin (39-1-1 35 KOs) is aiming to regain the IBF crown he held for three years before being stripped of the title following the first of his two epic battles with Mexican rival Canelo Alvarez.

GGG boxes at the Manhattan mecca of boxing for the seventh time in his career as he looks to return to the summit of the 160lbs division, and ominously for Derevyanchenko, the Kazakh star has finished all six of his opponents at MSG inside the distance, with Canadian top-ten contender Steve Rolls succumbing to Golovkin in four rounds on his DAZN debut in June.

Derevyanchenko (13-1 10 KOs) challenges for the IBF belt for the second time in his career having pushed Daniel Jacobs to the limit for the vacant belt at the Hulu Theater at MSG in October, being edged out via split decision in a back and forth scrap where many gave the Brooklyn-based Ukrainian the victory. The 33 year old got back to winning ways and moved into #1 position in the IBF with a points win over Jack Culcay in Minnesota in April, and now faces fellow Olympian Golovkin in a mouth-watering battle in the Big Apple.

“Everyone knows that I consider Madison Square Garden as my home away from home and there is nothing better than fighting there again. It is old school,” said Golovkin. “On October 5, it’s going to be a good fight. Every time I enter the ring I try to give my fans the fight they want to see, the show they deserve. This will be such a fight. We will bring back Big Drama Show to the ring of The Garden and to DAZN. Don’t miss it. You will see everything you love in the sport of boxing. See you in New York.”

“I’m very excited that my team has secured another opportunity for me to fight for the Middleweight championship of the world,” said Derevyanchenko. “I have a great deal of respect for ‘GGG’ and looking forward to proving in the ring that I will be up to challenge and fulfil my lifelong dream of becoming a World champion.

“Those in attendance at Madison Square Garden and watching on DAZN will see an outstanding battle on Saturday October 5 — I can’t wait to enter the ring.”

“They call it the Big Drama Show and that’s exactly what the fans will enjoy at MSG on October 5, live on DAZN,” said promoter Eddie Hearn. “Gennadiy has a chance to regain his World Middleweight crown and Sergiy will bring the fire – the styles should gel brilliantly for a brutal battle. We look forward to a fantastic event with a stacked card at the iconic Mecca of boxing.”

“I’m very proud to provide Sergiy Derevyanchenko another opportunity to become the Middleweight champion of the world,” said Lou DiBella, President of DiBella Entertainment. “Sergiy came very close to fulfilling his dream last year and I truly believe that his time is now against GGG, one of the best Middleweights of this era. Saturday, October 5, will be a very special night for boxing at Madison Square Garden and live on DAZN, when GGG will be tested to his limits by a true threat in the Middleweight division.”

“We’re happy to have Gennadiy back in the ring looking to reclaim a piece of the middleweight championship,” said Joseph Markowski, DAZN EVP, North America. “October 5 is just the beginning of fight season on DAZN, which promises to be the best year-end schedule in the sport.”

Gennady Golovkin stops Steve Rolls in 4

The “Big Drama Show” is back, and it was on full display on Saturday night at Madison Square Garden. Former middleweight champion Gennady Golovkin(39-1, 35 KOs) stopped previously unbeaten Steve Rolls(19-1, 10 KOs) in the fourth round.

With the victory, Golovkin, 37, puts himself in position to possibly get a third fight with unified middleweight champion Canelo Alvarez.

Before the stoppage in round four, Rolls had a lot of success against Golovkin in round two, which included snapping Golovkin’s head back. While Golovkin was not noticeably hurt, it did wake him up, and in the fourth round, he went to work. Golovkin initially hurt Rolls with a right hand on top of the head and would drop him with a left hook. Rolls tried to get to his feet, but he was unable to do so before referee Steve Willis counted to ten.

What’s next for GGG? He and his team made it very clear that they want Canelo, who gave Golovkin his first and only loss last September.

“I’m ready for September. I’m ready for Canelo,” Golovkin said after the fight. “Just bring him, just ask him. I’m ready. If you want big drama show, please tell him.”

Alvarez needs a dance partner for September, and in terms of what would be the biggest fight for Canelo, it has to be Golovkin. The fight makes sense for all parties involved, including DAZN, but who knows what will happen next.

 

Twitter reacts to Andy Ruiz’s stunning victory over Anthony Joshua

In a total shocker, Andy Ruiz(33-1, 22 KOs) Jr. stops Anthony Joshua(33-1, 21 KOs) in round 7 to capture Joshua’s three belts at Madison Square Garden in New York City on Saturday night.

It was Joshua’s first time fighting on American soil, and the first time he suffered a loss as a pro. With the victory, Ruiz becomes the first Mexican-American heavyweight champion in the history of boxing.

