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Brian Castano defends against Erislandy Lara in early 2019

Image: Brian Castano defends against Erislandy Lara in early 2019

By Jim Dower: WBA ‘regular’ junior middleweight champion Brian Castano (15-0, 11 KOs) will be defending his title against former World Boxing Association Super World 154 lb champion Erislandy Lara (25-3-2, 14 KOs) in the first quarter of 2019 on Premier Boxing Champions, according to ESPN.

The negotiations between the management of the 35-year-old Lara and Castano is still taking place. The hard hitting Argentinian Castano was named the WBA World junior middleweight champion outside of the ring in October of 2017. Before that, Castano had won the interim WBA 154 lb title in defeating Emmanuel de Jesus by a 6th round knockout in November of 2016.

Castano recently defended his WBA ‘regular’ title in beating Cedric Vitu by a 12th round knockout last March at the La Seine Musicale, Boulogne-Billancourt, France. That was impressive for Castano to beat Vitu in front of his own boxing fans in France. However, Castano has now been out of the ring for the last nine months, and there’s a very good chance that by the time he does fight again, he’ll have been out of the ring for an entire years. That’s not exactly what you want to see from a top fighter in his prime. Castano is going to need to be a lot busier than this if he wants to get the most out of his career.

Last year in July, Castano beat Michel Soro by a 12 round split decision.

“We made a deal for the fight and we’re waiting on the exact details on when and where the fight will occur but it will be in the first quarter of next year,” Lara’s manaer Luis DeCubas Jr. said to

Lara lost his last fight to Jarrett Hurd by a 12 round split decision last April in a unification fight. Lara was ahead in the fight late when he was dropped by Hurd in the 12th round. The knockdown by Hurd enabled him to get a narrow victory over Lara. That was a punishing fight for Lara, who took a lot of heavy shots from Hurd. That was easily the toughest fight of Lara’s 10-year pro career. It was a tough one for Hurd as well, but he’s accustomed to being involved in grueling fights in which he takes a lot of punishment. The southpaw Lara isn’t used to that. He’s a fighter that likes to move around the ring, jabbing, throwing pot shots to make his opponents miss. Lara either intentionally chose to slug with Hurd or his legs failed him. Lara looked like an aging fighter against Hurd.

Lara tried to move around the ring, but Hurd was able to cut off the ring on him to force him to slug. Lara chose to try and beat Hurd with volume punching, and it was working for him until the championship rounds. That’s when the much younger, stronger and bigger 6’1″ Hurd came on strong and started to land huge shots to the head and body of Lara. The former Cuban amateur star did well initially in taking Hurd’s shots, but it was finally too much for him in the 12th round. Hurd dropped Lara on the canvas, and continued to punish him for the remainder of the round after he got back to his feet.

It’s going to be tough for Castano to take on a seasoned vet like Lara in his first fight in the United States. Castano is getting the fight with Lara at the right time in his career with hi coming off of a hard fight against Hurd. It’s not going to be an easy fight for Castano. If age is starting to catch up to Lara, Castano will expose that, considering how tough of a fighter he is. He’ll force Lara to fight in a war whether he wants to or not. The good thing that Lara will have going for him in the fight besides his experience is the long rest he’ll have had since his last fight. More than anything, Lara needed a good rest after his hard fight against Hurd.

A loss for Lara against Castano would be a huge blow to his career. Lara would need to make a decision whether it’s worth it to carry on with his career or retire. Lara might be able to rebuild himself if he moves up to 160. He rehydrates to over 170 lbs, and that’s a lot of weight for a fighter that fights at 154. Lara might be stronger if he doesn’t have to cut quite as much weight a 160.

As an amateur in Argentina, Castano defeated the likes of Errol Spence Jr. and Esquiva Falcao. Castano defeated Sergiy Derevyanchenko by a 3-0 score in the World Series of Boxing in the 2012-2013 season. Derevyanchenko came into the fight with Castano at 16-0 and looking near unbeatable. Castano had too much talent for Derevyanchenko back then. It would be interesting to see the two face each other in the pro ranks in the future after Castano moves up to 160. Derevyanchenko isn’t going to move down to 154 to fight Castano. The money fights are in the middleweight division.

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