Written by John Archibald, Resolution Sports
Two undefeated middleweights will square off in the main event of this Friday night’s ShoBox telecast, setting up the victor for a major elevation to his professional career. Westbury, New York, is the host city for the contest, with Thomas “Cornflake” LaManna (16-0, 7 KOs) and Antoine “Action” Douglas (16-0-1, 10 KOs) playing the lead roles in what should be a very intriguing match-up of two young and hungry fighters.
“Training for this fight has been like nothing else,” LaManna said of preparation. “I was in Eastern PA for about a good month for training camp and finished up back home in New Jersey. I just feel great mentally and physically in every way, and I’m in really high spirits for this fight. I’ve never felt this way about anything. This Friday night, my life is going to change.”
Both LaManna and Douglas enter this bout with 16-0 records, and a win for either would certainly be the greatest of his young career. Both men are well advanced as pros at a very young age (LaManna is 23, Douglas is 22), so a loss would certainly not crush any ambitions they hope to achieve as prizefighters in the long-term. However, no one ever knows how long it could take to get back onto the national stage with an opportunity like the one currently in front of them, so LaManna feels as though he must approach this fight like everything is riding on the outcome.
“This fight has been brought up and offered to me three or four times,” he stated. “Antoine and I are both 16-0, and this is a make or break fight. Who’s really the next up-and-coming guy? That’s how I look at it. There are some people on my team who did not want me to take the fight, but, at the end of the day, this is an opportunity that I can’t turn down. This is an opportunity like the Jamaal Davis fight where I want to see where I’m at. I want to test myself. I’m ultimately the one who made the final call to take this fight. Despite other people’s thoughts, I wanted to do it, and I’m really confident that I made the right move. The bright lights and the TV and all that kind of stuff is just an added bonus. To me, it’s just another day at the office.”
Throughout his career, LaManna has dealt with a heavy stream of doubters and naysayers, but he has always maintained a positive mindset despite all of the negativity. Since turning professional four years ago, he has heard people tell him it was only a matter of time until he was exposed. What those people did not expect was for Lamanna to use them as motivation to work harder and become the fighter that they tried to tell him he could never be. The end result of it all has been someone who constantly improved over a four-year span and did nothing but win.
“The best answer I can give is my faith in God,” he replied when asked how he always remains positive. “I always let the negativity, down talk and haters fuel me. I always said that I never considered myself the best in the world or the greatest of all time, but I always considered myself a hard worker, a learner and a listener. I learn something new every day when I’m in that gym. With each fight and training day, I progress and get better. I just use those negative vibes to fuel me – I’m never gonna be this, or I’m never gonna be that. I’m never gonna get anywhere past the local scene. However, I’ve also had a lot of positive support around me along the way as well. Not only do I feel I need to prove people wrong, I also feel I have to prove myself right and that I can do this thing. We’re here. It’s crazy. Main event on ShoBox. Most boxers never get blessed with this opportunity I’m getting. I’m going to take full, full, full advantage of this.”
As for what people can expect from him come Friday night, LaManna promises that he will give this fight every ounce of effort that he has inside of him.
“I can honestly say that win, lose or draw, I’m going to give it my all, and I’m going to leave everything in the ring,” he remarked. “There is no secret. On paper, in the promoter’s eyes, I’m being brought in so Antoine can enhance his career. But look, I’m not the opponent.
“Expect good, competitive boxing. That is the best way I can put it. You have two young 16-0 boxers fighting each other. That’s beauty. And that’s me talking as a boxing fan. You’re going to see good boxing March 13th, and may the best man win. I have nothing towards Antoine. We came up in the amateurs together. He had a rough upbringing, and it’s motivational for me to see what he has gone through to get here. Friday night, this is business, nothing personal. May the best man win.”
ShoBox: Douglas vs. LaManna gets underway this Friday night on Showtime at 10:00 PM EST.