Thomas LaManna is one of the fortunate ones.

The Millville junior-middleweight will become the first local boxer to return to action since the coronavirus shut down the sport in mid-March on August 29. LaManna (28-3-1, 10 KOs) is scheduled to face Las Vegas' Brian Mendoza (18-1, 13 KOs) in a 10-round bout at the Microsoft Theatre in Los Angeles.

LaManna-Mendoza will be televised on FS1 as part of a Premier Boxing Champions card that also includes World Boxing Association super-welterweight champion Erislandy Lara (26-3-3, 15 KOs) defending his title against Greg Vendetti (22-3-1, 12 KOs) on Fox.

"I'm very lucky that this opportunity came about," LaManna said. "And I'm not going to waste it. I'm treating this fight as my Super Bowl. I absolutely cannot afford to lose this one."

Both fighters are coming off losses.

LaManna, 28, suffered a fifth-round TKO defeat to Jorge Cota (30-4, 27 KOs) in Philadelphia on Jan. 18. Mendoza, 26, endured his first professional loss via a split decision setback last November 30th to Larry Gomez in Las Vegas.

Despite the loss, LaManna is still ranked 13th by the WBA at 154 pounds. A decisive win over Mendoza could lead to a bigger fight, perhaps even a title shot against the Lara-Vendetti winner.

Like most sports events nowadays, the Aug. 29 card will be held in an empty arena.
That will definitely be a different experience for LaManna, who is used to fighting in front of one of the area's biggest fan bases as part of Millville-based Rising Promotions.

"I'm actually looking forward to it," LaManna said. "I know it sounds weird, but I would rather fight with no fans. I don't have to worry about selling tickets to make money and I don't have to try to do something special to please everyone. I can just focus on fighting without that other stuff getting in the way."