Preceding the Ruiz Arreola pay-per-view, the FOX PBC Fight Night main event saw Erislandy “The American Dream” Lara (28-3-3, 16 KOs) deliver a one-punch knockout victory over Thomas “Cornflake” LaManna (30-5-1, 12 KOs) in the first round to capture the WBA Middleweight Title.
“He said at the press conference that he was going to knock me out, but he ran right into that punch,” said Lara. “Maybe he was overthinking it all along.”
Cuba’s Lara became a three-time, two-division champion in his middleweight debut, after an extended run as one of the 154-pound division’s elite fighters. Lara found a home for his left hand early in the first round, and eventually timed a perfect one that caught LaManna and sent him to the mat. Referee Thomas Taylor immediately jumped in to halt the bout at 1:20 into the round.
After the triumph, Lara expressed his desire to seek out the biggest fights at 154 and 160-pounds.
“I felt strong and sharp tonight at middleweight, but I still want all of the big fights at 154-pounds too,” said Lara. “I want the winner of the Jermell Charlo-Brian Castaño unification fight. (WBC Middleweight Champion) 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.”
In the co-main event on FOX, top Mexican featherweight contender Eduardo Ramirez (25-2-3, 12 KOs) scored his third-straight knockout victory with an impressive third-round stoppage of Isaac Avelar (17-3, 10 KOs) to capture the Interim WBA Featherweight Title.
“You have to have a stone-cold mindset, and that’s what we had to finish Avelar off,” said Ramirez. “We were able to connect the right combinations to finish the fight off exactly how we wanted.”
The fight heated up in round two, with both fighters landing over 20 punches and throwing at least 80. Ramirez broke through in the third with a sweeping right hook that put Avelar down early in the frame. Avelar was able to get to his feet, but again ran into a Ramirez right hook that left him staggered and seemingly out on his feet, prompting referee Gerard White to waive off the fight 1:16 into the 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.
“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 four or five rounds against me, but Leo couldn’t knock him out. This convincing knockout should be my ticket to have that opportunity”.