Antoine Douglas “LaManna is undefeated, never lost, I can’t look past him”

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antoine-douglas-wins-2Undefeated middleweight Antoine Douglas (16-0-1, 10 KOs) is one of boxing’s fastest-rising prospects. Just 23 years old, the aggressive and exciting Washington, D.C., native will make his 2015 debut this Friday, March 13 against fellow unbeaten Thomas LaManna (16-0, 7 KOs) in the main event of ShoBox: The New Generation, live on SHOWTIME (10 p.m. ET/PT, delayed on the West Coast).

Douglas, who is 1-0-1 in two ShoBox appearances, is looking to prove that he’s earned the moniker “Action” when he faces an opponent who – like himself – has never lost or touched the canvas. More importantly, he’s aiming to continue to erase any doubt about his future as a contender at 160 pounds. Douglas has won two in a row since boxing a hard-fought 10-round majority draw with former world title challenger Michel Soro (23-1-1 going in) last July 25 on ShoBox.

Here’s what Douglas had to say as he prepares for a breakout 2015:

How would you say your career is going?
“My career is going great so far. I am very satisfied with the pace of my career. I’m right where we want to be and in position for a big year.”

Neither one of you has been knocked down as a professional. Do you expect that to change on March 13?
“I really don’t expect anything going into a fight. I just want to put on a great show and put on a great fight. Give it my all.”

You’ve faced the tougher opposition as a pro. How do you stay focused and not look past an opponent?
“This is the sport of boxing, and one punch can change any fight. Any fighter has the capability of hurting me, so I don’t overlook anyone. LaManna is undefeated. He’s never lost, so I can’t look past him. Anything can happen in there.”

What do you know about LaManna and what kind of fight do you expect?
“I know that he’s tall and has a long reach. I really don’t know what to expect. I know that he tends to lock up to try to stay in a defensive position. I need to take advantage of that by going on the offensive.”

After what you’ve overcome as a youngster, do you consider yourself a survivor? Did boxing save you?
“I wouldn’t consider myself just a survivor. I would consider myself a fighter. I had a lot to fight for in my youth. Boxing helped me get through my issues. It provided me with instruction and discipline. Around the age of 14 I really took control of my life and became a man. I felt like I needed to treat myself as a man.

“When I was in a foster home at 14, my two guardians split up and I was in a position where I needed to make a decision to choose which path to go down. I wouldn’t be in the position I am in today if I didn’t make the decision I made. There weren’t people around me to point me in the right direction; I was on my own. If there were people that were supportive of me, I wasn’t expecting it. I was in the position that I was making the decision solely for myself.”

Getting serious here – your mother was in and out of your life growing up. What keeps you so loyal to her after everything that you’ve been through?
“I understand the fact that everyone goes through things in their life. It’s easy to tell them what they should do. It takes a lot to put your pride aside to be considerate of what people are going through. Too many people put themselves first over others. I took a step back and realized that everything happens for a reason and look how I turned out today. My mother and I have a great relationship now because I was understanding of her situation and didn’t take anything she did intentionally or think that it was directed towards me.”

What did you learn from your last ShoBox fight versus Soro)?. Do you view it as a positive or negative?
“I view the fight with Soro as a positive. In that fight I got down in weight, the smallest I have been in a while. I was at 155 instead of my usual weight of 160. Shedding the pounds really had a big impact on the fight, and I realized I am a middleweight and feel comfortable at 160.”

That the Soro fight was called a majority draw — was that a disappointment for you? How did you learn from that?
“It was a great disappointment for me to get a draw, but we know now not to go any smaller than 160. That’s the main thing we learned in that fight. There is such a thing as being too disciplined. People noticed how skinny I was for that fight, but being a disciplined fighter I was determined to make weight. A lot of opponents wouldn’t have taken that fight, but it was an opportunity that I wanted to take advantage of. I thought it was a good decision at the time, but I learned a valuable lesson.”

You knocked a guy’s tooth out in your first ShoBox fight (Jan. 17, 2014, versus Marquis Davis), and your mom stole the show in your last appearance. What do you have in store for viewers on March 13?
“I mean, I’m just planning for a great fight. That’s all I can guarantee. I’m not one for superstitions [Friday The 13th]. I can just guarantee it will be a great fight.”

What is your biggest strength? Are you looking for the knockout or do you believe you can go 10 rounds and get the victory that way?
“I believe I can bang for 10 rounds, but that all depends on the opponent. Some guys are strong enough who can go the full 10 rounds. I go in and try to inflict the most amount of damage from the opening bell.

“My biggest strength is my will and determination. There’s never a moment where I want to give up. Even if I get hurt in the ring, I won’t succumb to the fighter. Those are the thoughts that go through my head.”

Jerry Odom is also on this card, and you both are from the DC area. You have stated that you two are like roommates. What does it mean to have him on the card with you?
“It means a lot for me. We come from similar humble beginnings and for us to be on the same card is historic for us. We both carry the same common goal, and we have a lot that we are fighting for. Being able to do this on such a big stage on SHOWTIME and prove all the naysayers wrong means the world to us. It makes it that much more worth it and fulfilling for us, especially if we both get the victory.”

Your prediction?
“I predict a victory. I have trained and worked very hard for this and am ready to put on a show.”
In the co-feature, unbeaten southpaw Ismael Barroso (16-0-2, 15 KOs), of El Tigre, Venezuela, will shoot for his 13th consecutive victory when he faces Issouf “Volcano” Kinda (17-2, 7 KOs), of Bronx, N.Y., in a 10-round scrap for the NABO Lightweight Title. In an eight-round featured bout, once-beaten Jerry “The King’s Son” Odom (12-1, 1 NC, 11 KOs), of Washington D.C., will try and avenge his lone loss when he takes on undefeated Andrew “Hurricane” Hernandez (8-0-1, 1 ND, 1 KO) of Phoenix, Ariz., in a super middleweight rematch. In the opening bout, Adam Lopez (9-0, 4 KOs), of San Antonio, and Houston’s Pablo Cruz (11-0, 3 KOs) clash in an eight-round battle of Lone Star State super bantamweights.

Advance tickets for the event promoted by GH3 Promotions and Greg Cohen Promotions in association with David Schuster’s Winner Take All Productions, are priced at $150, $125, and $60 for general admission. Tickets are available at Ticketmaster.com, all Ticketmaster locations, thespacewestbury.com, The Space at Westbury Box Office at 516.283.5566 or by calling the GCP Office at 212.851.6425.

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