Joseph “JoJo” Diaz Jr. Defeats Javier Fortuna to Claim Vacant WBC Interim Lightweight Title

Joseph “JoJo” Diaz Jr. is celebrating his good fortuna

The 28-year-old Mexican American professional boxer delivered the most impressive performance of his career on Friday in Los Angeles, scoring a unanimous decision over Javier Fortuna to claim the vacant WBC interim lightweight title.

Joseph "JoJo" Diaz Jr.

Scores were 117-110, 116-111 and 115-112. ESPN also scored it 115-112.

In his lightweight debut, Diaz (32-1-1, 15 KOs) showed he could absorb heavy shots from a dangerous puncher and carry his own power, too. He wobbled Fortuna toward the end of the 10th round of a fight that featured some brutal exchanges on the inside, often waged at a frenetic pace.

“I can fight all the top guys at 135 pounds,” said Diaz, who entered the bout as ESPN’s No. 5 boxer at 130 pounds. “I want Ryan Garcia or Devin Haney. Let’s make this s— happen.

“I’ve been sparring 160 pounders. I’ve always worked with bigger guys my whole life.”

Despite fighting for his first world title at 126 pounds (a close decision defeat to Gary Russell Jr.) before capturing a championship at 130, 135 appears to be Diaz’s most natural weight class. He looked stronger than ever, and without the tough weight cut, showed off energy down the stretch to unleash four- and five-punch combinations against a crafty contender.

The 2012 Olympian was forced to deal with adversity yet again. He suffered a cut over his left eye in Round 3 following a clash of heads — a gash in the same area he bled from in his title-winning effort vs. Tevin Farmer in January 2020.

The following frame, Diaz was penalized one point by referee Raul Caiz Jr., for hitting behind the head, a point deduction that seemed borderline. Diaz argued that he was hitting Fortuna on the side of the head to no avail.

Fortuna, ESPN’s No. 8 fighter at 135 pounds, pressed the action in Rounds 5 and 6, beating Diaz to the punch with power shots. But the 31-year-old couldn’t sustain.

Fighting in front of a hometown crowd at Banc of California Stadium, Diaz ratcheted up the pressure and began to dig away at Fortuna’s body with a two-fisted attack that stunted the Dominican’s momentum.

Diaz simply landed the cleaner, flusher shots in the exchanges down the stretch, winning the favor of the judges in a bout that featured many tit-for-tat rounds. Fortuna threw 761 punches — 240 more than Diaz — yet landed 10 less shots.

With the convincing victory, Diaz set himself up for a career-high payday in one of boxing’s most star-driven divisions. Gervonta Davis, Teofimo Lopez, Vasiliy Lomachenko, Devin Haney and Ryan Garcia all reside at lightweight.

The easiest matchups to make are with Haney and Garcia, both of whom also compete on DAZN. Haney and Garcia also are available; they each have no fights scheduled. But it’s the Garcia fight in particular that is more appealing for many reasons.

Garcia was actually set to fight Fortuna (36-3-1, 25 KOs) on this night before he withdrew from the bout to seek treatment for his mental health. When he pulled out, Diaz quickly lobbied for the opportunity to step in, looking for redemption after losing his title at the scales in February before settling for a majority draw against Shavkatdzhon Rakhimov.

Now that Garcia is back in training with Eddy Reynoso at Canelo Alvarez’s gym in San Diego, a bout between Diaz and the social media sensation is a natural. They’re both Mexican Americans from Southern California who are promoted by Oscar De La Hoya. Stage the fight this fall in L.A., and they can practically guarantee a windfall at the box office.

“JoJo once again showed a lot of guts, a lot of courage and a big heart,” De La Hoya said. “His first fight at 135 was not too shabby. I think he did a great job against a guy who’s been avoided for years.”

Gina Rodriguez to Make Feature Directorial Debut with Film Based on Ryan Garcia’s Boxing Life

Gina Rodriguez is heading behind the lens…

The 36-year-old Puerto Rican actress will be making her feature film directorial debut on a feature film about a fictional character inspired by some of Mexican American boxer Ryan Garcia’s experiences in and around the sport.

Gina Rodriguez

Rodriguez is developing the project alongside Garcia, One Community and Endeavor Content.

Rodriguez will direct, star, produce and co-write the screenplay with actor and playwright Bernardo Cubria. Garcia will also star star.

