Erislandy Lara

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Erislandy Lara
Erislandy Lara.jpg
Lara vs. Brewer, 2010
Real name Erislandy Lara Santoya
  • El Oro de Guantanamo
  • The American Dream
Rated at Light middleweight
Height 5 ft 9 in (175 cm)
Reach 75 in (191 cm)
  • Cuban
  • American
Born (1983-04-11) April 11, 1983 (age 34)
Guantanamo, Cuba
Stance Southpaw
Boxing record
Total fights 28
Wins 24
Wins by KO 14
Losses 2
Draws 2

Erislandy Lara Santoya (born April 11, 1983) is a Cuban American professional boxer. He has held the WBA light middleweight title since 2014 (promoted to Super champion in 2016) and the IBO light middleweight title since 2015. As of May 2017, he is ranked as the world's best light middleweight by The Ring magazine, second by BoxRec, and fifth by the Transnational Boxing Rankings Board.

Lara is widely regarded as one of the most technically skilled fighters in boxing today.[1] He was captain of the Cuban national amateur team, winning a gold medal in the welterweight division at the 2005 World Championships as well as three consecutive Cuban national championships from 2005 to 2007.[2]

Amateur career[edit]

In 2003 and 2004, Lara lost four times against two-time world champion Lorenzo Aragon.

In 2005 after Aragon stepped down, Lara bested his countryman Yudel Jhonson Cedeno repeatedly and was sent to the world championships. There he avenged an earlier loss to Russian Andrey Balanov, beat American Boyd Melson, upset top favorite and Olympic champion Bakhtiyar Artayev (31–22), and won Gold against Magomed Nurutdinov (BLR).

Lara has lost twice to another Kazakh, Bakhyt Sarsekbayev. In their only meeting, Lara beat American world champion Demetrius Andrade 9–4.

Boxing World Cup[edit]

  • 2005 in Moscow, Russia (welterweight)
    • Defeated Manon Boonjumnong (Thailand) 21–9
    • Defeated Stefan Dragomir (Romania) RSC–3
    • Defeated Bakhyt Sarsekbayev (Kazakhstan) 39–33
    • Lost to Andrey Balanov (Russia) 21–36


Erislandy Lara was considered a favorite to win the gold medal at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games. However, in 2007, Lara and Guillermo Rigondeaux defected from Cuba during the Pan American Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Some weeks later, he was caught by Brazilian authorities and returned to Cuba where he was banned from practicing boxing indefinitely.

In 2008, Lara attempted a second defection, this time on a speed boat to Mexico. Lara was successful and made his way to Hamburg, Germany, where he joined former Olympic champions Odlanier Solis, Yan Barthelemy, and Yuriorkis Gamboa in the Arena Box-Promotion stable.

Professional career[edit]

Early fights[edit]

On January 1, 2009, Erislandy Lara made his ESPN debut and scored a first-round TKO against Rodrigo Aguiar.

Lara's following fight came on February 20, 2009, against Keith Gross. Lara dropped Gross with a left hand, but Gross beat the count on wobbly legs. Lara continued unleashing combinations to the head and body. A left uppercut finished the fight within round one.

On May 2, 2009, on the Pacquiao vs. Hatton undercard, Lara faced Chris Gray. Lara won the fight via unanimous decision.

On May 22, 2009, Lara faced aging Edwin Vazquez. Lara finished the fight with good combinations, prompting the referee to stop the fight in round four. On that same night, fellow Cuban boxer Guillermo Rigondeaux made his pro debut, which he also won via referee stoppage in the third round.

After beating Edwin Vazquez, Lara went on to win nine straight fights punctuated by four consecutive first-round knockout victories.

