Monday, July 3, 2023

Inside the Ringside with Frank Bartolini - Hulu Theater at MSG

By Frank Bartolini

Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden, New York City:  Matchroom Boxing delivered another superb night of boxing to New York. On top of the card, popular super middleweight contender Edgar Berlanga, Brooklyn, NY, faced Jason Quigley, Ireland. Berlanga garnered an undefeated record as part of Top Rank’s stable. Earlier this year, Top Rank and Berlanga parted ways. Both Golden Boy and PBC showed interest in signing Berlanga, but he chose Eddie Hearn. 

Irishman Jason Quigley, 167.5 lbs., was brought in as the opponent to showcase Berlanga's,167.75 lbs., skills. A big draw in the Big Apple, Berlanga had a house full of cheering fans. 

Anxious to end a four-bout drought without scoring a knockout, Berlanga went straight to work from the opening bell. In round three, Quigley hit the deck after absorbing a Berlanga right to the side of the head. During the fifth stanza, Berlanga scored a questionable knockdown after hurting Quigley with a left hook to the chin. To his credit, Quigley kept himself in the fight with some slick boxing while getting in his licks when he had his chances. As the clock ran out in the final heat, Berlanga got through with a left hook followed by a straight right to his foe’s cranium that resulted in Quigley eating rosin dust. Going for the kill, Berlanga dropped Quigley again with a barrage of punches.

The sold-out crowd roared in approval with the decision when ring Announcer Dave Diamante read the scores 116-108 twice and 118-106, all for Berlanga who’s record is now 21-0, 16 KOs. Quigley gave an admirable effort as his record dips to 20-3, 14 KOs. 

A former junior middleweight champ Jamie Munguia and future Hall of Famer Gennady Golovkin are a couple of names that have come up as potential future adversaries for Berlanga. After scoring sixteen first round knockouts in first sixteen fights as a professional, Berlanga has become a "bombs away" headhunter at times, shots that negate his body attacks. During his streak of kayoes, Berlanga's mid-section assault was a precursor to him tagging his opponents with crushing shots to the head. Berlanga will have to revisit those techniques if he is going to compete against the elite of the super middleweight ranks. 

Bombs away! Nothing better than watching two heavyweights with limited defensive ability take turns clocking one another. Thirteen-year veteran heavyweight Joe Cusumano, Danville, VA, scored the biggest win of an up until now ordinary career. Sadly, Cusumano crushed the hopes of one-time heavyweight contender Adam Kownacki, Brooklyn, NY, resurrecting his livelihood. A Cusumano, 238.25 lbs., right to Kownacki’s face dropped the Polish hammer in round one. Kownacki, 251.75 lbs., found his way back to his corner and continued his losing struggle until he was brutally finished at the two-minute mark of round eight. With the win, a big payday awaits Cusumano, 22-4 20 KOs. Falling to 20-4, 15 KOs, Kownacki has lost his last four fights, three of those by ugly knockouts. Popular consensus agrees Kownacki should never again step foot in a boxing ring.

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