Fight Week: Puerto Rican Junior Middleweight Star Xander Zayas Hits the Big Apple
ayas to fight Quincy LaVallais at Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden as co-feature to Edgar Berlanga-Steve Rolls super middleweight main event live on ESPN & ESPN Deportes (simulcast on ESPN+) at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT
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(Photo Credit: Top Rank)
NEW YORK (March 16, 2022) — At only 19 years old, Puerto Rican junior middleweight phenom Xander Zayas believes 2022 is the year he takes things to the next level. Zayas, who hails from San Juan and now lives in South Florida, will fight Louisiana native Quincy LaVallais in his first scheduled eight-rounder Saturday at Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden.
Zayas-LaVallais will serve as the co-feature to the Edgar Berlanga-Steve Rolls super middleweight main event live on ESPN & ESPN Deportes (simulcast on ESPN+) at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT.
Zayas (12-0, 9 KOs), who signed with Top Rank at 16 years of age, begins his 2022 campaign following a 2021 that saw him fight six times and earn Prospect of the Year consideration. His last two fights ended via knockout, but he takes a sizable step up against LaVallais (12-2-1, 7 KOs), a six-year pro who has never been knocked out. LaVallais is known to fight fans for his December 2020 upset over Clay Collard inside the MGM Grand Las Vegas Bubble. He is 2-2 since the Collard triumph, with both defeats coming via close decision.
This is what Zayas had to say following his New York City arrival.
“After a very good year in 2021, my goals this year are to have at least four fights, keep moving up in opposition, and finish the year fighting in 10-rounders. I would love to win a regional title and finish the year in the top 15 of the junior middleweight division.”
“Being back in NYC is something that excites me and motivates me at the same time. Fighting once again at Madison Square Garden and as the co-feature feels amazing. This is such a great opportunity. I’m super grateful for everything Top Rank and my team has done for me.”
“In the not-so-distant future, MSG will be my second home, just like it was for Miguel Cotto and Felix Trinidad. I want to fill MSG up and bring a lot of glory to my people from Puerto Rico and New York. I want to give my fans a great show.”
Top Rank Tripleheader from New York Saturday, March 19 on ESPN, ESPN Deportes & ESPN+
Special Feature – Undefeated Bauza vs. Luis – Undercard Exclusive to ESPN+ at 7:15 p.m. ET
A tripleheader of Top Rank on ESPN boxing action – each with a young, undefeated knockout artist – is in the spotlight on ESPN, ESPN Deportes and ESPN+ from the Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden in New York on Saturday, March 19 at 10 p.m. ET.
The super middleweight headliner sees Brooklyn-born Edgar “The Chosen One” Berlanga take his perfect mark of 18-0 – with 16 first-round knockouts – into the ring against Steve Rolls (21-1, 12 KOs), a 37-year-old veteran from Toronto. It is Berlanga’s main event debut and his stiffest test to date. He took the boxing world by storm with 16 consecutive first-round knockouts to launch his pro career.
In the junior middleweight co-feature, 19-year-old Xander Zayas – featuring an unblemished record after a dozen bouts with nine knockouts – will fight his first scheduled eight-rounder against Quincy LaVallais (12-2, 7 KOs), who has never been knocked out.
The telecast will open with a special feature, junior welterweight prospect John Bauza (16-0, 7 KOs) vs. Tony Luis (29-4, 10 KOs). The undefeated Bauza, 23, is coming off the two most impressive showing of his career while the 34-year-old Luis once went unbeaten from 2015-2020.
ESPN’s Joe Tessitore will call the action, working with Hall of Famer and 2004 U.S. Olympic gold medalist Andre Ward and future Hall of Famer Timothy Bradley for analysis. Mark Kriegel and Bernardo Osuna will serve as reporters and handle interviews.
Undercard on ESPN+
The undercard will stream live and exclusively on ESPN+ at 7:15 p.m. and includes a host of undefeated talents, including 19-year-old Long Island-born welterweight sensation Jahi Tucker (6-0, 4 KOs), junior lightweight Henry Lebron (14-0, 9 KOs) in an eight-rounder, a four-round match featuring junior welterweight Kelvin Davis (3-0, 2 KOs), and lightweight prospect Armani Almestica (4-0, 4 KOs), 20, of Florida.
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