Menard ‘Ready for war’ in tonight’s lightweight title fight

By: From Staff and Wire Reports
From Staff and Wire Reports

Weigh-ins for Friday’s first ever pro boxing card at The Pavillion at Cypress Bayou Casino and Shorty’s in Charenton got under way with some fireworks Thursday.

Billed as “Friday Night Fury,” the main event’s participants Mason Menard of Rayne and Joseph Laryea of Ghana, both predicted victory.

Menard (16-1, 12 KOs), nicknamed “Mighty,” is the current Universal Boxing Organization All-America and Louisiana state lightweight champion.

But he steps up in competition Friday, when he challenges Laryea for the vacant UBO lightweight title.

Laryea (14-5, 11 KOs), nicknamed “Mandingo,” recently fought for the World Boxing Organization’s world title in March. He was unable to come out for the eighth round after suffering a right hand injury.

Both fighters easily made the 135-pound weight limit with Menard tipping the scales at 133.8 pounds, while Laryea weighed 133.1 pounds for the scheduled 12-round bout.

But that’s when things got interesting.

After the customary stare down, both fighters predicted a short night’s work.

“I’m ready for war,” Menard said. “I’m feeling great, my preparations are going great. I’m on a great diet, sleep, running, everything is on schedule and if he thinks he going to come here and beat me, he’s dreaming.”

The Louisiana native is expecting a big turnout from his relatives and friends.

“To have your own people behind you, supporting you, rooting you on throughout the whole fight, when things get rough or when things are easy, it’s always great to have your people watching you,” he said. “I hope the folks here will also come out and support me against this guy. They will get a show.”

Fighting in Louisiana for his first world title is a dream come true for Menard.

“I always had a dream of winning a world title fight, but I never thought that in my 18th professional fight that I would be fighting for a world title right here at home. 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 try to take the title from him.”

Menard is on a 14-fight winning streak since his sole setback in his third professional fight.

Laryea, however, doesn’t see a way he can lose.

“This is a great opportunity and I’m not hurt this time. I’m a world traveled fighter and this guy hasn’t fought anybody like me. I’m gonna knock him out in three (rounds),” he said. “I’m ready to get a title so I can move on to bigger things. My last fight was in Scotland; his fans can’t help him fight.”

The under-card will also feature up-and-coming talents such as Bobby Bryant (11-0, 8 KOs), Bailey Bobbit (4-1, 2 KOs) of Lafayette, Quantis Graves (3-0, 1 KO) of Beaumont, Texas, by way of New Orleans and Josh Joseph (2-0, 1 KO), also from Lafayette.

“This is a big fight for Louisiana boxing,” UBO Commissioner Macke Roberts said.

“Mason (Menard) is a very talented fighter; he’s got a lot of speed and power. This is a great step-up fight for him because (Joseph) Laryea is a world-class opponent. He fought for a world title in his last fight and now he gets a shot at the UBO title so it’s a great opportunity for him to win a world title, and for Mason it’s a chance to show he can fight and win against world-class competition.”

The doors to The Pavilion open at 6:30 p.m. and the fights start at 7:30 p.m.

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