“I grew up in a boxing family and loved watching sports dramas with my dad. The philosophies of fighting – working hard, staying focused, being honest, fighting fair but to win – has stayed with me,” said Rodriguez. “On behalf of myself and my production company I Can and I Will, I couldn’t be more excited to partner with Ryan Garcia on this film. He is not only an outstanding athlete and champion, but a true advocate of normalizing and furthering conversations on mental health. His bravery has inspired me, and I am honored to have his trust to direct this film and guide his first foray into the arts. In One Community, Endeavor Content and WME, I have found empowering partners who are driven to tell stories that bring love, tolerance and healing to the world. I am humbled by their support, in addition to that of my incredibly talented friend and fellow artist Bernardo Cubria who will be leading us in creating a script that celebrates both the sport and our community. We cannot wait to share this story with audiences worldwide.”

Ryan “Kingry” Garcia 

Similar to films like Rocky and Creed, this inspiring sports drama follows a Mexican-American boxer, Alex Guerrero (Garcia), whose struggles with mental health rival his toughest bouts in the ring. After a chance encounter with a World Champion propels him into the spotlight, he must prove to himself and the world that he has what it takes to come out on top.

“I am very excited about the opportunity to work with Gina, Bernardo, One Community, and Endeavor Content on this project,” said Garcia. “My goals have always been to prove myself in the ring and to also continue to share my story in hopes that it will inspire others. Boxing will always be at the forefront of my career and I cannot wait to return to the ring very soon as a stronger and healthier KingRy.”

The film will shoot mid-next year so as not to interfere with Garcia’s fight schedule.

“Ryan is an incredible fighter and remarkable human whose relentless focus and dedication has made him a superstar in the ring, but even more impressive is his desire to use his platform to help others by sharing his own struggles with anxiety and depression. Gina and Bernardo’s vision for this story spoke to us immediately and we are so excited to work with this incredibly inspiring team,” said Scott Budnick, CEO One Community.

The project is sure to become one of the hottest properties on the market as it is set to break barriers with a Latinx presence in front and behind the camera.

Garcia started boxing at age 7 and was a 15-time national champion. Since joining the Golden Boy stable in 2016, Garcia has steadily made his case as one of the best and most exciting up-and-coming boxers by defeating fighters such as Romero Duno, Francisco Fonseca, Carlos Morales and Jason Velez. His most recent match against Olympic Gold Medalist Luke Campbell was a true display of perseverance as Ryan hit the floor for the first time in his professional career to come back and defeat Campbell with a gut-wrenching punch to the body in the seventh round.

At 22, Garcia has an undefeated professional record of 21-0, 18 by way of knock out, currently holds the WBC Interim Lightweight title and trains under world renowned trainer, Eddie Reynoso and his father, Henry Garcia. In addition, he has amassed over 13 million followers across social platforms bringing new audiences to the sport.

Rodriguez is best known for playing the title role on the hit series Jane the Virgin, for which she won a Golden Globe for Best Actress in a Television Series Musical or Comedy. Her upcoming projects include Netflix’s film Awake and Netflix’s mini series Lost Ollie.

Ryan Garcia Agrees to Terms with Javier Fortuna on a Fight This Summer

Ryan Garcia is sealing the deal…

The 22-year-old Mexican American budding lightweight contender has agreed to terms with former champion Javier Fortuna on a fight this summer, according to ESPN.

Ryan Garcia

In March, the WBC ordered Garcia to fight Fortuna in a defense of the WBC’s interim lightweight title. The winner will likely be in contention to face Devin Haney, who holds the sanctioning body’s top belt in the 135-pound division.

The location and date is yet to be determined, but sources confirmed to ESPN it likely won’t occur on July 10, which is the same date as UFC 264 featuring the trilogy fight between Conor McGregor and Dustin Poirier.

Garcia (21-0, 18 KOs) is coming off a January win over Luke Campbell, which was the toughest bout of the 22-year-old’s young career. Fortuna (36-2-1, 25 KOs), who was once the junior lightweight champion, has won three straight fights since a no-contest against Adrian Granados in 2018.

Friday’s development comes exactly two weeks before a scheduled purse bid if Garcia and Fortuna’s promoters couldn’t come to an agreement.

Garcia, who has one of the biggest social media followings in boxing, has long viewed as one of Golden Boy Promotions‘ top prospects. Garcia defeated Campbell with a 7th-round technical knockout via a big body shot, Garcia’s fifth consecutive stoppage victory.

