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Erislandy Lara praises young sparring partners ahead of Castano fight

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The Cuban southpaw returns on March 2.

Hosanna Rull/Team Lara

Former junior middleweight titleholder Erislandy Lara returns to the ring on Saturday, March 2, when he faces WBA “world” titleholder Brian Castano in a Showtime-televised main event from Brooklyn’s Barclays Center.

Lara (25-3-2, 14 KO) will be the challenger in this fight, but he’ll also probably be seen as the favorite, as he’s more accomplished and experienced than Castano (15-0, 11 KO), a tall Argentine on the rise.

Lara, 35, held a media workout this week and touched on a few subjects as he prepares for the bout.

On his 2018 Fight of the Year with Jarrett Hurd

“The fight against Hurd was a great fight for the fans, but I felt I won seven or eight rounds that night. To be on the wrong end of another close decision left a bad taste in my mouth.

“That fight being recognized as ‘Fight of the Year’ shows my versatility as a fighter. I was on the ballot before with Alfredo Angulo, so it was good to get recognized for being a warrior, not only a craftsman. I will always give the fans my all and come March 2, it will be no different.”

On training camp with Ronnie Shields

“Ronnie and I are working great together, and we have an excellent game plan in place. This is one of the better camps I’ve had the last few years.

“Having young fighters like (Joey) Spencer and (Eimantas) Stanionis in camp with me is refreshing because I know they are hungry. When we spar, I feed off their energy, because I know they are trying to take take their game to the next level, which makes me better. This is a demanding sport and they are definitely pushing me.”

On sharing the March 2 stage with fellow Cuban Luis Ortiz

“Luis Ortiz and I go way back and I’m happy that my brother is fighting on the same card as me. We’ve gone through a lot since leaving Cuba to pursue our dreams of becoming world champions here in the U.S. Like myself, I know he’s going to be ready to entertain the fans on fight night and make this a memorable night for Cuban boxing!”