Top Rank is officially set to hit Kissimmee, Florida on April 24th with Emanuel Navarrete’s first featherweight title defense and more than half a dozen promising Puerto Ricans in tow,
– A vs. Featherweight title clash
– A rising Super Middleweight monster with a historic KO1 streak on the line
— Top Rank Boxing (@trboxing) March 15, 2021
As revealed last month, “Vaquero” Navarrete (32-1, 27 KO) will take on former title challenger and WBO #6 contender Christopher “Pitufo” Diaz (26-2, 15 KO). Navarrete looked strong at his new weight in his title-winning decision over Ruben Villa last October, while the move from 130 to 126 pounds appears to have treated Diaz well; his only featherweight defeat came against Shakur Stevenson.
“I am a fighter who likes to face the best, and my challenge now is to beat the tough ‘Pitufo’ Diaz,” Navarrete said. “I know he is a good fighter, and I am sure we will give a great show to the people of Florida and to those watching us fight on ESPN, ESPN Deportes and ESPN+. On April 24, I will show that I am the best featherweight in the world. I will not let him take my championship to Puerto Rico. That belt will stay with me in San Juan Zitlaltepec, Mexico.”
Diaz said, “I have once again been given an opportunity to become a world champion, but there is something very different this time around. I will not fail. I will bring that much-needed world title to Puerto Rico. This is my time to become a world champion. God knows how much I have sacrificed and how much I have evolved. I live today to make my family happy, and it is time to change their lives. On April 24, there is no doubt that I will become world champion, and I will see you all on April 25 when I return to my island as world champion.”
In the co-feature, which we also learned about last month, super middleweight bruiser Edgar Berlanga (16-0, 16 KO) looks to maintain his status as the most time-efficient fighter in the sport against a solid test in Demond Nicholson (23-3-1, 20 KO). Berlanga’s never needed more than three minutes to beat an opponent into submission, but while Nicholson’s been down before, he’s got more than enough pop to make this an interesting matchup.
“I don’t like to make predictions, but make sure you tune in. I want to show out for the fans in attendance,” Berlanga said. “April 24 is going to be the beginning of a huge 2021 for my team. I take it one fight at a time, and this is just another step toward my goal of becoming a champion.”
Nicholson said, “I have the experience. When I first started, I was knocking everyone out in the first round as well. I have 20 knockouts, and that speaks for itself. If you look at his opponents, I’d knock them all out. Is he ready for the next level? He might be ready, but he won’t be ready for me.”
TBA’s current assignments include Xander Zayas, Josue Vargas, Orlando Gonzalez, Henry Lebron, Joseph Adorno, and Jeremy Adorno.