After the fight, Twitter reacted.

Here is a sampling:

Photo: Mark Robinson/Matchroom Boxing UK

 

Joshua: ‘Fighting Andy(Ruiz) for me is just as dangerous as fighting Wilder or Fury’

Unified heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua(22-0. 21 KOs) will make his much anticipated American debut on Saturday night at Madison Square Garden against Andy Ruiz(.32-1, 21 KOs).

Obviously, Joshua wants to impress because it’s his first time fighting on American soil. Also, after what we saw Deontay Wilder do to Dominic Breazeale(first-round KO) two weeks ago, Joshua might feel the pressure to look spectacular on June 1. However, Ruiz is no slouch. In his only loss, many believed he beat Joseph Parker in their matchup from 2016, and according to Joshua, Ruiz is someone he knows he has to take seriously.

“Fighting Andy for me is just as dangerous as fighting Wilder or (Tyson)Fury because they both possess their own skills, so I have to take Andy deadly serious,” Joshua said at a press conference today. “I don’t overlook him at all, I respect him and respect his team, and I really respect he put his name on the dotted line to take this challenge. No challenge is easy, no matter what the bookers are telling you or the odd makers. Andy is going to come in here and give me a real good fight and cause problems, and it’s down to me as a champion to think smart, box clever, outbox, out strength, and outmuscle Andy Ruiz to get that win.

“No fight like after the fight when your hands are raised, your opponent has been defeated and thinking about being on a beach, or being with your family, and focus on the next challenge ahead. Right now I’m only champion till June 1 when I have to defend my titles. I’m currently the heavyweight champion of the world, but June 1 I put them in the air, and they’re up for grabs. Let the best man win.”

Comparing Ruiz to Fury and Wilder is a little bit of a stretch, but Joshua has to sell the fight, so I get it. In boxing, you have to take all of your opponents seriously because anything can happen. But, if Joshua is who we think he is, he should walk out of that ring on Saturday night still undefeated and still a champion.

Photo: Ed Muholland

Taylor on Pierson fight: ‘This fight is going to be the toughest of my career’

Katie Taylor says her undisputed Lightweight World title clash with Delfine Persoon at Madison Square Garden in New York on Saturday June 1, shown live on DAZN in the US and Sky Sports Box Office in the UK, will be the “toughest fight” of her career.

Taylor added the WBO title to her IBF and WBA crowns in March, halting Brazil’s Rose Volante in the ninth round in Philadelphia, and now the Irish sensation has the opportunity to fulfill her goal of becoming undisputed ruler when she meets long-reigning WBC champion Persoon in a landmark moment for women’s boxing.

Persoon has held the WBC strap since 2014, making nine defenses during that time, and will look to cement herself as the number one female 135-pound fighter on the planet when she fights in America for the first time next week. Taylor has prepared for ten hard rounds with her Belgian opponent who holds an impressive career record of 43 wins and just one loss.

“It’s great to have the opportunity to have the chance to become the undisputed champion,” said Taylor. “Every day in camp has been 100% focused on the task at hand so I won’t sit back and think about it until I’ve actually achieved it as that’s what I am like.

“The chance to fight for the four World titles and the Ring Magazine belt at the Mecca of boxing, MSG, I don’t think you could write a better script, it’s an absolute dream. Persoon is recognized as one of the best in the world pound-for-pound and has been the WBC champ now for over five years so it’s the best against the best. This is huge for women’s boxing.

“This fight is going to be the toughest of my career so far, Delfine is a fantastic champion, she’s got 43 wins and just one loss, she’s been a long-reigning champion and she’s a fantastic person. I know that this is going to be tough and that’s why I’ve trained so hard and had a tough camp as I know that this is so big for me, not just for the immediate success but for my future plans.

“I think it’s going to be a really hard fight. I’ve watched clips of her and she’s very tall and awkward, she punches non-stop for the ten rounds and I think it’s going to be a very physical fight. It’s a huge challenge but the one that I’ve wanted. She’ll bring the best out of me as I have the utmost respect for her and we’re going to lay it all on the line and may the best girl win. The famous green belt and the Ring Magazine belts being on the line is just amazing.”

Taylor and Persoon clash on a huge night of action at MSG where Anthony Johua’s World title defence against Andy Ruiz Jr. is supported by Callum Smith defending his WBA World ‘Super’, WBC Diamond and Ring Magazine Super-Middleweight titles against Hassan N’Dam, Josh Kelly making his US debut as he defends his WBA International Welterweight title against Philadelphia’s Ray Robinson and Chris Algieri defending his WBO International title against Britain’s Tommy Coyle in a crunch Super-Lightweight showdown – with more exciting undercard additions announced this week.