Erislandy Lara aims to kickstart his career while Michael Zerafa looks to take over – Ring News 24 | Boxing News

Michael Zerafa and Erislandy Lara. Photo credit: Sean Michael Ham/TGB Promotions

WBA middleweight champion Erislandy Lara 29-3-3 (17) will return to the ring for the first time in almost two years when he defends his title against Michael Zerafa 31-4 (19) at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada on March 30.

It’s been a long time between drinks for the 40-year-old Cuban southpaw, who hasn’t seen action since his eighth-round knockout of overmatched Gary ‘Spike’ O’Sullivan in Brooklyn, New York in May 2022.

That fight was just the fourth for Lara in the past five years following victories over Ramon Alvarez, Greg Vendetti and Thomas LaManna.

But the former WBA junior middleweight champion, who will be having his third bout in the 160-pound weight class, says he has continued to work on his craft away from the spotlight and will be ready to explode when the first bell rings.

“I’ve had a great training camp for this fight,” said Lara, who will be boxing on the undercard of the Tim Tszyu vs Sebastian Fundora 154-pound unification bout on Prime Video pay-per-view.

“There are always new things you can learn when you put the time in at the gym. We’ve been really focused on our opponent and doing anything we can to win this fight. I feel spectacular and you’ll see it on March 30.

“I don’t pay attention to the rest of the middleweight division, I focus solely on me. It’s all about March 30 on pay-per-view. Tune in and let’s make history.

“I’ve stayed focused on everything that’s in my control and I’ve used my training camp to make sure there won’t be any rust when that bell rings.

“I don’t need to send a message to Michael Zerafa, he knows he has to be ready on March 30. We’ll be ready for him.”

Australian Zerafa, 31, hasn’t been overly active himself. His last bout took place in November 2022 when he scored a wide 10-round points win over Danilo Creati in Sydney Australia.

The first and last time he boxed in the United States he was knocked rotten by Peter Quillin in five rounds. That was nine years ago and Zerafa says things have changed since then.

“I’m super excited to be here. I was a boy when I fought in the US the first time and now I’m a man,” Zerafa said.

“You’re gonna see a different Michael Zerafa. I’m a lot better fighter and I’m ready to shock the world and make a statement.

“I’m better mentally, physically and really in every way. I’m more experienced and just a better fighter. I was 21 when I fought Peter Quillin. I fell short, but I do believe that now it’s my time.

“I have a lot of respect for Lara, but I truly believe this fight is not going the distance. Everyone I’ve fought has said I have ridiculous power and I will show it on March 30.

“Lara has been in there with the best. It’s just another day for him. But this is my life and I truly believe this is my time. I’m ready to make a statement.

“This is more than a fight for me. My sister Michelle is battling cancer right now and her dream is to watch me win a world title.

“I’m thankful to have this opportunity to prove that whether you’re fighting for your life or fighting for a title, you can make it happen.”