HIGHLIGHTS: Edgar Berlanga finishes Padraig McCrory in 6, Andy Cruz takes wide decision

Fighting

We got the complete Edgar Berlanga experience tonight in Orlando, Florida in his main event tilt against Padraig McCrory. Unsteady performance, multiple fouls, and then a dramatic knockout finish, all in less than six full rounds!

Fortunately, the ending was much more exciting than the start, where both men landed three combined punches in the opening round. Berlanga (22-0, 17 KO) took his time getting going with anything but fouls, throwing an elbow in the clinch midway through the 3rd round which presumably made it appropriate for McCrory to respond by biting him if he wanted to. That didn’t happen, even after McCrory (18-1, 9 KO) took a pretty blatant low blow from him in the 5th.

Berlanga hurt McCrory in the 4th, but never let loose enough punches to build on it. He found the closing gear in the 6th, though, getting the better end of an exchange of big right hands that wobbled and dropped McCrory. The corner followed up with the towel, giving Berlanga a TKO-6 victory.

Much was made during the broadcast about Beranga jockeying for an opportunity against Canelo Alvarez in May. When asked about it afterwards, Berlanga said: “I want him now! 1000% (ready).” As much as Berlanga may think he wants the shot, and as much as Eddie Hearn may want to cash a Canelo-level check again, the fact remains that anyone not named David Benavidez would qualify as a massive duck by Canelo.

But, Berlanga is Puerto Rican, so maybe he “sells” a Mexico vs Puerto Rico clash. Presumably that star power and marketability is why Berlanga, Brooklyn native, fought tonight in a Florida hotel best known for hosting Jake Paul prospect shows and regional club fights.

In any event, the knockout was pretty sweet. Check it out!

Andy Cruz UD-10 Brayan Zamarripa

Another assertive performance from Andy Cruz, who did everything but finish the fight early against Brayan Zamarripa in the chief support. Cruz (3-0, 1 KO) tenderized Zamarripa’s face, bloodying his nose and bruising his eye. But, Zamarripa (14-3, 5 KO) has never been stopped as a pro, a streak he managed to sustain despite the damage Cruz did to his face.

Surviving was the only moral victory for Zamarripa, though. Cruz took all three cards by 100-90 scores, winning every round in a start to finish domination.

Shakhram Giyasov TD-11 Pablo Cesar Cano

Wide victory for Shakhram Giyasov, but yet another lackluster one for him. Giyasov (15-0, 9 KO) put Pablo Cesar Cano down in the 3rd on a wicked body shot, but never really pushed for a finish after that. Giyasov spent the bulk of the fight circling and withdrawing on a stiff-legged gait that looked like he’d spent all day riding a horse, while Cano (35-9-1, 25 KO) kept marching forward without much to show for it. .

Giyasov got a bit of a gift in the 9th when a borderline knockdown was ruled a push instead. It was the only time he seemed in danger, and he’d likely have cruised to the final bell if not for Cano going down on a shove after the bell in the 11th, twisting and possibly breaking his ankle. He was unable to continue, sending the fight to the scorecards for a technical decision. All three judges had it 109-99 for Giyasov.

Giyasov has yet to really impress at 147 pounds, and delivered another snoozer here. This victory should give him a mandatory shot at Eimantas Stanionis, and nothing we’ve seen in the past few years gives me any reason to expect a strong showing for Giyasov in that one.

Antonio Vargas TKO-8 Jonathan Rodriguez

Antonio Vargas had to get up from a knockdown at the end of Round 1, but otherwise looked great in a very exciting show against Jonathan Rodriguez. Vargas (18-1, 10 KO) should have evened the scorecards when he put Rodriguez (17-2-1, 7 KO) down at the end of Round 2. But, Vargas hit him while kneeling, and referee Christopher Young took two points for the illegal punch.

It was a Fight of the Year of the Week level scrap, but Vargas landed more meaningful and frequent punches through the middle rounds. He put Rodriguez down again at the end of the 8th, and Rodriguez’s corner stopped the fight before the next round could begin. Entertaining action both ways, and well worth a view if you missed it live.

Yankiel Rivera UD-10 Andy Dominguez

Strong showing for Rivera (5-0, 2 KO), who got more confident and comfortable as the fight went on. Dominguez (10-1, 6 KO) was tough and never stopped attacking, but Rivera was on another level, and carved him up worse and worse in each round.

Unfortunately, Rivera got a little too proud of his own work, showboating rather than finishing, then getting shaken up several times in the 9th. He fought through it to claim a unanimous decision on 99-91 cards across the board. Matchroom obviously want to showcase Rivera to Puerto Rican boxing fans, and he acquitted himself very well again tonight in support of Berlanga.

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