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.

Juan Manuel Marquez to Fight Miguel Cotto in Exhibition Match

Juan Manuel Marquez is heading back to the ring…

The 47-year-old Mexican former professional boxer and former four-division world champion is planning to fight against fellow former four-division champ Miguel Cotto in an exhibition match on June 12 in Miami, according to ESPN.

Juan Manuel Marquez

Even as an exhibition, Cotto-Marquez will add to the rich boxing rivalry between Puerto Rico and Mexico.

Marquez (56-7-1, 40 KOs) has not fought since May 2014, when he got off the canvas to beat Mike Alvarado in his 64th professional fight.

Marquez has won titles at featherweight, junior lightweight, lightweight and junior welterweight. Marquez was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 2019.

Cotto (41-6, 33 KOs), of Caguas, Puerto Rico, last fought on December 2, 2017, in a unanimous decision loss to Sadam Ali.

He has won world titles at junior welterweight, welterweight, junior middleweight and middleweight.

The source added that a fight between WBC flyweight interim titlist McWilliams Arroyo and Francisco Rodríguez could be part of the undercard. An official announcement is expected to be made on April 12.

El Nuevo Día was first to report the fight.

WBC Announces Juan Francisco Estrada & Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez Trilogy Fight

It’s a trilogy for Juan Francisco Estrada and Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez.

The WBC has announced a four-fighter 115-pound tournament to crown a true junior bantamweight champ, which includes a trilogy fight against the 30-year-old Mexican junior bantamweight champion and the 33-year-old Nicaraguan professional boxer.

Juan Francisco Estrada x Roman "Chocolatito" Gonzalez

The card will also include a bout between former champions Srisaket Sor Rungvisai and Carlos Cuadras. The winners will face each other after.

For this to happen, the WBC elevated Estrada as its “franchise” champion and chose to make Rungvisai vs. Cuadras 2 for the now vacant regular 115-pound title. Estrada is the third WBC “franchise” champion (Canelo Alvarez at middleweight and Teofimo Lopez at lightweight are the others).

The request for a third battle between Estrada and Gonzalez came naturally after both were involved in a great rematch on March 13 that Estrada won in a close and controversial decision to unify the WBC and WBA world titles.

Estrada was supposed to face his mandatory challenger, Sor Rungvisai, who defeated Ekkawit Songnui by third-round TKO, also on March 13. However, the fight that generated the most interest was Estrada-Gonzalez 3 and therefore Matchroom Boxing, who promoted the rematch, began to work with the WBC to finalize the tournament.

Estrada and Gonzalez are 1-1 in their series. Rungvisai and Cuadras will meet a second time after Cuadras took the WBC junior bantamweight title from Sor Rungvisai in a technical decision victory seven years ago in 2014.

Matchroom has not announced yet when the third battle could take place and if the two title fights would be in the same card.

Amanda Serrano Notches 30th Career Knockout Against Daniela Romina Bermudez

Amanda Serrano has done it again…

The 32-year-old Puerto Rican professional boxer, mixed martial artist and professional wrestler, Puerto Rican professional boxer, mixed martial artist and professional wrestler, defeated Daniela Romina Bermudez via knockout in the ninth round on Thursday night.

Amanda Serrano

While many of Serrano’s fights go only a short distance, Bermudez, her opponent for the WBC and WBO featherweight titles, handled Serrano’s opening attack well.

Bermudez often would try to give some response of her own, too, at least until the ninth round, when Serrano still appeared fresh and powerful, leading to the body shot combination that stepped Bermudez back toward the ropes and then down, where she wouldn’t get up, giving Serrano the win 1:33 into Round 9.

“I knew I was going to be able to walk her down,” Serrano said on NBCSN after the fight.

It was the 30th career knockout for Serrano (40-1-1, 30 KO), who defended the WBC and WBO world featherweight titles and added an IBO world featherweight title, too. It was also the most recent knockout of Serrano’s career.

Bermudez (29-4-3, 10 KO) had taken powerful punches by Serrano all night. But the combination of body shots with Serrano’s right and left fist to Bermudez’s body gave her a little bit of pause. Then Bermudez started walking back and fell down.

Serrano continues a massive streak. She hasn’t lost since 2012, when she lost a unanimous decision to Frida Wallberg. Next, she said she’d like to try and become undisputed in her division after winning Thursday’s fight. It was Bermudez’s first loss since April 26, 2014, when she lost a unanimous decision to Yesica Yolanda Bopp.