Lara vs. Molina[edit]

On March 25, 2011, at The Cosmopolitan in Las Vegas, Lara fought Carlos Molina to a ten-round majority draw. Lara started by frequently targeting Molina's body with the left uppercut when Molina would attempt to close the distance. Early on Molina seemed to predict and nullify much of Lara's attempted one-two combinations. Although Lara had trouble connecting his signature straight left hand initially, he found the distance by the middle rounds, began to mix in short hooks to the head, and blocked most of Molina's constant body work. Molina, on the other hand, was rarely able to find Lara's head throughout the entire fight. Relying on looping punches, Molina stayed close and took advantage of the clinches to land to the body. Visibly fatigued, Molina developed a cut under his left eye near the beginning of the ninth round as Lara landed a hard, clean straight left hand and pushed the pace. Molina's higher output and pressure were favored by one judge while Lara's cleaner, sharper output and defense went largely unnoticed by ringside commentators. The final scorecards read: 95–95, 95–95, and 97–93 in favor of Molina.[3]

Lara vs. Williams[edit]

Lara fought former WBO welterweight champion Paul Williams on July 9, 2011, in Atlantic City where he lost a majority decision. Judges Don Givens (116–114) and Hilton Whitaker II (115–114) both favored Williams, while Al Bennett scored it even at 114–114.[4] Most boxing analysts and fans believed that Lara clearly won the fight and had been unfairly judged. Lara was able to land hard, clean left hands throughout the fight while maintaining superb defense. Williams appeared hurt in the later rounds but did, however, keep up a high output of punches despite their relative ineffectiveness. CompuBox recorded Lara landing 49 percent of his power punches compared to 21 percent by Williams. Lara also landed seven more jabs and 17 more power punches than Williams, despite the near two-fold activity by Williams.[5] Consequently, the New Jersey State Athletic Control Board suspended all three judges, and Lara received his first loss as a professional fighter.[6][7]

WBC light middleweight title eliminator[edit]

Lara vs. Hearns[edit]

On April 20, 2012, Lara made his comeback to the ring after nine months to fight Ronald Hearns for the WBC light middleweight semi-final eliminator spot at the Beau Rivage casino resort in Biloxi, Mississippi. The fight, which was scheduled to go ten rounds, simply lasted one minute and 34 seconds as Lara delivered an impressive TKO in the first round. Referee Keith Hughes decided to stop the fight after Lara had sent Hearns to the canvas once with a clean left hook that required count and immediately after delivered two fast combinations (one of which also required count) that seemed to be enough to overwhelm Hearns who seconds before the stop by the referee appeared to be defenseless upon Lara's final combination.

Lara vs. Martirosyan[edit]

On November 10, 2012, at the Wynn Resort in Las Vegas, Lara faced Vanes Martirosyan, who was undeafeted at the time and known for his amateur wins over Andre Berto, Austin Trout, and Timothy Bradley. Lara connected on 42 percent of his power punches (40/95) while Martirosyan landed 16 percent of his (27/167) and only 6 jabs throughout the entire fight, according to CompuBox. Lara outlanded Martirosyan in overall punches, 74 to 33.[8] After a clash of heads resulted in a gash over Martirosyan's left eye in the ninth round, the ringside doctor waved off the fight. The referee ordered the judges to score the final 26 seconds of the bout, which resulted in a technical draw (87–84 in favor of Lara, 86–85 in favor of Martirosyan, and 86–86). Dave Moretti was responsible for the tied scorecard and judged the ninth round as 10–10, disagreeing with the other two judges who scored the final 26 seconds as 10–9 for Lara.[9]

WBA light middleweight champion[edit]

Lara vs. Angulo[edit]

On June 8, 2013, at the Home Depot Center in Carson, California, Lara received the first two knockdowns of his professional career en route to earning a TKO victory over Mexico's Alfredo Angulo along with the interim WBA light middleweight title. Angulo's left hook was vicious as he rushed in, guarded and low. Lara, in return, was able to utilize zigzag formations and vary the speed of his movement to bait Angulo's aggression. Lara was defensively responsible for the vast majority of the bout and had beautiful technique in throwing his straight left hand, generating power through his legs and rotating his hips by pivoting off his foot.[10] Lara landed 56 percent of his power punches while Angulo landed 31 percent of his, according to CompuBox.[11] The fight was stopped in round ten when Angulo refused to continue after a straight left hand by Lara caused swelling around his right eye. Angulo's injury was later revealed to be a broken orbital bone.[12]

Lara vs. Trout[edit]