News of the Garcia-Fortuna bout was first reported by The Athletic.

World Boxing Council Orders Ryan Garcia to Face Javier Fortuna for Interim Lightweight Title

Ryan Garcia has lined up his next opponent…

The World Boxing Council has ordered the 22-year-old rising lightweight boxing star to face contender Javier Fortuna for the interim lightweight title and right to be mandatory challenger to champion Devin Haney.

Ryan “Kingry” Garcia 

The negotiation period has begun for a Garcia-Fortuna bout with a purse bid scheduled for April 16 if no deal is in place by then.

Garcia (21-0, 18 KOs) won the WBC interim lightweight title with a seventh-round TKO victory over Luke Campbell. Despite significant interest from Haney, Garcia decided not to enter negotiations with Haney for a title shot, instead pursuing bigger deals with Gervonta “Tank” Davis and Manny Pacquiao. Neither deal materialized, and now Garcia appears set to face Fortuna this summer.

Fortuna (36-2-1, 25 KOs) is a former champion coming off a sixth-round knockout victory over Antonio Lozada Jr. in November. He was the secondary WBC mandatory challenger.

Garcia is one of boxing’s biggest young stars with a significant following, particularly from Gen Z and social media communities. But his mission has been to gain respect for his boxing ability. He made his first big step in that by overcoming a first-round knockdown to beat Campbell earlier this year.

If a bout with Fortuna is finalized, Garcia would have his second consecutive contender to add to his résumé and continue to raise his profile.

Marc Castro Defeats Former MMA Fighter John Moraga by Second-Round KO

Marc Castro has taken down a UFC veteran…

The 21-year-old Latino boxer needed a single punch, eight seconds and a massive left jab to knock down UFC veteran John Moraga in the first round.

Marc Castro

From there, it was a matter of time before the junior lightweight prospect earned his second career KO in his second pro fight.

Castro (2-0, 2 KOs), of Fresno, California, knocked down Moraga (1-3, 1 KOs) three times in two rounds to register the knockout, finishing the fight with a left uppercut.

Moraga, of Phoenix, has had an impressive MMA career, with a 19-7 record and a UFC flyweight title shot in 2013 that he lost to Demetrious Johnson. His first knockout loss in boxing was Moraga’s third defeat in four pro bouts.

Castro is still very, very early in his pro career, but the friend of star fighter Ryan Garcia made easy work of an overmatched opponent.

Teofimo Lopez Jr.’s Next Likely Opponent: George Kambosos Jr.

Teofimo Lopez Jr. has an idea on who his likely next opponent will be.

The 23-year-old Honduran American professional boxer, a lightweight star, is focused on keeping all five of his lightweight titles as he gears up for his next fight.

Teofimo Lopez Jr.

Mandatory IBF challenger George Kambosos Jr. is the front-runner to fight Lopez next, in a bout that would likely take place in the early spring in the United States, sources told ESPN.

Top Rank, which manages Lopez, is in talks with Kambosos’ team on a deal. There was early talk of this fight being in Kambosos’ homeland of Australia, where there could be a larger crowd, but the intention now, according to sources, is for the bout to take place in the U.S. due to COVID-19 restrictions and quarantine requirements in Australia, among other things. New York has been mentioned as an early location option.

Kambosos (19-0, 10 KOs) became the IBF mandatory challenger after defeating Lee Selby by split decision in October.

Lopez is coming off the biggest win of any boxer in 2020, defeating former ESPN No.1 pound-for-pound fighter Vasiliy Lomachenko in October to win the IBF, WBO, WBA, WBC franchise and The Ring magazine titles. He’s the supreme belt holder in an extremely exciting lightweight division that also features young undefeated stars Ryan Garcia, Gervonta “Tank” Davis and Devin Haney.

 

Lopez told ESPN his ideal plan for 2021 is fighting Haney at lightweight before moving up to the junior welterweight division to face the winner of the May 8 Jose RamirezJosh Taylor undisputed title bout. That could still be in store as the year goes on, but he knows Kambosos is likely next.

“The only thing that is holding it up is my mandatory. I have to pay my respect to that guy. He fought his way up, the same way I had to fight my way up to be IBF lightweight world champion before I got to the point where I fought Vasiliy Lomachenko,” Lopez told ESPN. “I’ll deal with that process first, negotiate, see what happens, and if they agree with all the terms, that will have to be the guy. It’s not because it’s who I want but because it’s my mandatory. A lot of people say I’m ducking a lot of people, but I’m not. I got to go through the process — that’s just part of the game. If things go south, Devin Haney is the next guy, and hopefully we can make that fight happen without him trying to overprice himself.”

