Three future fist superstars will unite under the spotlight of Madison Square Garden.
Brooklyn-born super middleweight sensation Edgar “The Chosen One” Berlanga will defend his NABO title against wily Canadian Steve Rolls in the 10-round main event Saturday, March 19 at the Hulu Theater in Madison Square Garden. Berlanga, whose family hails from San Juan, Puerto Rico, makes his main event debut in his toughest test yet.
In the junior middleweight co-feature, 19-year-old Puerto Rican star Xander Zayas will fight Louisiana-born spoiler Quincy “Chico” LaValais in his first scheduled eight-rounder.
The eight-round televised opener will see the return of lightweight American Olympic silver medalist Keyshawn Davis against Mexican veteran Esteban Sanchez.
Berlanga-Rolls, Zayas-LaVallais and Davis-Sanchez will air live on ESPN and ESPN Deportes (simulcast on ESPN+) at 10pm ET / 7pm PT.
Promoted by Top Rank, in association with DiBella Entertainment, tickets will go on sale starting at $51 on Friday, January 28 at 12:00 PM ET and can be purchased by visiting Ticketmaster.com or MSG.com.
“Edgar, Xander and Keyshawn are future superstars, and it’s going to be a special night for a sold-out New York City crowd,” said Top Rank chairman Bob Arum. “All three are up there with the toughest fights of their respective careers, but I expect them to pass with flying colors.”
Berlanga (18-0, 16 KOs) took the boxing world by storm with 16 consecutive first-round knockouts to open his professional career. He went the full distance twice in 2021 and opened his campaign in April by knocking down Demond Nicholson four times in eight rounds in a televised ESPN broadcast. Berlanga returned in October with the Tyson Fury-Deontay Wilder III card, beating Marcelo Esteban Coceres via a unanimous 10-round decision despite a torn biceps in the third round and the first knockdown of his career in the ninth.
Berlanga said: “I am so excited to be fighting in my first main event in my hometown. It’s a dream come true for a fighter representing New York City and Puerto Rico. I can’t wait to show the world what I really stand for. We’re going to blow the roof off the Hulu Theater, so grab your tickets early and get your popcorn ready for this performance.”
Rolls (21-1, 12 KOs), a 37-year-old from Toronto, is an 11-year-old pro who was an undefeated middleweight contender before gaining weight. In June 2019, he challenged tough Gennadiy Golovkin at Madison Square Garden and found some success in the second round before being stopped in the fourth. Rolls has racked up two wins since the Golovkin bout, most recently beating Christopher Brooker in the ninth round on the Artur Beterbiev-Marcus Browne undercard in Montreal last month.
Rolls said: “I’m happy to be the headliner again at Madison Square Garden. The training camp went well and I feel very strong with nothing but war on my mind. Berlanga has power, but I’m ready for whatever he brings. I’m looking forward to March 19th. I will see you then.”
Zayas (12-0.9 KOs) broke through 6-0 with four knockouts in 2021, while being featured prominently in Prospect of the Year debates. He made his Madison Square Garden debut last December and concluded his 2021 campaign by knocking out Alessio Mastronunzio in the first round. He will face LaVallais (12-2-1, 7 KOs), who got upset over Clay Collard in the MGM Grand Bubble in December 2020. LaVallais, who is 2-2 since Collard’s win, has never been knocked out.
Zayas said: “It’s an honor to be fighting again at Madison Square Garden where I know my Puerto Rican people will come out and show their support. 2021 has been a great year, but I’m looking forward to an even bigger 2022 Quincy LaVallais is a solid veteran so I can’t overlook him. I want to make an important statement on March 19.”
Davis (4-0, 3 KOs), of Norfolk, Virginia, won three games in the first five months of 2021 before traveling to Tokyo and earning a silver medal. He then signed a long-term promotion contract with Top Rank, improving to 4-0 with a second round stoppage over Jose Zaragoza on December 11. Davis will make his 2022 debut against Sanchez (18-1, 8 KOs), a 23-year-old from Ensenada, Mexico, who has won two consecutive games and will make his American debut.
Davis said, “I did a show at Madison Square Garden in December and I’m going to do it again. Esteban Sanchez is supposed to be my hardest fight as a pro, but it’s going to be easy work. The Davis Brothers come to represent Norfolk and leave no doubt that we are the future of boxing.”
Undercard action will be streamed live and exclusively on ESPN+ and will feature a host of undefeated talents including Puerto Rican Junior Welterweight John “El Terrible” Bauza (16-0, 7 KOs) in an eight-rounder, welterweight and Berlanga’s New York City stable mate Pablo “Pretty Boy” Valdez (6-0.5 KOs) in a six-round ride, Puerto Rican junior lightweight Henry “Moncho” Lebron (14-0.9 KOs) in an eight-rounder and a four-rounder with junior welterweight Kelvin Davis (3-0, 2 KOs).