On December 7, 2013, Lara faced Austin Trout at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. Considered the favorite to win, Trout had recently beaten Miguel Cotto. Lara, however, put on a dominant performance as he immediately nullified Trout’s offense using deft footwork and clean punching. In outclassing Trout, Lara scored a knockdown in round eleven via straight left hand. Trout was hurt for the remainder of the round as Lara pressed the action. Lara cruised to the unanimous decision (117–111, 117–111, and 118–109) and retained his interim WBA light middleweight title.[13]

Lara vs. Álvarez[edit]

Lara fought Canelo Álvarez on July 12, 2014, at the MGM Grand in a non-title match. Lara's WBA light middleweight title was not on the line as the fight took place at a 155-pound catchweight, and both fighters weighed in at precisely 155 pounds. Álvarez rehydrated to 171 pounds while Lara came into the ring at 166 pounds. In a very close and competitive fight that went to a split decision, Álvarez came out on top with the two judges scoring 115–113 in favor of each fighter and the final judge scoring 117–111 in favor of Álvarez.[14] The final scorecard was controversial as many observers considered it far too wide. According to CompuBox, Lara landed 55 jabs to nine from Álvarez, who landed the jab at a five percent connect rate. Álvarez managed to land 88 power punches (73 to the body) while Lara landed 53 power punches all to the head. Lara's clean punching along with his defense and movement were weighed against Álvarez's effective aggressiveness.[15] Lara came out in dominant fashion, utilizing a stick-and-move style and capturing the early rounds. Álvarez was later able to hammer away to the body when he had Lara on the ropes but never adjusted to Lara's one-two combinations. Lara's lead hand played a huge role in this combination's effectiveness, but his output dropped in the middle rounds. Álvarez was able to cut Lara with a lead left uppercut in the seventh round.[16] Although the decision remains controversial, any talk of a rematch in the future was dismissed by Oscar De La Hoya who went on to say, "No one wants a rematch."[17] This fight resulted in Lara's second professional loss.

Lara vs. Smith[edit]

On December 12, 2014, at the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas, Lara showcased his ability to move in range to punch and then swiftly escape without taking damage against Ishe Smith. Lara consistently landed the straight left hand after “blinding” or “occupying” Smith’s guard with the lead hand. Lara would move in a forward direction towards Smith and escape in a linear direction, oftentimes sidestepping, while landing the one-two combination. This lateral movement was enhanced by Lara’s wide boxing stance, which also enhanced Lara’s punching power. Lara was frequently able to turn Smith into additional punches by stepping around Smith’s lead foot, thus enabling Lara to set traps.[18] Lara dominated the fight and successfully defended his WBA (Regular) light middleweight title by unanimous decision with the scorecards reading: 119–109, 119–109, and 117–111.[19]

WBA and IBO light middleweight champion[edit]

Lara vs. Rodríguez[edit]

On June 12, 2015, Lara defended his WBA (Regular) light middleweight title and won the vacant IBO light middleweight title against Delvin Rodríguez at the UIC Pavilion in Chicago. In a technical exhibition, Lara's exquisite timing and fast hands allowed him to outland Rodríguez 233 to 63 in total punches and connect on 62 percent of his power punches. Lara was able to score a knockdown in round six via straight left hand. In a virtual shutout, Lara earned a unanimous decision with all three judges agreeing 120–107.[20]

Lara vs. Zaveck[edit]

On November 25, 2015, Lara defended his WBA and IBO light middleweight titles against Jan Zaveck in Hialeah, Florida. On a wetted canvas due to prior heavy rain, Lara began by walking down Zaveck who was relying on wide punches. Lara continued to stay in the pocket and countered Zaveck, halting his aggression. At the end of round two, Zaveck was hurt after Lara split his jab with a clean left hand. Lara landed a straight left hand at the start of round three followed by a series of combinations punctuating with an uppercut at which point Zaveck put his hand out, turned away, and refused to continue. Zaveck appeared to be in quite a lot of pain after the fight, which was stopped 41 seconds into round three.[21][22]

Lara vs. Martirosyan II[edit]