“I’m a true champion. I’m not letting go of any of my belts.”

If Kambosos’ team doesn’t agree to a deal this week, the IBF will send a letter for a purse bid Saturday. Approximately a week and a half after the letter is sent, a purse bid would be set to lock in the pay structure of a fight. If Kambosos still doesn’t accept the purse bid deal, Lopez and Top Rank will seek to move on to other, more appealing options.

Coming off a banner year in which he was named Fighter of the Year by multiple outlets, Lopez plans to continue to be in big 50-50 bouts and add to his large collection of titles.

Lopez told ESPN he is at about 70% coming off foot surgery after the Lomachenko fight. He shed a walking boot and has begun running. He plans to get back into the ring by the end of the month and expects to be 100% by his next fight date, which is currently expected to be in late April or May.

Ryan Garcia Plans Early Retirement from Boxing & Teases Possible MMA Career

Ryan Garcia is planning for an early retirement…

The 22-year-old Mexican American boxer, who claimed the WBC interim lightweight title earlier this month, believes he’ll be done with boxing early.

Ryan “Kingry” Garcia 

Garcia plans to retire at the age of 26.

But the red-hot prospect is not saying he’ll give up all combat sport at that time.

Garcia announced on The Rich Eisen Show on Thursday that he’ll consider moving over to MMA following his boxing career. He said he wants to prove he’s the best fighter in the world — and not just in the ring.

“If they say, ‘OK you’ve beaten everybody in the ring’ [and] somebody goes ‘this ain’t real fighting — real fighting is legs, choking, submissions, all that,'” Garcia said. “Guess what I’ll do? I’ll go prove to them that I’m the best fighter all around in the world. I’m talking about hands, I’m talking about wrestling. I will go to MMA to prove a point that God is greatest. And I’ll go beat whoever it is in MMA they say I won’t beat. If it has to be Conor McGregor, I will. And I’m not saying this to get money — I don’t care about money. I’m saying this just because it’s how I feel.”

Garcia said his plan is to still leave boxing when he’s 26 years old. But he wouldn’t rule out a comeback there, either.

Ryan Garcia Survives First Career Knockdown to Claim TKO Victory Over Luke Campbell

Ryan Garcia is living up to the hype…

The 22-year-old Mexican American boxer survived an early knockdown to notch a stunning, seventh-round, TKO victory over Luke Campbell on Saturday night.

Ryan Garcia

In front of roughly 6,000 fans at the American Airlines Center in Dallas, Garcia won the interim WBC lightweight title with a left hook to the body that sent Campbell to his knees. Campbell attempted to get to his feet by the end of the count, but referee Laurence Cole waved the fight off to give Garcia the TKO win.

For most of his career, Garcia (21-0, 18 KOs) has been known for a social media following that has overshadowed his ring credentials. With the victory, he said he showed he was more than an internet sensation.

“You’re not who people tell you [you] are,” Garcia said in his postfight interview on DAZN. “You’re who you choose to be. And I chose to be a champion tonight. I wasn’t going to let nothing stop me.”

Campbell (20-4, 16 KOs), a former title challenger and 2012 Olympic gold medalist, was billed as the toughest test of Garcia’s young career, and the British boxer lived up to that.

In the second round, Campbell dropped Garcia with a looping left hook that caught him on the chin. Garcia said it was the first time he had been knocked down in his career.

“I think I got a little too excited over the moment,” said Garcia, who was carried into the ring seated on a throne while wearing a gold crown.

But “King Ry” responded in the third round, regaining his bearings and nearly ending the fight in the fifth. Garcia hit Campbell with a left hook at the bell that sent Campbell staggering into the ropes. Two rounds later, Garcia picked up the most significant win of his career.

Campbell had never been stopped in his pro career, even in title fights against Vasiliy Lomachenko and Jorge Linares. Garcia and Campbell both noted that following Saturday’s bout.

“That was the hardest shot I was ever hit with,” Campbell said. “I tried and tried to get up, but I couldn’t. I felt him coming on, and I was moving back, and when you move back, my body relaxed a little bit, and that’s the exact time he hit me.”

Garcia added, “I showed today that I’m special.”

