Padraig McCrory relishing rendezvous with Edgar Berlanga eight months later than planned

Belfast’s Padraig McCrory is just one victory from becoming a contender at 168 pounds.

He fights Edgar Berlanga in his biggest test at the Caribe Royale in Orlando, Florida on February 24, and does so having long had the Brooklyn-based Puerto Rican in his sights.

Berlanga built a fearsome reputation at the beginning of his career – his first 16 fights ended by first-round knockout. He has since struggled to record a stoppage in his past five fights, all of which he won via unanimous decision.

“I know that I am more than ready for this fight,” McCrory told ProBox TV. “I was offered the Berlanga fight this past June, we did agree a deal, but then Matchroom announced the Jason Quigley fight. Which was a bit of a surprise. I ended up having a good 10 rounds in Belfast [against Steed Woodall] instead. But this one is the big fight that I am looking for.

“He is a good fighter. He has some great attributes, but I still don’t think he is the finished article. There are flaws in him; there are also a lot of stories of him getting dropped in sparring and in his fights in the amateurs. I thought Quigley won every round he didn’t get dropped in; he dropped him four or five times in that fight. Again, he showed flaws in his game. 

“Quigley is not as big of a puncher as me either. But, Quigley is a great boxer, and he showed Berlanga can be hit clean. That’s what I’ll be planning on doing.”

The 35 year old enters next week’s super middleweight showdown with nine years on Berlanga, regardless of Berlanga having turned professional little over a year earlier. 

“We have spent most of the camp in Belfast, it’s where I spend all my camps.” continued McCrory, who was speaking from a local boxing promotion in the city’s Ulster Hall. “I was working on the door [of a nightclub], which was about four years ago. Until recently I’ve been working as a personal trainer. Boxing people think you are making millions, but you are not. I’ve got three young kids at home, and for me, that’s my main priority. I’ll work anywhere. Boxing is secondary. But, this is a great opportunity – one that can change my life.”

McCrory gambled when in 2022 travelling to Frankfurt to fight at light heavyweight against the then-undefeated German prospect Leon Bunn. He proceeded to win convincingly on an evening when he repeatedly dropped his opponent before winning in the sixth round. 

“It was all ticket deals at the beginning of my career until I went to Germany,” he said. “I won the IBO title at light heavyweight. That’s the only time I started really making any money from boxing. To be honest, I probably don’t need to work, but you just don’t know how long boxing is going to last. I’ve got a personal business – it would be silly to give that up because it complements the boxing.

“At the moment I get to spend a lot of time with my family and train as a full-time boxer, but I also still work. This camp I’ve put all that behind me to focus on this fight. It’s good to have the experience of going in as the away fighter and as the underdog, because it’s the type of fight in front of me again.”