It was announced that Lara would be defending his titles in a rematch from 2012 with Vanes Martirosyan, which ended in a draw. The fight was to take place as part of a triple header also including the Charlo twins and Austin Trout.[23] The fight took place on May 21, 2016 in Las Vegas. On fight night, Lara unofficially weighed 160.5 pounds while Martirosyan came in at 170 pounds. Martirosyan spent much of the fight attempting to impose his strength and body work on Lara. As a result, Martirosyan inadvertently landed multiple low blows until he was deducted a point in the eleventh round. The bout was also plagued by head clashes much like during their previous encounter. In the early rounds both men stayed in perfect range, each relying on their own reflexes and quick transitions from defense to offense. Lara found openings for his sharp punches. As the fight progressed, he was more mobile and dictated the pace, outmaneuvering Martirosyan while managing to land flashy 1-2-1 combinations. After seizing ring generalship, Paulie Malignaggi noted Lara's "fluid footwork" and a resemblance to Pernell Whitaker as he often ducked low and displayed tricky pivot moves to evade Martirosyan's punches by inches. Lara landed 63 jabs and 60% of his power punches to Martirosyan's 16 jabs and 23% power punch connect rate.[24]

Lara vs. Foreman[edit]

Early reports on November 30, 2016, stated that there were talks of Lara to defend his WBA and IBO titles against former WBA light middleweight champion Yuri Foreman (34-2, 10 KOs). Lara's team was also in talks with Luis Collazo.[25] It was confirmed that the fight against Foreman would headline the Premier Boxing Champions on January 13, 2017. The fight was held at the Hialeah Park Racing and Casino in Miami, Florida, in front of a largely Cuban crowd.[26] Foreman was knocked down in round three. Upon closer inspection, the fall could easily have been ruled a slip. Lara won the fight after delivering a knockout in the fourth round via left uppercut. Although Foreman beat the count, he was on unsteady legs after multiple attempts to get back up. The referee promptly waved off the bout. In the post-fight interview, Lara expressed his desire to finally face off with unified middleweight titlist Gennady Golovkin and rematch lineal middleweight titlist Canelo Álvarez.[27][28] The fight averaged 547,000 viewers on Spike TV and peaked at 707,000. Considering the lackluster matchups on the card, this Friday night boxing event was a hit.[29]

Professional boxing record[edit]

