Lara moves up to middleweight to face LaManna

“The American Dream” is now seeking to become a two division world champion.

Erislandy Lara (27-3-3, 15 KOs) will fight for the WBA middleweight title on May 1st against Thomas LaManna (30-4-1, 12 KOs) at the Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson. It is part of the Fox PBC Fight Night which begins at 7 p.m. ET/4 p.m. PT and precedes the FOX Sports PBC Pay-Per-View event headlined by former unified heavyweight world champion Andy “The Destroyer” Ruiz Jr. taking on Chris “The Nightmare” Arreola. Also included on the PBC Fight Night card is a featherweight bout between Eduardo Ramírez and Isaac Avelar for the interim WBA title.

Lara is coming off a decision win over Greg Vendetti in Los Angeles seven months ago, defending a super welterweight title in the process. He was a unified champion from 2015 until 2018, losing to Jarrett Hurd in a fight that was given the “Fight of the Year” award. The following year he battled Brian Carlos Castano to a draw and defeated Ramon Alvarez via knockout to win the title that he currently holds. With this move to middleweight, Lara wants to show that he can be among the best in another weight class.

“I’m excited to be making my 2021 debut on a huge platform live on FOX,” said Lara. “Thomas LaManna is a tall middleweight with a lot of experience and I’m taking this fight very seriously, like always. At this stage in my career, I’m all-action, fighting on the inside, and letting my hands fly. I’m going to make a statement in this fight with a knockout.”

Thomas LaManna – who is nicknamed “Cornflake” – has been active over the past 18 months with five fights over that time period. He knocked out Jorge Pimentel last October and Juan de Jesus Gonzalez in January. Before those bouts, he lost to Jorge Cota and Brian Mendoza. While it has been an up and down ride for LaManna in recent bouts, this fight against Lara is a chance for him to become a world champion and he believes that his dream can come true.

“This is the land of opportunity and I’m getting mine on May 1st,” LaManna said. “I’ve put my heart, blood and soul into this game. I’m the definition of the ‘American dream’. People can write me off if they want, because at the end of the day, there’s no doubt that I’m coming to win. This is my time.”

Ramírez (24-2-3, 11 KOs) is ranked #1 in the WBA and had a big win over Miguel Flores in the Spence vs. Garcia card last year. He has been part of a world title fight before, falling short in 2017 against Lee Selby. For Ramírez, the road to getting another shot at a champion goes through Avelar, and that is something he is not taking for granted.

“This fight is very important for my career because it puts me one step closer to fighting for a world title again,” said Ramírez. “I will not be looking past Avelar, who is coming off a big win and will be coming to fight like a proud Mexican, just like I do. I will be in top shape and ready to achieve this step toward my dream of getting another chance at a world title.”

That chance could also be available for Avelar (17-2, 10 KOs) if he comes out as the victor. The 23 year old also fought on the Spence vs. Garcia fight card, scoring a unanimous decision over previously unbeaten Sakaria Lukas. He has campaigned in the featherweight and super bantamweight divisions, with one of his past fights being against current world champion Stephen Fulton. After his win against Lukas, he has gained a lot of confidence on his skill and feels that Ramírez made a mistake in accepting the fight against him.

“I’m coming into this fight strongly believing that I’m going to stop Eduardo Ramírez,” said Avelar. “I’ve been hurting and stopping sparring partners during camp, so I’m fully prepared for a war. This is going to be a spectacular fight like Rafael Marquez vs. Israel Vazquez. I’ve been improving my game quite a bit in the last year. I asked for this fight, and I’m going to make Ramírez regret accepting it.”

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