Noted for his smooth southpaw skillset and penchant for caution, Cuban veteran Erislandy Lara scored an uncharacteristic first-round KO of Thomas ‘Cornflake’ LaManna to win the vacant WBA Regular middleweight title at the Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, California, on Saturday afternoon.
Lara (28-3-3, 16 KOs) enjoyed early success with his left-hand work before a single shot from that fist put paid to LaManna’s dream of an unlikely title and laid him out. Referee Thomas Taylor immediately intervened after just 80 seconds of the fight with LaManna (30-5-1, 12 KOs) lying prone on the canvas.
“He said at the press conference that he was going to knock me out, but he ran right into that punch,” said the 38-year-old Lara, who became a two-weight title holder after previously clinching two WBA championships at 154lbs. “Maybe he was overthinking it all along.
“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 Castaño unification fight. [WBC middleweight champion and Jermell’s twin] Jermall Charlo is like family, we worked in the same gym for years, but this is a sport and I’d welcome the challenge.
“I feel great physically. I’m going to keep doing this until my body tells me I can’t do it anymore. I don’t feel like I’ve taken a lot of punishment in my career and I know I have at least another three years of my prime left.”
Meanwhile, Mexican featherweight Eduardo Ramirez (25-2-3, 12 KOs) registered an eye-catching third-round stoppage of Isaac Avelar (17-3, 10 KOs) to claim the WBA ‘Interim’ 126lbs title.
Southpaw Ramirez dropped Avelar in the third with a right hook and left his opponent out on his feet with the same shot before referee Gerard White stepped in.
“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.
“This was a perfect coronation. To be honest, I would now like to have the chance to fight against Leo Santa Cruz. I previously fought against Miguel Flores, who barely lasted five rounds against me, but Leo couldn’t knock him out. This convincing knockout should be my ticket to have that opportunity.”
Main image: Ryan Hafey/Premier Boxing Champions.