When you hear the legendary boxing promoter Bob Arum comparing one of his own young fighters to Mike Tyson, you might be tempted to roll your eyes. But consider this: Since turning pro in 2016, none of Edgar Berlanga’s 16 opponents have made it to the second round. The 23-year-old Brooklyn boxer has an average career fight time of 98.8 seconds. Chew on that for a second and see if his nickname, The Chosen One, doesn’t suddenly makes a lot of sense.
Given the dominant a start, it might strike some as a surprise that Berlanga wants the challenge of boxing for more than a round. But like any great fighter, he wants to showcase the technical skills and IQ that his heavy right and left hooks have left him unable to up to this point. In a sport that’s lately been craving star power, Berlanga is on his way to being the next big draw.
GQ caught up with the Top Rank boxer to discuss the work and preparation that goes into his punching power and what he enjoys eating when he’s not landing knockout blows.
For Real-Life Diet, GQ talks to athletes, celebrities, and everyone in between about their diet, exercise routines, and pursuit of wellness. Keep in mind that what works for them might not necessarily be healthy for you.
GQ: How has your training evolved since turning pro in 2016?
Edgar Berlanga: Right now, we train twice a day. I have a strength and conditioning coach [Dave “Scooter” Honig] and then I train with Uncle Dre [his trainer, Andre Rozier] and we do boxing in the morning around 11 a.m. At night, I have strength and conditioning. We’ll switch it up sometimes, though. If I don’t have strength and conditioning, I’ll go to the track with my track coach. He works with me on agility stuff, but my training is mostly twice a day, morning and night. That’s just the hard work, dedication and that focus. These are things that fighters have to do in order to get to the top. Obviously, I’ve come this far for a reason.
Does who you’re facing affect what you’re working on in training camp?
My opponents are all different fighters, and we have a different game plan for each and every fighter. But as far as changing my training regimen for another fighter? Never.
Every fighter’s training camp setup is different—what’s your setup like?
I do my strength and conditioning in Long Island, then I have my boxing here in Brooklyn with Rozier. As far as dieting goes, we work with Perfecting Athletes. These are the top people in the industry right now. I have a chef now so, they communicate with Chef Gus and they’ll tell him what I need. So every three days, I’m changing meals and it goes according to how I’m feeling. If there are days where I’m working very hard, they’ll change the meals to add more carbs. I also have a physical therapist who sees me at least twice a week and she works with me on little things that I feel need to be tended to with my body.
Is it somewhat disappointing that you have yet to be able to show off your additional skills, so you’re not just seen as strictly a power puncher?
After this last fight, I feel like I really did prove that I can punch. A lot of people don’t know that I can really punch as opposed to just throw knockout punches. I wanted people to really understand and know that Edgar can punch. Now, I feel like it’s the time to see if he I can box—I’m going to show you that I can box, that I have great boxing skills, and have a beautiful boxing IQ.
When you’re not worried about making weight, what are some of the things you enjoy eating
For me, I like to eat pizza. I love pizza, man. That’s my favorite. I love chicken wings and the sandwiches from the bodega. I have a specific store that I go to in Brooklyn. They’ve known me since I was seven years old and they make the best sandwiches in Brooklyn. I go there probably two times a week to get a sandwich. My favorite is the honey-glazed turkey with American cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, and avocado with the bread toasted.