MIAMI — Erislandy Lara knocked out Israeli boxer Yuri Foreman with a crushing left uppercut in the fourth round on Friday to retain his World Boxing Association super welterweight world title.
Cuban southpaw Lara made good on his vow to make a statement against former champ Foreman, even though the knockdown he was credited with in round three looked more like a slip by the challenger.
One round later, however, there was no doubt as his well-placed uppercut sent Foreman, a Belarus-born fighter who was raised in Israel and is now based in the United States, reeling.
Foreman eventually regained his feet but was disoriented and Lara won by knockout at 1:47 of the fourth.
“I promised I would do it and I did it,” said Lara, who improved to 24-2-2 with 14 wins inside the distance.
The satisfied champion promptly called out the cream of the middleweight division — unbeaten champion Gennady Golovkin of Kazakhstan, and Mexico’s former champ Canelo Alvarez.
“I’m ready to fight the best in the world, Golovkin, Canelo,” he said. “Whoever is willing to step in the ring with me, I’m willing to fight.”
Foreman fell to 34-3-0 with 10 knockouts.
In 2009, Foreman had outpointed Daniel Santos to become the first Orthodox Jewish fighter in more than 70 years to win a world title, but he had fought just twice since 2013, against lightly regarded opponents.
“Of course I’m disappointed, but this is boxing,” Foreman said. “I got caught with a perfect punch and that’s what happens.
“I have been hit harder in my career, but I take nothing away from him. He’s a very strong puncher in his prime and I give him credit.
I will take some time to talk to my team and my family and see what comes next, as far as boxing.”