Campbell agreed with that, saying of Garcia in a tweet afterward, “Well done and a massive future ahead for him. I wish him all the best.”

Garcia joined the ranks of young, promising fighters in the lightweight division. Teofimo Lopez, 23, won three of the four belts in the 135-pound division when he beat Lomachenko in October 2019. Devin Haney, 22, holds the WBC‘s top belt.

But the fighter Garcia said he wants the most is Gervonta “Tank” Davis, 26, who holds one of the WBA’s secondary belts and is coming off an impressive knockout victory over Leo Santa Cruz in October.

“I really want to be a man of my word,” Garcia said. “I really want to fight Tank. I know people are worried about it [happening], but I’m ready for it.”

Sean Garcia Defeats Rene Marquez to Remain Undefeated

Sean Garcia remains undefeated…

The 20-year-old Mexican American lightweight boxer, Ryan Garcia‘s younger brother, stayed unbeaten with a hard-fought majority decision victory over Rene Marquez at the American Airlines Center in Dallas on Saturday.

Sean Garcia

Garcia won the bout by scores of 38-38, 39-37 and 39-37.

Garcia (5-0, 2 KOs), had a more difficult time than anticipated against Marquez (5-5, 2 KOs). Marquez kept coming forward, landing body punches and throwing his right hand every time he had Garcia close. Garcia, 20, was able to land more punches in Round 3, but finished the fight fatigued — a product of Marquez’s body attack.

According to CompuBox data, Garcia landed 48 of 161 total punches, while Marquez, 31, was able to land only 30 of 185. Garcia also connected on 43 of his power punches, while Marquez landed only 22.

Whindersson Nunes Takes Home One of the Top Prizes at YouTube Streamy Awards

It’s a stream come true for Whindersson Nunes.

The 2020 YouTube Streamy Awards, honoring the best of online entertainment, have been revealed, with the 25-year-old Brazilian comedian, singer, and YouTuber taking home one of the top prizes.

Whindersson Nunes

Nunes, whose YouTube channel whinderssonnunes ranks among the most subscribed in Brazil, was named the International winner during its virtual ceremony.

Swizz Beatz took home the Live Series award.

The 42-year-old part-Puerto Rican artist, producer and DJ and Timbaland won the prize for Verzuz, their weekly, real-time, virtual DJ battles.

Lele Pons didn’t go home empty-handed.

The 24-year-old Venezuelan internet celebrity, YouTuber, actress and singer won the Documentary award for digital series The Secret Life of Lele Pons.

The Streamy Award in the Sports category went to Ryan García, who continues to rise to acclaim beyond the ring.

The 22-year-old Mexican American professional boxer most recently starred in Bad Bunny‘s “Yo Visto Así” music video.

The 2020 YouTube Streamy Awards are executive produced by dick clark productions and Streamy Awards founders, Drew Baldwin and Joshua Cohen.

Here’s the winners list for the 2020 Streamy Awards:

OVERALL AWARDS
Creator of the Year MrBeast
Show of the Year Instant Influencer • James Charles
International Whindersson Nunes (Brazil)

INDIVIDUAL AWARDS
Breakout Creator Charli D’Amelio
Collaboration David Dobrik and Justin Bieber – SURPRISING PEOPLE WITH JUSTIN BIEBER!!
Crossover Will Smith
First Person Emma Chamberlain
Live Streamer NICKMERCS

SHOW AWARDS
Indie Series Chris and Jack
Live Series Verzuz
Live Special MrBeast’s $250,000 Influencer Rock, Paper, Scissors Tournament
Podcast On Purpose with Jay Shetty ‎
Scripted Series A Heist with Markiplier • Markiplier
Unscripted Series UNHhhh • WOWPresents

SUBJECT AWARDS
Animated Jaiden Animations
Beauty James Charles
Comedy Sarah Cooper
Commentary ContraPoints
Dance BFunk
Documentary The Secret Life of Lele Pons
Fashion and Style Wisdom Kaye
Food Tabitha Brown
Gaming Dream
Health and Wellness Chloe Ting
Kids and Family Ryan’s World
Learning and Education Mark Rober
Lifestyle Larray
News HasanAbi
Sports Ryan García
Technology Marques Brownlee

CRAFT AWARDS
Cinematography Peter McKinnon – Peter McKinnon
Editing Hayden Hillier-Smith – Logan Paul
Visual and Special Effects Aaron Benitez – Aaron’s Animals
Writing CalebCity – CalebCity