The Cuban boxing legend delivers highlight-reel KO to win the WBA Middleweight World title.
Erislandy Lara promised to knock Thomas LaManna out in “four rounds or less.” Lara didn’t waste time fulfilling his pledge, delivering a highlight-reel, first round knockout of LaManna in the main event of Saturday’s FOX PBC Fight Night card.
With the win, Lara is now the WBA World Middleweight Champion and a two-division titlist. The Cuban lefty says he’s willing to return to 154-pounds for a big fight, but a potential unification versus unbeaten WBC 160-pound champion Jermall Charlo is enticing as well.
It’s a fight that has been discussed for years. If Lara looks like he did against LaManna, it would be worth the wait. Lara’s elite skillset was on full display although the fight lasted less than two minutes. A straight left snapped LaManna’s head back moments into the fight. Another stunned him.
Those pinpoint shots set the stage for Lara to come over the top with the left. The shot landed flush on LaManna’s jaw, who was out before he landed the canvas. Referee Thomas Taylor immediately came to his aid, waving it over at 1:20 of the first. LaManna drops to 3-5-1 (12 KOs).
"He said at the press conference that he was going to knock me out, but he ran right into that punch. Maybe he was overthinking it all along,” Lara, 28-3-3 (16 KOs), said afterward.
"I felt strong and sharp tonight at middleweight, but I still want all of the big fights at 154-pounds too. I want the winner of the Jermell Charlo-Brian Carlos Castano unification fight. Jermall Charlo is like family, we worked in the same gym for years, but this is a sport and I'd welcome the challenge.”
Eduardo Ramirez stops Isaac Avelar in three, wins interim featherweight belt
Avelar (17-3, 10 KOs) gamely returned fire with fire until the third, when a Ramirez right hook detonated on his chin. Avelar sagged to the canvas, rising on unsteady legs. Ramirez pounced, landing another right that wobbled Avelar. Referee Gerard White immediately stepped in. Official time was 1:16 of the third round.
"I am beyond happy right now,” said Ramirez. “I'm just elated and moved by having been able to fulfill the promise I made to my baby boy Eduardo Ramirez Jr. He just turned two years old and I wasn’t able to be there to give him a hug for his birthday, but I had promised him that I would bring the title back home to him as a gift, and that is exactly what I’m doing now.”
Ramirez, 28, 25-2-3 (12 KOs), has knocked out his last three opponents and is now on the doorstep of a showdown with the current WBA 126-pound champ, four-division titlist and Mexican boxing legend Leo Santa Cruz.
“This was a perfect coronation. To be honest, I would now like to have the chance to fight against Leo Santa Cruz,” Ramirez said. “I previously fought against Miguel Flores, who barely lasted 4-5 rounds against me, but Leo couldn’t knock him out. This convincing knockout should be my ticket to have that opportunity.”
For a closer look at Lara vs LaManna, check out our fight night page.