World Boxing Association super welterweight world champion Erislandy Lara is looking for a big win on Friday against ex-champ Yuri Foreman to springboard him to a unification bout and the middleweight ranks.
“I’m going to go out there and make a statement,” the US-based Cuban said. “I’m in great shape, I’m focused on this fight and most importantly the way I’m looking, when I do hit him, I think he will go (down).”
Lara has just three wins inside the distance in 12 fights since March of 2013 a first-round stoppage of Ronald Hearns, a gritty 10th-round technical knockout of Alfredo Angulo in which Lara was down two times and a third-round stoppage of Jan Zaveck in November of 2015.
The 33-year-old southpaw is known less for his knockout power than for his footwork and movement.
In his most recent fight, he defended his title with a unanimous decision over Vanes Martirosyan in Las Vegas on May 21 in a rematch of their controversial draw in 2012.
He improved to 23-2-2 with 13 wins inside the distance, but his defensive style hasn’t been a hit with fans and the clash with Foreman, a 36-year-old Belarus-born Israeli now living in Brooklyn, is hardly one to set pulses racing.
In 2009 Foreman (34-2-0, 10 KOs) out-pointed Daniel Santos to win the world title — claiming the same belt he’ll be fighting for on Friday. But he has fought just twice since 2013, against lightly regarded opponents.
Despite his inactivity, he promises to take the fight to Lara.
I’m ready and looking forward to Friday. I came here to win and I feel very positive about this,” Foreman said.
“Erislandy Lara is a great fighter, but me being from the Soviet Union, I’m very familiar with Cuban boxing and have quite a bit of experience with their style, so I’m looking forward to stepping in and showcasing my talents and skills.
“Being a rabbi, it is sometimes very interesting to mix that with fighting, but Friday night I won’t be in rabbi mode.
I will be all fighter. We are going to show skills and heart and power on Friday night.”