Professional record summary
28 fights 24 wins 2 losses
By knockout 14 0
By decision 10 2
Draws 2
No. Result Record Opponent Type Round, time Date Location Notes
28 Win 24–2–2 Israel Yuri Foreman KO 4 (12), 1:47 Jan 13, 2017 United States Race Track, Hialeah, Florida, U.S. Retained WBA and IBO light middleweight titles
27 Win 23–2–2 United States Vanes Martirosyan UD 12 May 21, 2016 United States Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas, Paradise, Nevada, U.S. Retained WBA and IBO light middleweight titles
26 Win 22–2–2 Slovenia Jan Zaveck TKO 3 (12), 0:41 Nov 25, 2015 United States Race Track, Hialeah, Florida, U.S. Retained WBA and IBO light middleweight titles
25 Win 21–2–2 Dominican Republic Delvin Rodríguez UD 12 Jun 12, 2015 United States UIC Pavilion, Chicago, Illinois, U.S. Retained WBA (Regular) light middleweight title;
Won vacant IBO light middleweight title
24 Win 20–2–2 United States Ishe Smith UD 12 Dec 12, 2014 United States Alamodome, San Antonio, Texas, U.S. Retained WBA (Regular) light middleweight title
23 Loss 19–2–2 Mexico Canelo Álvarez SD 12 Jul 12, 2014 United States MGM Grand Garden Arena, Paradise, Nevada, U.S.
22 Win 19–1–2 United States Austin Trout UD 12 Dec 7, 2013 United States Barclays Center, New York City, New York, U.S. Retained WBA interim light middleweight title
21 Win 18–1–2 Mexico Alfredo Angulo TKO 10 (12), 1:11 Jun 8, 2013 United States Home Depot Center, Carson, California, U.S. Won vacant WBA interim light middleweight title
20 Draw 17–1–2 United States Vanes Martirosyan TD 9 (12), 0:26 Nov 10, 2012 United States Wynn, Paradise, Nevada, U.S. Split TD after Martirosyan sustained a cut from an accidental head clash
19 Win 17–1–1 Mexico Freddy Hernández UD 10 Jun 30, 2012 United States Fantasy Springs Resort Casino, Indio, California, U.S.
18 Win 16–1–1 United States Ronald Hearns TKO 1 (10), 1:34 Apr 20, 2012 United States Beau Rivage, Biloxi, Mississippi, U.S.
17 Loss 15–1–1 United States Paul Williams MD 12 Jul 9, 2011 United States Boardwalk Hall, Atlantic City, New Jersey, U.S.
16 Draw 15–0–1 Mexico Carlos Molina MD 10 Mar 25, 2011 United States Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas, Paradise, Nevada, U.S.
15 Win 15–0 United States Delray Raines KO 1 (10), 2:59 Jan 14, 2011 United States Fantasy Springs Resort Casino, Indio, California, U.S.
14 Win 14–0 United States Tim Connors TKO 1 (10), 1:38 Nov 27, 2010 United States MGM Grand Garden Arena, Paradise, Nevada, U.S. Won vacant WBA Fedelatin light middleweight title
13 Win 13–0 United States Willie Lee TKO 1 (10), 1:48 Aug 18, 2010 United States Civic Center, Monroe, Louisiana, U.S.
12 Win 12–0 Puerto Rico William Correa TKO 1 (10), 2:34 Jul 9, 2010 United States Softball Country Arena, Denver, Colorado, U.S.
11 Win 11–0 United States Danny Perez UD 10 Apr 2, 2010 United States Hard Rock Hotel and Casino, Paradise, Nevada, U.S.
10 Win 10–0 United States Grady Brewer TKO 10 (10), 2:44 Jan 29, 2010 United States Hard Rock Hotel and Casino, Paradise, Nevada, U.S.
9 Win 9–0 Mexico Luciano Perez UD 10 Dec 12, 2009 United States UIC Pavilion, Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
8 Win 8–0 Nicaragua Jose Varela KO 1 (8), 2:12 Sep 19, 2009 United States MGM Grand Garden Arena, Paradise, Nevada, U.S.
7 Win 7–0 United States Darnell Boone UD 6 Jul 17, 2009 United States Planet Hollywood Resort and Casino, Paradise, Nevada, U.S.
6 Win 6–0 Puerto Rico Edwin Vazquez TKO 4 (8), 1:13 May 22, 2009 United States Fontainebleau Hotel, Miami, Florida, U.S.
5 Win 5–0 United States Chris Gray UD 4 May 2, 2009 United States MGM Grand Garden Arena, Paradise, Nevada, U.S.
4 Win 4–0 United States Keith Gross KO 1 (4), 1:09 Feb 20, 2009 United States Don Taft University Center, Fort Lauderdale, Florida, U.S.
3 Win 3–0 United States Rodrigo Aguiar TKO 1 (4), 2:59 Jan 9, 2009 United States Buffalo Bill's, Primm, Nevada, U.S.
2 Win 2–0 Latvia Deniss Aleksejevs TKO 1 (4), 2:19 Sep 12, 2008 Germany Kugelbake-Halle, Cuxhaven, Germany
1 Win 1–0 Russia Ivan Maslov PTS 4 Jul 4, 2008 Turkey Buyuk Anadolu Hotel, Ankara, Turkey Professional debut


