A win over veteran Edner Cherry, would be the biggest victory on a sturdy resume for lightweight contender Dennis Galarza—but Cherry has his sights set on another title shot and that requires a victory tonight over the talented Galarza in the co-main event of PBC on FS1.
Dennis Galarza figured it’s time for his overdue introduction to even hardcore boxing fans that might not be all that familiar with his work.
That’s why Galarza gladly accepted what he fully expects to be the most challenging fight of his career against Edner Cherry tonight. Cherry is an established contender who has fought a much higher level of opposition than Galarza, but the 25-year-old Galarza wants to prove he is a legitimate lightweight contender in their 10-round bout.
The Cherry-Galarza fight is part of an action-packed, three-hour broadcast tonight on FS1 and FOX Deportes (9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT) from the Minneapolis Armory in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Jamal James (22-1, 10 KOs), a welterweight contender from Minneapolis squares off against Abel Ramos (18-2-2, 13 KOs) in the 10-round main event.
“This is a huge fight,” Galarza said. “Edner Cherry is ducked by a lot of people. I believe he’s one of the highest-ranked lightweights on BoxRec. So I feel winning this fight right here should put me in the top five or top 10. It should align me with the stars, and that’d be a world title fight, hopefully soon.”
Cherry, 35, nearly won a world title three fights ago. The Bahamian-born boxer believes he did more than enough to take the IBF super featherweight title from Jose Pedraza, but he lost a 12-round split decision to the since-dethroned Pedraza in October 2015.
Cherry, of Wauchula, Florida, also has fought former two-division champions Timothy Bradley and Paulie Malignaggi. He is 12-1, including seven knockouts and a no-decision, since Bradley beat him by unanimous decision in their 12-round fight for Bradley’s WBC super lightweight title in September 2008.
“He’s definitely a talented contender,” Galarza said. “He’s fought some of the best in the game. He’s never been stopped. I believe he’s one of the most feared fighters at 135 pounds right now. A lot of people don’t give him the opportunity. I’m glad that when we got down to the contracts, the agreement came through.
“I’m glad to get the opportunity to fight him because this will blow my name up bigger than ever before. This is the time for me to make it. I’m already 18 fights in as a professional. I believe this is the time I’ve gotta shine.”
“ Dennis Galarza is a great, young fighter who is on the rise, coming to win and looking to become a world champion. But he is in for a real fight. I’m ready to go all out on April 13. ” Lightweight contender Edner Cherry
Galarza, of Orlando, Florida, was a decorated amateur who went 133-22 and won numerous national tournaments before he turned pro 4½ years ago. He has suffered two decision defeats, though, that have prevented Galarza from making progress comparable to stablemate and close friend Erickson Lubin.
Jason Galarza, Dennis’ father/trainer, also trains Orlando’s Lubin. While Lubin prepares to come back from his first-round knockout loss to WBC super welterweight champ Jermell Charlo, Dennis Galarza (16-2, 9 KOs) wants to atone for his eight-round, split-decision defeat to Phoenix’s Cesar Valenzuela (14-6-1, 5 KOs) in September 2016.
“Every champion has their own pathway to success,” Galarza said. “I don’t believe mine will the same as everyone else’s. That just makes mine a little more original, a little more grueling, a little more heartbreaking. Because at times I thought I was on the top, and I was striving for the better positions in my life.
“But those [losses] right there made me out to be a better man, inside and outside of the ring. It made me figure out boxing isn’t something that’s guaranteed. It’s something that you have to work for. I’m working my hardest right now, and I just can’t wait to go in there Friday to show what I’ve done in this camp, that it’s been different from every other camp.”
Cherry (36-7-2, 19 KOs, 1 NC) will look to extend his winning streak to three since Pedraza defeated him. The veteran hasn’t fought in over a year, however, not since he out-boxed Omar Douglas (18-2, 13 KOs) to win a 10-round unanimous decision last April 4 in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.
Cherry has moved up five pounds to lightweight to battle the taller, younger Galarza.
“Dennis Galarza is a great, young fighter who is on the rise, coming to win and looking to become a world champion,” Cherry said. “But he is in for a real fight. I’m not taking this fight lightly. I’m getting ready, and I’m ready to go all out on April 13.”
Like Galarza, Cherry hopes a victory Friday night leads to a lightweight title shot.
“After this, I hope I’ll get my third opportunity at a world title,” Cherry said. “I took the Lydell Rhodes, Omar Douglas and Jose Pedraza fights because I’m a warrior who wants the opportunity to fight the best, and, ultimately, to fight for a world title. The Pedraza fight didn’t go my way on the scorecards, but the whole world knows the true outcome of that fight. I went back to work and I’m ready to prove it again.”
For a closer look at Cherry vs Galarza, check out our fight page.