My Last Shot! Thomas LaManna Battles Juan Abreu for WBA Gold Title in Atlantic City

By Robert Brizel, Head Real Combat Media Boxing Correspondent

Atlantic City, NJ (June 6th, 2024)– Calling his bout this weekend with Juan Carlos Abreu in a Ring Magazine interview, middleweight contender Thomas ‘Cornflake’ LaManna “It’s my last shot, there’s no other way to put it. Only thing left to do is hear and the new WBA Gold World Champion from Millville, New Jersey.” In the main event of a scheduled Rising Star Promotions 10 bout card at Bally’s Atlantic City, New Jersey, on Saturday night, June 8, 2024, LaManna, 37-5-1 with 16 knockouts, Millville, New Jersey, will battle fringe contender Juan Carlos Abreu, 26-7-1 with 24 knockouts, La Romana, Dominican Republic.

Abreu, normally a welterweight and super welterweight, has fought three bouts at middleweight, most recently scoring a second round stoppage of 19-10 Juan Medina in Santo Domingo in January 2024. Abreu lost a 10 round majority decision to 19-0 contender Charles Conwell at Dignity Health Sports park in Carson, California in November 2022, and went six rounds with future World Welterweight champion Jaron Ennis at Mohegan Sun Casino in Uncasville, Connecticut in September 2020, so Abreu remains one of the most dangerous opponents LaManna has faced to date. Abreu holds a win over contender Jesus Soto Karass, stopping him in the eighth round.

LaManna also stated (having sparred with Abreu last year during training camp preparations for junior middleweight contender Jesus Ramos Jr.’s fight with Erickson Lubin, “It was good work, but I’m aiming to make it look easier, and show a different level than our sparring sessions on June 8. It’s crazy how a lot of people aren’t giving me a shot with Abreu. (It’s) nothing new. I will just make it look easy. and have fun doing it”. LaManna is predicted to win by 12 round majority decision in a close hard fought battle. Knockdowns could affect scoring, in which case, the knockdowns favor LaManna, who has more recent experience fighting and sparring in the 160 pounds weight class.

When LaManna fought Erislandy Lara, LaManna had not transitioned fully in the 160 pounds middleweight weight class. Lara, age 41, holds the WBA World Middleweight title but has fought only twice in the past three years, including LaManna. For LaManna, in terms of a ‘last shot’ at a world title, the IBO World, and IBF Interim and WBO Interim World Middleweight titles remain open and up for grabs. There are still possibilities for LaManna at 160 pounds if he continues on his current path.

The WBA Gold Middleweight title is still a significant title, and could become more interesting if Lara vacates or gets stripped.

The IBO Middleweight title is available. The IBO secretary confirmed LaManna was ranked 62nd at middleweight, and Abreu was ranked 53rd at super welterweight. The outcome of the fight, knockout or decision, would impact the way the fighter ratings emerged after the bout. To fight for an IBO world title, a fighter must be ranked in the IBO top 35 worldwide. Exceptions can be made by IBO president Ed Levine for fighters ranked 36 to 50th. To have a chance at the vacant IBO world title, LaManna would have to beat Abreu, and then move up at least 12 places in the IBO computer world rankings to the top 50. LaManna, ranked 90th at middleweight on BoxRec, could possibly be matched against 11-0-1 Sergio Leon Rodriguez of Phoenix, Arizona, ranked 91st on BoxRec, ranked 45th by IBO at middleweight.

Rising Star Promotions Undercard Predictions:

Terrell Bostic Win 8 Carlos Rosario, Lightweights

Vacant World Boxing Association Fedecentro Lightweight title

Chiara Dituri Majority Draw 8 Perla Lomeli, Featherweights (two minute rounds)

Gabriel Gerena TKO 2 Lyle McFarlane, Super Lightweights

Saleh Ali Win 4 Michael Ruiz, Super Featherweights

Delvin McKinley Win 4 Richard Hernandez, Super Flyweights

Justin Palmieri TKO 2 Andrew Toppin, lightweights

Jean Pierre Valencia (Pro Debut) KO 3 Patrick Bernard Harris

Pro Debut for North Bergen New Jersey Diamond Golden Gloves champion Valencia

Damian Tinnerello versus TBA, Super Welterweights

Lawrence Desposito (Pro Debut) versus TBA, Middleweights