World super-welterweight champion from Cuba officially becomes a citizen of the USA.
For purist fans of the sport of boxing, you’ll be more than familiar with the work of Erislandy Lara (22-4-14KO).
As technically gifted a world champion out there, with the exception of perhaps a small few.
He’s been widely avoided ever since making the decision to become a professional boxer back in 2008.
A craft as a profession that is not allowed in his home country of Cuba.
But even if you’re not familiar with his boxing exploits, his story from a human level will hit home for many.
Like many before him who simply wanted to pursue a better life for himself and his family, his travels inevitably led him to America.
The land of opportunity. As they say.
Now he’s WBA (Super) and IBO super-welterweight champion of the world – but it’s been a long time coming for the 33 year old.
A lifetime of work. Of sweat. Of blood.
He’s fought plenty of tough competition to get where he is today to become champion as a prizefighter.
Fighters like Paul Williams, Austin Trout, Canelo Alvarez and Ishe Smith to name a few.
He didn’t do things the easy way, wasn’t pampered with promoters offering him big signing on fees, nor was he a massive sponsorship magnet.
Today marks the culmination of a lot of sacrifice for a man who originally won the World Amateur Championship back in 2005.
Buckets of skill, will and self-belief.
Hats off Erislandy Lara.
Boxing-wise, his last in-ring appearance came last month when he knocked out Yuri Foreman in Florida to defend his titles.
He won’t be giving them up without one hell of a fight anytime soon.
For an interesting insight into what young amateur Cuban boxers have to go through in the early days before getting to the States to turn professional if they want to, basically having to ‘defect’ to pursue their dreams, this documentary by the BBC ‘The Boys who fought for Castro’ is well worth a watch: