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Thomas LaManna stops Juan Carlos Abreu in the third round, wins WBA gold middleweight belt

ATLANTIC CITY – After tearing through the backstage curtain, Thomas LaManna let out a sigh and walked into an empty hallway at Bally's Hotel and Casino to process the moment. Thirteen years earlier, LaManna made his first profile in the same building, and now he received his biggest confirmation as a professional.

The 32-year-old from Millville, NJ knocked out Juan Carlos Abreu in the third round on Saturday, June 8, knocking down the Dominican slugger three times to end the fight in 2:15 and capture the vacant WBA “golden” middleweight title. , the second division belt that LaManna believes makes him first in line to face the renowned champion. It was a milestone in the New Jersey hero's career, validating a career that has seen its fair share of ups and downs.

“It's a real feeling when I have hardware that does something in boxing. Now I'm going from the hunter to the hunted,” said LaManna (38-5-1, 17 strikeouts).

LaManna was originally scheduled to face Johan Gonzalez before Gonzalez pulled out and Abreu (26-8-1, 24 KOs) became the opponent in mid-April. Only LaManna was eligible to win the belt however, after Abreu missed weight, officially weighing in at 162.5 pounds, though he had to cut a few pounds after weighing in at an unofficial weight of about 166 pounds.

LaManna weighs 159.5 pounds.

Abreu's weight issues put a strain on his midsection, which LaManna began to focus on after hearing the first round. Abreu got into good position and was able to land a right hand here and there but it was the 6'1” LaManna's hitting that dominated the game for the most part. LaManna was finally able to make an appearance on Abreu in the third, when a right uppercut scored the first knockdown.

“That was a shot in the chin, I know because the hand once cried a little. Second and third was a big body because we were like rock 'em sock'em robots at the last minute or whatever. Whoever comes first will be one of us. We caught him and got him out of there,” said LaManna.

The win was the culmination of a long streak for LaManna that saw him win his first 16 fights as a player but struggle to break even, losing promotion fights to the likes of Antoine Douglas, Jorge Cota and Brian Mendoza, as well as a first round loss in 2021 to Erislandy Lara for the world title of WBA middleweight.

The win for Abreu, his eighth in a row, is still the best yet, as Abreu showed his class with a majority decision loss to Charles Conwell in 2022 and six rounds in a rematch attempt against Jaron Ennis in 2020.

LaManna's longtime trainer, Reggie Lloyd tells The Ring that Abreu's high knockout percentage didn't bother him much because Abreu doesn't maintain a high work rate and only wants power punches. He said the most important thing is to keep his defense strong and stay active.

“Just to touch the body, stay behind the jab, use his height. We know this guy likes to turn his back, so I was telling him to use a jab and bring a right hand to the body and it broke,” said Lloyd.

LaManna says he plans to apply to the WBA for a second chance at Lara, but is open to other big fight opportunities at 160 pounds.

“Let's try to put it together, that's a good story. But financially, [Lara] don't draw too much. Whatever the major battles are in 160. I've been paired with Chris Eubank, we talked about Jarrett Hurd, Danny Garcia and I are going to be crazy here in Atlantic City. “Since I got that belt, I think it will tighten it up a little where I can get the right opportunity,” said LaManna.

Some results

Chiara Dituri (9-1, 3 KOs) of Brooklyn, NY picked up her second straight win following her first career loss, winning a split decision over Perla Lomeli (5-2) of Mexicali, Mexico. Two judges scored 77-75 and 78-74 for Dituri, while the third scored 77-75 for Lomeli.

Gabriel Gerena (6-0, 5 KOs) picked up his first win since graduating from Rutgers Business School with a degree in finance last month, pushing Lyle McFarlane (2-6, 1 KO) to a stop after the fifth round of their six bout. junior welterweight championship round. Gerena, 22, is from Piscataway, NJ

Justin Palmieri (2-0, 1 KO) of Maple Shade, NJ knocked Andrew Toppin (0-2) down once in the first round before finishing him with a right hand to the body. followed by a hook to the chin in the second round, leading to Corner throwing in the towel at the 2:10 mark. Palmieri, 24, trains alongside LaManna and Reggie Lloyd.

Palmieri, who turned pro last November, had a short career as an ateur of eight bouts, although he did not compete for more than two years before his debut.

“I've always had a professional style, I've never had that kind of speed. I always wanted to pick my shots and make them really count. It was just a matter of time, I wasn't going to be an Olympian or something like that, so I wanted to go professional as soon as possible,” said Palmieri about his decision to become a champion.

Damian Tinnerello (2-0, 2 KOs) of Berlin, NJ scored his second straight win in three months, stopping Brooklyn's Jordan Drayton (0-1) at 2:57 of the opening round of their junior belt four-round middleweight. The 21-year-old Tinnerello, who has been enlisted in the Air National Guard for a year, landed one right hand before a left hook to the body ended matters.

“I put him behind that jab. We did our game plan, we stayed calm, we stayed patient. I saw an opportunity and took it. He wouldn't go in there so I took him out,” said Tinnerello.

The program was promoted by Main Events.


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