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.

Juan Francisco Estrada Edges Past Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez to Win WBA, WBC and The Ring Magazine Junior Bantamweight Titles

Juan Francisco Estrada has proved that revenge is a dish best served cold.

The 30-year-old Mexican professional boxer edged past Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez by split decision in an extremely close fight at Dallas’ American Airlines Center on Saturday to win the WBA, the WBC and The Ring magazine junior bantamweight titles.

Juan Francisco Estrada x Roman "Chocolatito" Gonzalez

The victory comes eight years after Estrada (42-3, 28 KOs) and Gonzalez’s first action-packed bout, which was won by Gonzalez (50-3, 41 KOs).

This bout could’ve gone either way. The two combined for 2,529 punches — a junior bantamweight record — and landed 705, according to CompuBox. They combined for 2,133 punches in their first bout.

The scorecards Saturday night read 115-113 Gonzalez, 117-111 Estrada and 115-113 Estrada. The 117-111 score was shockingly wide, but the two 115-113 scores were representative of a fight with two boxers putting on a nonstop show.

Immediately afterward, sensing there was unfinished business with their rivalry split at 1-1, Estrada called for a trilogy fight to settle it all.

“I think I did enough to win. Chocolatito is a great fighter, and I think he deserves a trilogy,” Estrada said on the DAZN broadcast. “I knew it was a close fight. I didn’t know if I was up or down, but I knew I had to close out the fight in the last two rounds.”

Gonzalez was gracious and emotional in defeat, saying, “Whatever happened, happened, but I gave it a great fight.” The four-division champion said the result was what “God wanted” and that he would welcome a third bout with Estrada.

“It was a better fight than the first one,” Estrada said. “I felt strong, and I felt like I won. In the last round, I gave it all. It was a great round.”

Estrada’s win could set in motion the conclusion of a set of trilogies. Estrada noted after the fight that his mandatory challenger is Srisaket Sor Rungvisai — a man he also has split two bouts with over the past few years. Rungvisai won the first bout by majority decision in February 2018, with Estrada winning the rematch by unanimous decision in April 2019.

Rungvisai, who also has two wins over Gonzalez, stepped aside to let Estrada-Gonzalez 2 happen. Now, Rungvisai will likely want his shot at settling the trilogy fight with Estrada.

Gonzalez, who despite starting a bit slow was the aggressor for much of the fight, had the advantage over Estrada in every CompuBox category Saturday night except body punching (89-31 Estrada). The 90 power punches landed in Round 12 (51 by Gonzalez, 39 by Estrada) is a single-round junior bantamweight record, per CompuBox.

The hope is that Part 3 of this must-see thriller happens far sooner than the eight-year wait for Part 2.

Jose Ramirez to Fight Josh Taylor in Junior Welterweight Unification Title Bout

Jose Ramirez is ready to expand his belt collection…

The junior welterweight unification title bout between the 28-year-old Mexican American boxer and Josh Taylor will take place on May 22 at a to be determined Las Vegas venue.

Jose Ramirez

Ramirez, the WBC and WBO champion, and Taylor, the IBF and WBA champion, had initially been planning to fight on May 8, but the fight was moved as to not conflict with the Canelo AlvarezBilly Joe Saunders title fight. Instead, they’ll fight later in the month, headlining a card on ESPN and simulcast on ESPN+.

“This is the best boxing has to offer, two elite fighters in the prime of their careers colliding in a legacy-defining matchup for the undisputed championship of the world,” Top Rank chairman Bob Arum said in a news release. “It’s a true 50-50 fight, one that the fans and both fighters demanded.”

Ramirez (26-0, 17 KO) last fought in August, winning a majority decision over Viktor Postol in his first defense as both the WBC and WBO titleholder. He has held the WBC belt since March 17, 2018, when he beat Amir Imam and the WBO belt since July 27, 2019, when he TKO‘d Maurice Hooker in the sixth round.

Taylor (17-0, 13 KO) won the IBF title in a May 2019 decision over Ivan Baranchyk and the WBA belt in a majority decision win over Regis Prograis in October 2019. Taylor, 30, last fought in September 2020, knocking out Apinun Khongsong in the first round.

