The fight card was promoted by Evander Holyfield’s Real Deal Boxing promotion, centered around the theme of Puerto Rican weekend, less than 24 hours ahead of Sunday’s Puerto Rican Day Parade in Manhattan.
“It’s the most important thing for me right now,” said the Brooklyn-born Berlanga. “All the other Puerto Rican great champions done it, Miguel Cotto, [Felix] Trinidad. So for me to be headlining my own card as the main event is a blessing.”
Berlanga entered against an overmatched Aaron Garcia, who came into Kings Theatre with a journeyman-like record of 16-8-1 with 11 KOs. Berlanga, who began his career with seven straight first-round knockouts, put Garcia away one minute and 24 seconds after the opening bell.
After dropping Garcia with a thunderous right hand-left hook combo, Barlanga pounced on his foe, who rose up from the knock down, pummeling him with a follow-up flurry of punches, prompting referee Eddie Claudio to step in and save the Garcia from further punishment.
“With the crowd and the people coming, I held everything under control pretty good,” offered a calm Berlanga after the TKO stoppage improved his record to 8-0, all wins by knockout.
Two fights before, Ochoa, a Williamsburg native riding a two-fight win streak, returned from a six-month layoff to record a unanimous decision over Oscar Barajas, who entered with an 18-6 tally to his name.
Ochoa, who’s only loss took place on March 11, improved to 19-1 (7 KOs) following the wide margin of victory.
“I felt the adrenaline, I wanted to catch a first-round knockout,” said Ochoa. “I was just holding my shots too much. When I let my guns go, they look great.
“He didn’t do anything special in there, he just brought a good fight, which is something I really needed,” he added. “I want to thank him for that.”
Earlier in the evening, Gonzalez, who boxes out of Ridgewood, paired up with Jimmy Rosario for the night’s only four-rounder. Gonzalez elevated his record to 6-0 (4 KOs) after forcing a stoppage after the third round.
Gonzalez is scheduled back in the ring in early September for his fifth bout of 2018.
Like Berlanga and Ochoa, Gonzalez’s comes from a Puerto Rican family and put his origin on full display during a colorful entrance, complete with sequenced trunks and a giant Puerto Rican flag.
“I always wear the nicest trunks, the flashiest trunks,” Gonzalez said. “But being that it was Puerto Rican Day Parade weekend, I had to come out with the flag.”