  1. ^ Kelsey McCarson. "The Underappreciated Boxing Brilliance of Erislandy Lara". The Sweet Science. 
  2. ^ "Erislandy Lara". Archived from the original on 2015-07-07. 
  3. ^ "Erislandy Lara, Carlos Molina Ends in a Majority Draw - Boxing News". 2011-03-26. Retrieved 2014-05-08. 
  4. ^ "Paul Williams looks to rebound from knockout in bout against Erislandy Lara - ESPN". 2011-05-20. Retrieved 2014-05-08. 
  5. ^ "Paul Williams vs. Erislandy Lara - CompuBox Stats". Retrieved 2016-06-21. 
  6. ^ "Paul Williams-Erislandy Lara judges suspended by New Jersey State Athletic Control Board". 2011-07-13. Retrieved 2016-06-21. 
  7. ^ "Williams-Lara Result Upsets HBO Broadcasters". SportsGrid. 2011-07-10. Retrieved 2014-05-08. 
  8. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on April 4, 2016. Retrieved March 25, 2016. 
  9. ^ "Martirosyan vs Lara results: Headbutt results in technical draw after nine rounds". Bad Left Hook. Retrieved 2016-06-21. 
  10. ^ "Erislandy Lara vs Alfredo Angulo - Film Study". YouTube. 2014-05-10. Retrieved 2016-06-21. 
  11. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on March 9, 2016. Retrieved January 12, 2016. 
  12. ^ Scott Christ. "Angulo vs Lara results: Erislandy Lara gets off canvas twice, stops Angulo in 10th round". Bad Left Hook. 
  13. ^ ringtv (8 December 2013). "Erislandy Lara drops, dominates Austin Trout to unanimous decision". Ring TV. 
  14. ^ "Canelo Affirms superstar status with split decision over Erislandy Lara - Bleacher Report". 2014-07-13. Retrieved 2014-07-14. 
  15. ^ "Alvarez beats Lara but the debate on who 'really' won continues - Ring TV". 2014-07-13. Retrieved 2016-06-21. 
  16. ^ Erislandy Lara vs Canelo - Lara Film Study. YouTube. 6 October 2014. 
  17. ^ "Oscar De La Hoya Wont Explore Canelo Alvarez Rematch - Las Vegas Sun". 2014-07-13. Retrieved 2014-07-14. 
  18. ^ ★ Erislandy Lara vs Ishe Smith - Film Study ★. YouTube. 6 February 2015. 
  19. ^ Joseph Zucker. "Erislandy Lara vs. Ishe Smith: Winner, Scorecard and Analysis". Bleacher Report. 
  20. ^ "Erislandy Lara earns unanimous-decision win over Delvin Rodriguez to keep junior middleweight title". 
  21. ^ "Erislandy Lara beats Jan Zaveck to defend junior middleweight title". 2015-11-26. Retrieved 2016-06-21. 
  22. ^ "PBC on ESPN results: Erislandy Lara dominates, stops Jan Zaveck in 3". Bad Left Hook. Retrieved 2016-06-21. 
  23. ^ "LARA VS. MARTIROSYAN". Retrieved December 1, 2016. 
  24. ^ "Lara vs Martirosyan II results: Erislandy Lara wins decision to retain WBA title". Bad Left Hook. 2016-05-22. Retrieved 2016-06-21. 
  25. ^ "ERISLANDY LARA AND YURI FOREMAN CLOSE TO DEAL FOR JAN. FIGHT". The Ring. November 30, 2016. Retrieved December 1, 2016. 
  26. ^ "Erislandy Lara to defend against Yuri Foreman". Ring News 24. 2016-12-14. Retrieved 2016-12-14. 
  27. ^ "Erislandy Lara stops Yuri Foreman in four rounds - The Ring". The Ring. 2017-01-14. Retrieved 2017-01-15. 
  28. ^ "WBA champ Lara targets GGG and Canelo • Boxing News". Boxing News. 2017-01-14. Retrieved 2017-01-15. 
  29. ^ "Erislandy Lara-Yuri Foreman Card Generates 547,000 Viewers". Boxing Scene. January 20, 2017. Retrieved January 21, 2017. 

External links[edit]

Sporting positions
Regional boxing titles
Title last held by
Austin Trout
WBA Fedelatin light middleweight champion
November 27, 2010 – June 2011
Title next held by
Jonathan González
Minor world boxing titles
Title last held by
Zaurbek Baysangurov
IBO light middleweight champion
June 12, 2015 – present
Major world boxing titles
Preceded by
Anthony Mundine
WBA light middleweight champion
Interim title

June 8, 2013 – March 13, 2014
Title next held by
Jack Culcay-Keth
Title last held by
Austin Trout
as Regular champion
WBA light middleweight champion
Regular title until September 12, 2015
March 13, 2014 – June 8, 2016
Succeeded by
Jack Culcay-Keth
as Regular champion
Preceded by
Floyd Mayweather Jr.
WBA light middleweight champion
Super title

June 8, 2016 – present