Memories of Carl Weathers as Pody McCrory stars in latest instalment of the fighting underdog story

Belfast super-middleweight the unknown outsider against New York’s ‘Chosen One’ Edgar Berlanga

Hammer time:  Pody McCrory will headline the Feile an Phobail boxing spectacular at Falls Park on Friday, August 4.
Pody McCrory fights Edgar Berlanga in Orlando, Florida on February 24

BOXING fans will have taken a moment to remember actor Carl Weathers last weekend. Sadly, Weathers passed away on Friday but his performance as Apollo Creed opposite Sylvester Stallone’s Rocky guaranteed his immortality.

48 years after the release of the original that spawned a saga, Pody McCrory will star in the latest chapter of the enduring story of the fighting underdog.

The Belfast super-middleweight will travel to in Orlando, Florida as an unknown and a rank outsider when he takes on New York’s ‘Chosen One’ Edgar Berlanga at the Caribe Royale Hotel on February 24. McCrory knows the task ahead of him and says “everything is stacked in” Berlanga’s favour. But he’s going to Florida to win.

“I firmly believe I can go there and cause an upset,” he says.

“I have the ability and the power to win this fight. When I get there I expect a bit of nonsense from him but it’s not going to phase me, I don’t fear him, the only thing I’m thinking about is performing to the best of my ability and coming home safe to my family. That’s my aim.

“I’m 100 per cent confident that I’m going to do the job, I think I can win against anybody.”

Berlanga has been criticised for recent performances. Jason Quigley was the fourth opponent in-a-row to take him the distance and the Donegal native had his moments in the fight.

Some US commentators have said that McCrory has been brought in as a comparative soft touch to get Berlanga back to his old knockout ways.

“He’s in desperate need of a massive performance,” said McCrory.

“If the people around him believed he is what he thinks he is, I think he would have been fighting Jamie Munguia now but, from what I gather, they wanted to give him another test and they think that that’s me. I firmly believe that they’ve made a big mistake in choosing me because he’s going to come looking for me and when he does that I’ll catch him clean. When I do that it’ll be ‘goodnight’ for him.

“He likes to bully people, he likes to be the aggressor but he’s been dropped manys a time and I’ve seen it in sparring, in amateur fights and he’s been dropped as a pro. I believe that his persona, his personality is a wee bit of a cover – I think there’s a bit of mental weakness there and we’ll find that out on the night.”

Berlanga is hittable and beatable but to expose the chinks in his armour, McCrory will have to recapture the form he showed between August 2021 and November 2022 when he hammered out four consecutive KO wins and won the WBC International Silver super-middleweight title and the IBO light-heavyweight crown in Germany.

Carl Weathers (Apollo Creed in the Rocky film series) Picture by Justin Kernoghan/Photopress
Carl Weathers (Apollo Creed in the Rocky film series) Picture by Justin Kernoghan/Photopress

“I have to be the best version of myself,” he said.

“It’s my hardest fight by a wide margin. My last three fights haven’t been at the highest standards and my performances haven’t been great but I’m well and truly up for this fight and I showed what I can do when I’m up against it when I went to Germany. I know what’s on the line, I’m 35 and if I win this fight it changes my life forever. It will lead to massive things, it will lead to probably being financially secure for the rest of my life and, with a young family,  that’s all the motivation that I need.”

The more Berlanga and his team dismiss his chances and look ahead to a higher profile opponents the better. McCrory has earned this opportunity, he is 18-0, has beaten some good fighters, won a world title in Germany...

“I’ve taken my chances and now I’m here,” he said.

“I mightn’t be the biggest name in boxing but to get here you have to have shown something. I’ve earned this and I’m confident. One punch can change a fight – either way. He has the power to do that but I believe in timing and I believe in fate and I think my life has led to this.”

Conor Quinn will face Chris Liddell in a Commonwealth 'Silver' flyweight title fight on October 14
Conor Quinn takes on durable African Jemsi Kibazange over 10 rounds at flyweight on February 17

MHD Promotions in association with Bet McLean host their first show of the year ‘Fists of Fury’ at the Europa Hotel on Saturday, February 17.

The event which will be headlined by the ‘Magnificent’ Conor Quinn who faces the strong African Jemsi Kibazange over 10 rounds at flyweight.

Kibazange (20-7-3) is a 30-fight veteran and the current Tanzanian champion and he has his eyes firmly set on the Commonwealth Silver Flyweight title held by the undefeated Belfast contender Quinn who knows there is no room for error on his maiden defence of the belt.

Stablemate Colm Murphy, the current Boxing Union of Ireland two-weight Celtic Featherweight and Irish Super-Featherweight champion returns with an equally difficult challenge as he squares up to the big hitting Tanzanian Julias Kisarawe (34-11-1) in an eliminator for the Commonwealth Featherweight title also over 10 rounds.

Rapidly improving and undefeated Belfast super-bantamweight prospect Connor Kerr looks to put himself in title contention as he moves up to his first six round contest.

Meanwhile, Shannon super-lightweight David Ryan travels up north to Belfast for his fifth contest and he returns from injury and hopes to push on into Irish title contention later in the year.

“Conor Quinn and Colm Murphy have been fearless and risen to every challenge I have presented them over the past few years,” said promoter Mark Dunlop.

“Both step up again against strong opponents who very rarely fail to hear the final bell, I am expecting fireworks at the Europa.”

VIP dinner tickets are sold out. The remaining inner-ringside and unreserved tickets are available from or from the boxers.