FRIDAY NIGHT FURY: Menard wins UBO lightweight title against Layrea
By: Staff Reports
CHARENTON — Mason Menard of Rayne captured the vacant Universal Boxing Organization’s lightweight title, via a technical knockout victory over battletested Ghanaian Joseph Laryea in the main event of Friday’s first-ever professional boxing card at The Pavilion at Cypress Bayou Casino.
In front of a near sellout crowd, Menard nicknamed “Rock Hard Mighty” got off to a slow start before picking up his pace and stopping Laryea by TKO at the start of the fifth round.
Laryea, 26, (14-6, 11KO’s) retired on his stool because of an injured hand.
“I broke my knuckle in the second round,” Laryea said through a translator. “It’s the same knuckle I broke in my last fight.”
In his last bout prior to facing Menard, Laryea lost by TKO in the seventh round in a World Boxing Organization title fight against Ricky Burns in March.
The hand was swollen after Laryea’s trainers cut off his gloves and hand wraps.
“I’ll be back after my hand heals,” he said. “I think I should get a rematch because I was winning the fight before I hurt my hand.”
One ringside judge had the fight even with Laryea winning the first two rounds, while Menard captured the third and fourth rounds.
After nearly putting on a concert during his ring walk, Laryea used his height and considerable reach advantage to win the early rounds. He used a long left jab to keep the distance while using his range to outbox Menard, but the Rayne favorite often managed to get under his opponents straight punches to land his shots.
“I got off to a slow start and I had to be careful early because he is a good puncher, but I knew I would get my rhythm,” Menard said. “He blamed it on his hand, but every time I hit him to the body he grunted.”
In the third round, Menard’s typical all-action style began to payoff when he started landing quick combinations to body and head.
He clearly landed the more telling blows, but Laryea was still dangerous showing punching power in both hands that kept things interesting even as the pro-Menard crowd got going.
The Acadia Parish fans chanted at full throat, “Choot’em” Mason “Choot’em.”
“It feels good that I had all these people behind me. I’m just blessed,” Menard said. “They helped me get going because I was just warming up when he quit.”
Menard, 22, improved to (17-1 with 13 KO’s) in his young career. He has won 15 straight fights since losing his third pro outing.
“Man, this is a great feeling, winning my first world title and doing it in front of my home folks, it doesn’t get any better than this,” Menard said. “I have always had a dream of winning a world title but I always imagined that it would be down the road when I am 25, 26, 27 years old, fighting in a different state in somebody else’s hometown having to take the title from him.”
Friday’s win may push Menard into several boxing organization’s rankings.
“I don’t know what’s next, but I will fight whoever “Bad Chad” (trainer and manager Chad Broussard) puts in front of me. I tell you what, I hope we can bring the next fight right back here because this was a great crowd.”
The show was promoted by Boxncar Promotions in cooperation with Big Punch Promotions.