Rising Jr. Middleweight contender Thomas “Cornflake” LaManna (27-2-1 9ko) wants to make his mark at one of the key players in the 154 pound division. “It’s my time now. I’ve remained silent and low key for for too long now. It’s time to fight forreal.”
Since turning Professional in early 2011, LaManna has compiled a record of 27 wins with just 2 defeats and 1 controversial draw, that took place last year when LaManna faced rugged and crafty veteran Gabriel “Tito” Bracero (24-3 6ko) in their 10 round crossroads fight for LaManna’s WBC FECARBOX Welterweight Title. Since then, LaManna bounced back with two solid wins including capturing the Vacant New Jersey State Welterweight Championship by defeating former World Title Challenger “Mighty” Mike Arnaoutis (26-11-2 13ko). LaManna’s next fight will be Saturday, February 9th in Norfolk Virginia at the Norfolk Masonic Temple. LaManna will be facing upset minded Dennis Knifechief (13-9 3ko) in his first fight at 154lb in over 3 years.
It hasn’t been a easy ride for LaManna, 27, who is from Millville New Jersey. LaManna along with his mother Debra LaManna started fast rising promotional company Rising Star Promotions in late 2015 when LaManna couldn’t get any fights on the local scene. “After I took my first lesson against Antoine Douglas, a lot of people wrote me off. My then half promoter Russell Peltz released me, I was getting criticized entirely too much and I just go tired of it. Thankfully I still had my long time promoter Mr. Vincent Ponte of Gulf Stream Promotions who believed in me and took a shot up until early 2017.” LaManna describes his TKO6 loss to Douglas as a lesson because it’s his belief that you never lose if you give it your all. Since that defeat, LaManna piled up a five fight win streak with three of them being on his own promotional card.
“I had to do what I had to do to get back in the picture. I fought for nothing, zero, nada, zip” LaManna said with a high pitch voice. LaManna also quoted “Fighting and risking your life for $0.00 actually sometimes costing me money…. You tell me how that looks and sounds. After I bounced back with five decent wins, I had to make my own deal with Eric Botjer and ROC Nation for my fight with Dusty Harrison fight because nobody else would. Call it what you want, you could of gave that fight to either of us or a draw but it is what it is that’s still my good friend to this day. I’m not looking for a medal or award, but I see other fighters getting PR and credit for coming up the hard way.. WHAT ABOUT ME? Training, working, promoting, making weight AND fighting all to make a dream a reality god willing in due time”. I had to do this sh*t nine times, evening hiring a team, I still was never able to reach my maximum potential in training camps but in my fights I would show the f*ck out because I was angry at my situation.”
In my opinion, being a fighter should require 100% focus, great rest, no drama and a strong team taking care of logistical and training needs. From this interview I did with LaManna, I could tell my the sound in his voice and tears in his eyes that this is far from his career story.
“No sh*t” LaManna said laughing. “I would do anything for my career to me east, sleep, drink BOXING and family but ultimately I wouldn’t change it for one simple reason. Weather I make it or I fail, I will always be able to say I did it my way. I guess it’s on a right path because the WBO has me rated number 13 in the World at 154, and prior to that they had me as low as number 12 at 147 when I was a Welterweight”. In the meantime LaManna will settle with respecting the fact he has to work graveyard shift to provide for his family while pursuing his boxing dream. “It’s definitely a struggle, waking up 3am, working until 12pm-1pm than having to go straight to the gym. I run on low fuel but too be honest the thought of me giving my daughter the world is what pushes me. After the gym I jet home to her, I shower/eat and get as much rest as I can after playing with her because I still have to do my roadwork around 10-11pm.”
My respect for LaManna has sky risen after this interview. In closing I asked Cornflake if he had any messages he would like to say: “It’s my time now. I’ve remained silent and low key for for too long now. It’s time to fight forreal. I fought my way up for $0.00, I want big fights at 154, I know for fact I’m a top player in the division, I just need my opportunity. I’m a promotional free agent and I’m self managed/funded.”
Andre Sterling and Ricky Summers will meet in a British Light-Heavyweight Title Eliminator on the stacked O2 show on Saturday 23rd February.
Sterling versus Summers adds to an action-packed evening, promoted by Poxon Sports for Premier Boxing Champion (PBC), headlined with the long-awaited clash between bitter rivals James DeGale and Chris Eubank Jr., the explosive showdown between Commonwealth Heavyweight Champion Joe Joyce and Former World Champion Bermane Stiverne, the return of Former IBF World Featherweight Champion Lee Selby and the UK debut of Marsellos Wilder, exclusively LIVE on ITV Box Office.
28-year-old Andre Sterling’s career has been going places fast. In his last fight out in November 2018, the New Cross fighter was crowned Southern Area Light-Heavyweight Champion after outpointing the tough Kirk Garvey at The York Hall, Bethnal Green.
That career best win put Sterling forward for his British Title Eliminator opportunity and he knows a victory could land him a dream shot at the prized Lonsdale belt.
The former Fitzroy Lodge amateur is now unbeaten in nine fights with four finishing inside the distance since turning pro in April 2017.
This will be the first time Sterling steps out onto the biggest of stages at The O2, but he’s in a bullish mood and is ready to grasp his golden chance.
Sterling said, “This opportunity is massive for me and I’m grateful. I’m feeling good, happy with my close-knit team, and I’m having a superb training camp. My sparring sessions have been great, and my weight is just where I want it to be. This is the moment I’ve been waiting for and I’m ready. It’s going to elevate me to a new level. My future is very bright and there will be big fights ahead for the British public to savour.”
He added, “Ricky is a good fighter, there’s no doubt about it, but I’ll have too much for him. There’s no way he’ll keep up. I’ll show no mercy and you can tell Ricky that much. I hope he’s ready because I’ll be bringing huge fire power to the fight. That isn’t to say I won’t be vigilant about when I unleash the lion from the cage; you’ll see my boxing skill and pedigree on show. Just watch out.”
For 31-year-old Ricky Summers, who hails from Tipton in the West Midlands, he has already come within touching distance of the British title after challenging for the title against then Champion Frank Buglioni in July 2017 at The O2.
He gave Buglioni a hard first title defence and took the Londoner into the trenches before losing on the scorecards in an action-packed fight. It certainly enhanced Summers’ reputation and he’ll now look to capitalise on that experience against Sterling.
He rebounded strongly after that night, displaying an array of skills, a combination of fast hands and powerful shots, to out box Gonzalo Romero and Tayar Mehmed to take his record to 15 wins from 16 fights.
Not only does Summers feel ready to get back into title contention, but he feels he is even better placed to do so than when he fought Buglioni.
Summers said, “I bounced back in the right way after the Buglioni fight. I lost that night because of experience. Frank wasn’t a better fighter, but he had already boxed on the big stage. Now I have that experience of having already fought at The O2 to take into the ring with me this time. That’s going to be invaluable. I’ve been waiting for this opportunity to get back in the spotlight, and I’m going to take my chance this time. There’s a lot on the line: the loser has nowhere to go, while the winner has bigger things to plan for.”
He added, “I think Andre Sterling is a good fighter and I respect him. He’s accumulated a good record since turning pro. He’s a skilful boxer, but he’s heavy handed. It will be a good clash of styles. I’ll have far too much for him though. I’ve improved tremendously as a fighter. I think the size difference between us will be a factor too.”
Both men have a great opportunity to step up in front of a huge crowd at The O2 and will put everything on the line to secure a victory that with will open doors and propel their careers to new heights.
Jamshid Nazari (3-0, 1 KO) continues his promising career on March 2 with a six-round welterweight clash against Ivica Gogosevic (12-24-2, 5 KOs) on the undercard of Kai Robin Havnaa’s cruiserweight showdown with Rad Rashid.
Nazari is the latest addition to an action-packed show in Arendal, and following victories over Bakar Gelenidze, Nika Nalikashvili and Richard Walter, the Kristiansand-boxer says he is excited to be fighting so close to home.
“I’m looking forward to putting on a great show on March 2 at the SØR Amfi in Arendal,” said Nazari. “Ivica Gogosevic is a strong, experienced opponent, who I’m sure is going to give me a good fight.
“Fighting in Arendal will be like fighting at home. It will be my first time fighting so close to home, so I’m expecting to have a lot of fans coming to support me.”
Although only 26 years old, Nazari has already experienced a lot in life. At the age of 14, he was forced to flee his native Afghanistan after both parents were killed, eventually arriving in Norway, where he discovered his talent for boxing.
When asked what he hopes to achieve in his professional boxing career, the talented fighter does not mention World titles, money or fame, rather he responds: “I want to be a role model for the Afghan & Norwegian youth.”
Kai Robin Havnaa returns to the SØR Amfi in Arendal on March 2 to headline his hometown arena in his toughest career test against Rad Rashid.
Katharina Thanderz provides chief support with a super featherweight clash against unbeaten Brit Rachel Ball, Hadi Srour meets Zoltan Szabo, Anders Eggan faces Frane Radnic and Jamshid Nazari takes on Ivica Gogosevic.