By Lem Satterfield
Argentina’s Brian Carlos Castano and Cuban southpaw Erislandy Lara will be coming from opposite spectrums should they clash for Castano’s WBA “regular” junior middleweight world title in a January bout confirmed to be in the works by their respective mangers, Sebastian Contursi and Luis DeCubas Jr.
The 29-year-old Castano (15-0, 11 KOs) survived being dropped in the second round of an interim title-winning two-knockdown, sixth-round KO of Emmanuel de Jesus in November 2016, won a split-decision over Michel Soro in July, and, after being elevated to the status of WBA regular champion, stopped left-handed Cedric Vitu by 12th-round TKO in March.
The 35-year-old Lara (25-3-2, 14 KOs) is coming off April’s split-decision unification loss to Jarrett Hurd (22-0, 15 KOs), who secured the victory with a final-round knockdown off a short, hybrid left hook-uppercut with 37 seconds left, adding Lara’s IBO, WBA “super” world title to the IBF version Hurd already owned.
Down on all four with his right eye nearly closed to a slit, Lara gamely rose only to lose his status as the 154-pound division’s longest reigning champion.
Castano is not only encouraged by what he saw Hurd do to Lara, but from his own domination of Vitu, a southpaw whose 11-0 run (four knockouts) succumbed to a fusillade of blows and his first career stoppage loss.
“I’m working to change the order or things soon by defeating Erislandy Lara,” said Castano. “He is a renowned and talented fighter who presents a big challenge for me because of his elusive style. I would like to be the first one to knock him out, for which I will have to work really smart to accomplish.”
“El Boxi” has grown accustomed to overcoming adversity. De Jesus scored an early second-round knockdown, but was dropped, himself, once each in the first and sixth by Castano’s powerful right hands, the last to the solar plexus sending the Puerto Rican for good.
Castano was the underdog against Soro, who was not only fighting before his partisan French fans, but had gone 8-0-1 with eight knockouts in his previous nine fights, including seven straight stoppages.
Castano went 181-5-5 as an amateur, earning a South American Games gold medal. Along the way, Castano defeated current 147-pound champion Errol Spence, 2012 Olympic silver medalist Esquiva Falcao and, in the World Series of Boxing, Sergiy Derevyanchenko, last weekend’s split-decision loser to Daniel Jacobs in a clash for the IBF’s vacant 160-pound world title.