middleweight, Thomas “Cornflake” LaManna, 16-0, 7 KOs,
fights the biggest bout of his burgeoning career Friday
night when he takes on Antoine “Action” Douglas, 16-0-1, 10
KOs, in a nationally televised 10-round bout for the vacant
WBA Fedelatin 160-pound title, at The Space at Westbury, in
New York. Showtime will broadcast the bout live on their
The fight is a
significant step up for LaManna, a 4-year pro who in 2014
showed signs that he was ready for tougher competition.
Friday night he gets his chance to step into the spotlight
and show fans outside the Philly/Jersey area what he’s made
LaManna has been a
staple on the local boxing scene ever since he turned
professional in 2011 at age 19. He made his debut at
Bally’s Atlantic City with a first round TKO of Anthony
Williams. That night, LaManna looked like a kid in the
squared circle, but it was also clear that he was serious
about his boxing career.
that instant on it was as if LaManna was the honorary little
brother of the Philly fight scene – easy to root for and
full of promise. He was still growing into his six-foot,
two-inch frame and still developing his fighting skills.
But he was toughening up and maturing right before our
He also had one of the
best nicknames in the sport.
Cornflake fought six
times in his rookie year, winning them all, four by
knockout. By the end of 2013, LaManna was 13-0, 7 KOs, and
ready for his first step up.
In 2014, LaManna went
3-0, including a crossroads showdown with West Philly
warhorse Jamaal Davis. Davis represented Cornflake’s
toughest foe up to that point, having previously faced many
top pros like Peter Quillin, Gabriel Rosado, Yuri Foreman,
and others. As expected, Davis seriously tested the young
In the first half of
the bout, LaManna found himself in a real battle with the
old pro, who came to Atlantic City in better shape and more
motivated than he had been in years. Davis approached the
fight as a must-win, and put LaManna through the paces,
introducing him, perhaps for the first time, to the more
difficult side of the sport.
LaManna fell behind in
the bout, but fought back hard. Everyone watched as Thomas
took control of the fight little by little. By the end, our
little brother had completely grown up, and Cornflake
claimed the 8-round unanimous decision against the
LaManna closed the year
with another win that pushed his record to its current 16-0
with 7 KOs. Now 23-years old and ready for bigger and
better things in the ring, LaManna gets a prime opportunity
against Douglas on Friday night to climb to the next level
of his chosen profession.
I sat down with Thomas
LaManna last Friday night at South Philly’s 2300 Arena after
his teammates Joey Dawejko and Jason Sosa both registered
knockout victories of their own.
Thomas LaManna with his father Vinny LaManna
- Photo by Ray Bailey
Cornflake is a great nickname. How did you get it?
LAMANNA: I got “Cornflake” from my friend Bryne Green.
He’s a fighter; he’s fought on local cards. When I first
started boxing, I was the only white fighter in the gym. I
was surrounded by black, Mexican, and Puerto Rican
fighters. A ‘cornflake’ has a light center surrounded by a
brown outer (edge). So that’s exactly what it was like in
the gym. So that’s how I got it.”
Antoine Douglas is a good fighter with a similar record to
yours. How do you feel about taking this step up?
LAMANNA: “I feel great about the fight. I train entirely
too hard to have any doubt that I’m going to be victorious.
I felt that at this stage in my career, I needed this fight
to see where I’m at, just like the Jamaal Davis fight. I
needed that fight at that point in my career, and two fights
later, here we are.
It’s a good match up.
LAMANNA: “Two undefeated fighters fighting each other -
young undefeated fighters - 23 years old, 16-0, -
fighting each other. That’s something big in boxing. And as
a boxing fan, I think that’s what boxing needs more of.”
This is your first time on national television. Do you feel
pressure to impress everyone?
LAMANNA: “Definitely I feel like I got to show out, only
because it’s against another undefeated, young, hungry
fighter. The whole TV, SHOBOX, and fighting out of New
Jersey, all that just comes with the territory. Eventually
I knew it was going to happen. TV and all that stuff, it
won’t phase me. I still have friends and family coming to
support me, but I definitely feel that I have to show out
because it’s another young, undefeated fighter who doesn’t
know how to lose. Just like myself. And that’s very
Do you consider this step up a whole new chapter in your
LAMANNA: “Yeah, it’s a huge step up. This fight will
definitely change my life – either way you look at it. Win,
lose, or draw, a star is going to be born. What can I say?
I can only pray and hope that after next Friday, bigger and
better things will come along.”
LaManna against Alex Perez - Photo by
Darryl Cobb, Jr.
You went away for
training camp with Joey Dawejko, Jason Sosa and Tevin
Farmer. You guys are really like team. How did it go?
LAMANNA: “Training camp was so beautiful. We’re like one
big family. It’s definitely given me an ego booster, a
confidence booster. We pushed each other hard in camp. We
made each other work, we got up with each other in the
morning to go run. We did our strength work together, and
it was just beautiful. It definitely is a big push and
motivation to do the right things to get ready for the
fight. As you can see today, Joey and Sosa looked very
good. They got their wins, and it was outstanding.”
How does that team atmosphere affect your performance in the
LAMANNA: “It put in my brain that this is what it takes to
get to the next level. John, I feel so great. I’m in great
shape. I’m at fight weight already, and now I know what it
really feels like, and that (team) had a big part in it.”
If you win Friday night, you’ll be at that next level. What
LAMANNA: “Eventually I want to be a world champion. I’m
not in this just to win. I’m not in this for a little minor
payday. I’m in this to be the best I can possibly be. Just
like my last 16 fights, March 13th will be
another day in the office. I’m just going to go in and do
what I do best.”