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Bright Lights, Lefts and Rights Returning to Monroe, Louisiana

ESPN2 nationally televised "Battle on the Bayou" Features Future Cuban Stars Lara and Despaigne in Tough Match-ups at Monroe Civic Center
On Wednesday, August 18, at the Monroe Civic Center in Monroe, Louisiana, Keeppunching Entertainment, Warriors Boxing, and the City of Monroe will proudly present: "Battle on the Bayou" a night of world-class professional boxing to be televised live on ESPN2's Wednesday Night Fights.

The dual main events will have a distinctly Cuban flavor as undefeated former amateur world champion Erislandy Lara (12-0, 7 KOs) and world amateur championships bronze medalist Yordanis Despaigne (6-0, 4 KOs) will make appearances in separate bouts.

In his 300+ amateur fights, Lara won three consecutive national championships at welterweight (2005-07), and was the world champion at welterweight in 2005. Despite being considered one of the favorites at welterweight for the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, Lara left the Cuban amateur boxing team in July 2007 during the Pan-American games in Rio de Janeiro. However, Lara was subsequently arrested and returned to Cuba. On a second attempt, Lara successfully escaped Cuba via speedboat to Mexico and turned professional in July 2008.

As an amateur, Despaigne was a member of the 2004 Cuban Olympic Team and among his 300 amateur victories, scored several over future world champions including American Andre Dirrell, Canadian Jean Pascal and Hungarian Károly Balzsay. Despaigne defected to the United States, asking for political asylum and freedom, in the spring of 2009 and made his professional debut on May 22 of the same year. As a professional, despite having just six fights, Despaigne has already beaten respected veteran Demetrius Davis and former world title challenger Richard Hall.
Lara will face Gulfport, Mississippi's "Slik" Willie Lee (17-6, 11 KOs) in a 10-round junior middleweight bout, while Despaigne will take on undefeated Colombian power puncher Frank Paines (11-0, 10 KOs) in a 10-round middleweight showdown where someone's "0" must go.

"I am very excited to bring ESPN2's weekly live boxing series to Monroe," said event co-promoter Leon Margules of Warriors Boxing. "This is the most popular non-subscription-based cable-boxing series and a stop on the circuit belongs in a great city like Monroe, Louisiana. I want to thank the city and especially Mayor Mayo for his hospitality and innovativeness in welcoming this event. I promise boxing fans and anyone who attends this event they will not be disappointed."

Monroe Mayor James Mayo says he shares Margules's enthusiasm. "The city council and I are excited about the upcoming fights in Monroe. 'The Battle on The Bayou' will be tremendous."

The undercard will feature several local and national prospects including once-beaten former National Amateur and All-Marine Champion Blake "Candyman" Prevost (13-1, 5 KOs); 6' 8" Houston, Texas, heavyweight Skip Scott (8-1, 5 KOs); Framingham, Massachusetts-based 2008 US Olympic team alternate and former US national amateur light welterweight champion Danny O'Connor (12-0, 3 KOs); and Monroe-based cruiserweight Tyrone Davis making his professional debut.

"Having Keeppunching Entertainment partner with world-class Warriors Boxing and Leon Margules to bring this type of special ESPN show to the city of Monroe, Louisiana, makes me very proud," added co-promoter Kerry Daigle of Keeppunching Entertainment. "In my 37 years in boxing promotions I have yet to meet a city so open to this great sport and want to commend Mayor Mayo and the City Council including his staff in their incredible effort to make this show an exciting event for not only the local fans but also for the national and international fans who will watch this special segment of ESPN boxing. This will be one of the most entertaining boxing cards of the year!"