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Photo Credit: DAZN

Edgar Berlanga wins big for his foundation and one of its warriors in WBA match

Defending his title, undefeated middleweight Edgar Berlanga scored a TKO against Irishman Padraig McCrory in the sixth round of the match held at the Caribe Royale Orlando in Florida on Saturday. While this is a monumental win for his career, Berlanga is far more than just an athlete; he is a philanthropist who strives to use his platform to raise awareness for a rare, aggressive form of childhood cancer.

Berlanga is a board member of the Cristian Rivera Foundation, a foundation responsible for funding research toward a cure for diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma (DIPG) as well as providing awareness and family support. Berlanga dedicated his fight Saturday to the Cristian Rivera Foundation, as well as one of its special DIPG Warriors: Jesselyn Silva.

Jesselyn was well on her way to becoming an Olympic boxer before receiving her DIPG diagnosis in July 2021. She has been training since she was 7 years old and was ranked the number one female boxer in the nation for two years. Her diagnosis made it difficult to train, but boxing taught her the valuable lesson to “never give up.” She is an accomplished young woman who the super middleweight identifies with.

Berlanga proudly wore the CRF logo on his boxing trunks as he won by a TKO in the 6th round, which now improves his record to 22-0. “It feels amazing [to get the knockout]. I was losing sleep over this fight. People don’t understand, Irish mother f*****s are strong. And he’s undefeated, and he came to fight. People are intimidated by my power, so I didn’t want to just be an offensive fighter. I’m learning how to put my defense together, psych them out, and then start landing my punches. I was breaking him down little by little,” he told DAZN in a post-match interview.

Saturday night’s big win is just the beginning for Berlanga; now he wishes to take on undisputed champion Canelo Alvarez. “He’s mandatory now for Canelo’s title; he’s No. 1 with the WBA,” said Matchroom promoter Eddie Hearn, “It’s only a matter of time. Canelo Alvarez, the greatest fighter in the sport. [Berlanga] wants to challenge himself against the greatest fighters”.

This is not just Berlanga’s win, this is a win for the Cristian Rivera Foundation and its warrior, Jesselyn Silva, who before her diagnosis was on track to a promising career. Berlanga will continue to fight valiantly for CRF, Jesselyn, and other DIPG Warriors, in and out of the ring.

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