The last time Erislandy Lara fought in Miami, he needed less than 10 minutes to defend his 154-pound world championship. The slick-boxing Cuban will look to make a similarly swift statement when he returns to South Beach in a month.
Erislandy Lara (23-2-2, 13 KOs) will end an eight-month layoff on January 13 when he makes the fifth defense of his world title against former world champion Yuri Foreman (34-2, 10 KOs) at Hialeah Park Racing & Casino in Miami (Spike, 9 p.m. ET/PT).
Lara last fought May 21 in Las Vegas, where he retained his title with a unanimous decision in a rematch with Vanes Martirosyan. That victory followed a TKO of Jan Zaveck in November 2015 at Hialeah Park, where Lara stopped the former 147-pound champion just 41 seconds into Round 3.
A 33-year-old southpaw, Lara is riding a four-fight winning streak since dropping a disputed split decision to Saul “Canelo” Alvarez in a nontitle fight in July 2014.
“I’m very excited to be making my return to the ring in front of my Cuban fans in Miami on January 13,” said Lara, who defected from Cuba to Miami and now resides in Houston. “Yuri Foreman is a former world champion who is dedicated to this sport and will be looking to win another world title. I expect nothing but the best from him.
“On fight night, I’m making another statement and going for the knockout. After this fight, it’s time to unify the division, then move up to win the middleweight titles.”
Foreman, a 36-year-old Israeli who was born in Belarus and now fights out of Brooklyn, New York, won a 154-pound world title in November 2009 when he dethroned Daniel Santos by unanimous decision. However, he lost the crown in his first defense against Miguel Cotto, falling by ninth-round TKO in June 2010.
Foreman then suffered a sixth-round stoppage loss to Pawel Wolak in his next fight, but has since reeled off six consecutive victories. That streak includes a two-year break from boxing in which Foreman became an ordained rabbi.
He returned to the ring a year ago with an eight-round unanimous decision over Lenwood Dozier in Brooklyn. In Foreman's last fight, he earned a second-round TKO of Jason Davis on June 3.
“I’m thrilled to be fighting for the world title,” said the 5-foot-11 Foreman, who will have a two-inch height advantage over the 5-9 Lara. “I'm really looking forward to showcasing my skills and talent, and becoming a two-time world champion. At this stage of my career, it would be a tremendous accomplishment.
“Lara is very crafty and many elite fighters have had trouble dealing with his style, but I have studied him and am very confident that I will defeat him by presenting him with something he’s never seen before.”
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