For one night Brooklyn becomes Cuba. On March 2nd, Cuban boxing star and former 154-pound world champion Erislandy Lara seeks to return to the championship ranks. He challenges undefeated contender Brian Castaño at Barclays Center in Brooklyn. However, Erislandy Lara is not the only Cubano fighting in Brooklyn on the 2nd. Top heavyweight contender Luis Ortiz will face Christian Hammer in a 10-round co-featured bout.
“This night of exciting action is headlined by two Cuban stars who will surely put on a display of immense skill and determination that Cuban boxers are known for,” said Tom Brown, President of TGB Promotions. “Erislandy Lara has long been one of the best, if not number one, in the 154-pound division and he will look to get right back into that class by taking the WBA title from a hard-hitting and undefeated Argentine in Brian Castaño.”
Luis Ortiz has another opportunity to show why he’s one of the most-feared punchers in the heavyweight division and prove that he deserves a rematch for the title with Deontay Wilder. Christian Hammer has fought against the best at heavyweight and he isn’t coming here to lie down for Ortiz.
“Over the last few years Showtime has spotlighted the progression of the super welterweight and heavyweight divisions as they have emerged as two of the hottest and deepest in the sport,” said Stephen Espinoza, President of Sports and Event Programming, Showtime. “On March 2, we will further that with a pair of the most dangerous and perhaps most avoided fighters in boxing in Erislandy Lara and Luis Ortiz. Both are in significant and difficult matchups. Brian Castaño is young, undefeated and although already the champion, looking to make a mark on the division with a signature win over Lara. Add in an all-action 130-pound bout and we have a dynamite three-fight card.”
“Erislandy Lara is one of the most talented junior middleweights in the world, and while Brian Castaño is not yet a household name, he was a world renowned amateur and is undefeated as a pro,” said Lou DiBella, President of DiBella Entertainment. “This is a must-win fight for Lara and Castaño’s chance to establish himself as one of boxing’s rising stars.”
“Luis Ortiz is a dangerous man. His ‘King Kong’ nickname is appropriate, as no one wants to fight the beast. You saw why in his spectacular challenge against Deontay Wilder. Tested world class contender Christian Hammer will attempt to derail ‘King Kong’ in his quest to secure another world title shot.”
Lara (25-3-2, 14 KOs) was the longest reigning 154-pound champion until he lost a split decision to Jarrett Hurd on April 7 in a unification bout. Now the 39-year-old Lara, who was born in Guantanamo, Cuba and lives in Houston, looks to grab a title and once again stake his claim as one of the division’s best. He has one of the strongest resumes in the division, having fought Hurd and former 154-pound champions Canelo Alvarez and Austin Trout.
“I’m very excited to be back headlining Showtime in another major fight,” said Lara. “Brian Castaño is a young undefeated champion with a strong amateur pedigree. I look forward to being in the ring with him and putting on a great fight for the fans. I can’t wait to being crowned world champion again. Everyone tune in March 2nd, you don’t want to miss the whole card, it’s going to be sensational.”
‘King Kong’ returns to New York on March 2 as Ortiz (30-1, 26 KOs), a southpaw power puncher, enters the ring with two solid knockout victories under his belt since losing to WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder at Barclays Center last March. The 39-year-old Ortiz, who is from Camaguey, Cuba and now lives in Miami, Florida, is still considered one of the top five heavyweights in the division. He most recently scored a knockout victory over Travis Kauffman on December 1.
“‘King Kong’ is coming back to Brooklyn!” said Ortiz. “I’m very excited to be back…in a huge event at Barclays Center. Christian Hammer is a very good fighter and I will be prepared for the best he has to offer. Come March 2, I’m hammering my way past him and setting up a clash with the winner of Wilder-Fury II or Anthony Joshua. I can’t wait till Brooklyn.”
On the prospect of co-featuring a night with his countryman, Lara stated “”Luis Ortiz and I go way back and I’m happy that my brother is fighting on the same card as me,” said Lara. “We’ve gone through a lot since leaving Cuba to pursue our dreams of becoming world champions here in the U.S. Like myself, I know he’s going to be ready to entertain the fans on fight night and make this a memorable night for Cuban boxing!”