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January 07, 2019

By G. Leon

Greg Leon: You're getting ready to fight Brian Carlos Castano [15-0]. How has everything been going in preparation for the bout? 

Erislandy Lara: I've already been training for the last six weeks. I'm going to really be turning things up right now, I'm looking forward to be back in another big fight for the world title. My last fight was the fight of the year in a fight that I felt I won, but it was a close fight. I don't like to go backwards though, I like to go forward so I'm just looking forward to facing my third straight undefeated opponent. Castano is a good fighter, he's an Olympian and he's a real fighter.

GL: It's a title fight, but it's a secondary title [WBA regular junior middleweight title] fight. Why Castano? Is this the fight you really wanted?

Erislandy Lara: "Everybody knows that I wanted the rematch with [IBF/WBA champion] Jarrett Hurd, but he had a shoulder injury and wasn't willing to fight me coming off it. I wanted the rematch and it wasn't available for me. Sometimes in boxing you have to go with the best guy available and I feel like that guy is Castano for me. I think people criticize the secondary title when they choose to because some people are out there crowning Canelo [Saul Alvarez, who won the WBA regular title at super middleweight] for winning a secondary title and treating him like he's King Kong, but I just got to focus on Castano. He's a world champion, he went to France to win the belt and he's a real fighter with a serious amateur background. He's got [amateur] wins over Errol Spence and Sergey Derevyanchenko, so I have to be at my best to win this fight."

GL: Are you disappointed you're not fighting Hurd on March 2nd?

EL: "My main focus right now is on Brian Castano. Obviously that rematch is the fight I want and I wanted it now, but once that couldn't happen I had to re-focus on what's in front of me. I feel like all of those big fights are going to still be there for me because win, lose or draw, people know that whenever you're fighting me you're going to be in there with one of the best boxers in the world."

GL: Do you feel like you have to make a statement on March 2nd to make sure that your next fight is for a real world title?

EL: "No. I think I just got to go out there and be me. I got to win. Coming off a fight like Hurd where it was a great fight that I thought I won, I got to make sure I don't leave any doubt. I'm not trying to have two losses in a row on my record. I'm going out there to beat this young champion and to take his belt. After that if Hurd, Charlo, Harrison, any of them, if they want a big name I'm going to be here waiting for them."

GL: What did you think about Tony Harrison's win over Jermell Charlo [for the WBC junior middleweight title]?

EL: "I didn't watch a lot of it to be honest, but from what I hear it was a very good fight and there's going to be a rematch."

GL: Will this fight go the distance?

EL: "I don't like to get into all that, but I'm going train and be ready and I'm going to win this fight by any means necessary. I'm going to take it to another level on fight night."

GL: Is there anything you'd like to say in closing?

EL: "I'm just excited to get back in there in another big fight, I was excited to see that my last fight was the fight of the year because that meant a lot to me. Having that on my resume is something that means a lot to me. Right now my main focus is on becoming a two time world champion, this is my main goal."

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