Edgar Berlanga will face an undefeated super middleweight contender in his next bout, but not the opponent he, his promoter or their streaming partner had hoped he’d fight.
BoxingScene.com has learned that Brooklyn’s Berlanga (21-0, 16 KOs) will battle Belfast’s Padraig McCrory (18-0, 9 KOs) when he returns to the ring early in 2024. The date and site of a main event DAZN will stream haven’t been solidified, though Berlanga-McCrory could take place as soon as February 24.
DAZN executives pushed earlier this year to schedule what would’ve be an entertaining bout between Berlanga and unbeaten Mexican Jaime Munguia, but the two sides never came close to reaching an agreement.
Tijuana’s Munguia (42-0, 33 KOs) doesn’t have a fight scheduled. He reportedly is a potential opponent for Canelo Alvarez’s return to the ring May 4.
Berlanga, meanwhile, will face his first undefeated foe when he encounters McCrory since he knocked out Saadiq Muhammad (then 4-0) in the fourth round of his fifth professional fight in September 2017 at Resorts World New York City in Queens.
Northern Ireland’s McCrory, 35, is ranked third by the WBA and 13th by the IBF in the 168-pound division. Berlanga, 26, is ranked fourth by the WBO, sixth by the IBF and 11th by the WBC for titles owned by Mexico’s Alvarez, their division’s undisputed champion.
Berlanga will be McCrory’s third unbeaten opponent in his past five fights, but on paper appears to be the most dangerous foe of his six-year professional career. McCrory defeated England’s Steed Woodall (18-2-1, 11 KOs) in his last appearance, a 10-rounder he won by unanimous decision August 4 at Falls Park in Belfast.
The polarizing Berlanga most recently battered Ireland’s Jason Quigley on his way to a 12-round, unanimous-decision victory June 24 in The Theater at Madison Square Garden in New York. Berlanga dropped Quigley four times – once apiece in the third and fifth rounds and twice during the 12th round – but the gutsy Quigley (20-3, 14 KOs) made it to the final bell.
That marked Berlanga’s fifth straight win by unanimous decision. He won each of his first 16 professional bouts by first-round knockout.
The McCrory match will mark Berlanga’s second bout since he signed a promotional deal with Eddie Hearn’s Matchroom Boxing.
Berlanga hoped to get a shot at Alvarez’s four titles when he joined Matchroom, but Alvarez later reached a three-fight agreement with Al Haymon’s Premier Boxing Champions. Before he defeated Jermell Charlo in a PBC/Showtime Pay-Per-View main event September 30 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, nine of Alvarez’s previous 10 bouts were promoted by Matchroom and streamed by DAZN.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.