Edgar Berlanga continues quest to emulate Puerto Rican greats

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Edgar Berlanga has lofty goals.

The unbeaten Puerto Rican-American slugger wants to be the next boxing hero to the rabid fans in his parents’ native land, following in the footsteps of great fighters like Felix Trinidad and Miguel Cotto.

Berlanga trained on the island for his super middleweight fight against Roamer Alexis Angulo on Saturday at Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden in New York City, not far from his native Brooklyn (ESPN, ESPN+).

He met with Trinidad early in camp and received “some very encouraging and motivating advice. He is my hero!”

“I’m very excited and can’t wait to get in the ring in Madison Square Garden, just like Tito and Cotto used to do,” Berlanga said. “Those are some pretty big shoes to fill, and it will not be easy, but I’m up for the task, and I’m ready to do my own thing and put on a great show for all my people.”

“This fight will be big for my career. I’m ready to show up and show out as the new face of all Puerto Rican boxing. With this fight, I will set the tone and show everyone what I’m capable of. I have to win big and I will.”

Berlanga (19-0, 16 KOs) started his career with 16 first-round knockouts, which caused a sensation in the industry.

However, his last three opponents have taken him the distance. That includes veteran Steve Rolls this past March, when he won a unanimous decision but didn’t look particularly good doing it.

The 25-year-old seems to acknowledge that he has room to grow in light of the relatively few rounds he has fought as a professional, only 44. At the same time, he has confidence in his ability.

“I have been working very hard,” he said. “I’ve been working on polishing all aspects of my game. You guys will see a real monster on June 11, a monster that has a lot of power, but also a monster that knows how to box and set things up.

“Don’t get me wrong. He’s a tough fighter, and he will come to fight, but I will break him down.”

The fight with the 38-year-old Angulo (27-2, 23 KOs) is a relatively small step toward emulating the accomplishments of his Puerto Rican heroes but, to him, this is an important event.

Not only will he be fighting at the Garden – where Trinidad and Cotto thrilled fans so many times – he will be doing so on the day before the annual Puerto Rican Day Parade. He gushes with pride over his ancestral nation.

“I’m so pumped to be headlining my second main event at … Madison Square Garden,” he 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.”

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