Both Taylor and Ramirez fought as lightweights in the 2012 London Games, each losing in the quarterfinals in a division won by Vasiliy Lomachenko. On the same side of the bracket, they would have met up in the semifinals had they kept winning. Now, they’ll fight to unify a professional world title instead.

Terence Crawford was the last fighter the unify the division, a feat he accomplished in 2017. Crawford then vacated the titles with a move up to 147 pounds.

Canelo Alvarez Makes Quick Work of Avni Yildirim to Defend WBA & WBC Super Middleweight Titles

Canelo Alvarez didn’t take long to defend his titles…

The 30-year-old Mexican boxer, the sport’s biggest star and best pound-for-pound fighter, made quick work of his limited foe, Avni Yildirim, to defend his WBA and WBC titles at 168 pounds via third-round TKO at Miami’s Hard Rock Stadium.

Canelo Alvarez

Needing to clear the hurdle of his mandatory challenger in order to begin an ambitious 2021 plan to unify all four super middleweight world titles, Alvarez looked every bit of the audaciously large betting favorite he was coming in.

Alvarez put on quite the performance amid fireworks and a live concert on his walk to the ring alone. After Yildirim (21-3, 12 KOs) hid behind his high guard for the first two rounds, he finally succumbed to a stiff right cross from Alvarez that dropped him in Round 3.

After trainer Joel Diaz warned his fighter between rounds that he needed to show something or the fight would be stopped, Yildirim stared with a blank expression on his face that caused his corner to stop the fight.

“It doesn’t matter if they are taller and have more reach or whether they have a good new trainer or no trainer, it doesn’t matter,” Alvarez said after the win. “I come here to do my job and win and I come to make history and I have the best trainer in the world [Eddy Reynoso] in my corner.”

Alvarez made a quick return to the ring just two months after dominating unbeaten champion Callum Smith to unify a pair of super middleweight titles. But he opened as an alarming 50-1 favorite over Yildirim, a native of Turkey who didn’t seem to deserve the mandatory shot considering he was fresh off a two-year layoff and a loss in his last fight.

“It’s great to be active. It’s wonderful to be here in Miami. I wanted to have a great fight here and I’m happy it’s a knockout. That’s what I wanted to do,” Alvarez said. “I will fight anyone. I fight the best and I always fight the best. I fight the best at 168 and here I am, making history. I had to fight Yildirim to get the opportunity to fight the best at 168 and I had to do it. I defended my titles and am ready for what’s next.”

What’s next was confirmed for May 8 by promoter Eddie Hearn of Matchroom Sport, who has one fight remaining on a two-bout deal Alvarez signed to open the year. Hearn said Alvarez will challenge unbeaten WBO champion Billy Joe Saunders at a location to be announced.

In addition, Alvarez is hoping to fight twice more in 2021 after the Saunders bout and has shared his interest in closing the year by defeating Caleb Plant, the unbeaten IBF champion, to become boxing’s first undisputed super middleweight champion.

“[Saunders] is a very difficult fighter and he has the championship, the WBO. We want to unify,” Alvarez said before being asked about Saunders’ ability to trash talk his opponents. “People talk but I’m a mature fighter. I know how to control myself. All I have to do is get into the ring, win and make history. Words are just that.

“I [want to unify] because it hasn’t been done. At 168, no one has done that in the world. I want to make history.”

“I want to make my own history. I don’t want to be equal to anyone. I respect everyone in history but I want to make my own history so that when they one day talk about the sport of boxing, they talk about Canelo.”

Oscar Valdez Scores Knockout of the Year Against Miguel Berchelt to Claim WBC Junior Lightweight Title

Oscar Valdez has scored the knockout of the year…

The 30-year-old Mexican boxer, a former WBO featherweight titleholder and a two-time Olympian, took down Miguel Berchelt at the MGM Grand on Saturday night to claim the WBC junior lightweight title.

Oscar Valdez

Valdez’s upset win came after he rocked Berchelt (38-2, 34 KOs) with a left hook in the final second of the 10th round in an immediate favorite for knockout of the year.

Many expected Saturday’s fight between Berchelt and Valdez (29-0, 23 KOs)

to be a back-and-forth bout between two Mexican fighters. But, the violence was mostly one-sided.

Oscar Valdez

“There’s nothing better in life than proving people wrong,” said Valdez, who entered the fight as a plus-240 underdog, according to Caesars Sportsbook by William Hill. “I have a list of people who doubted me. My idols doubted me. Boxing analysts doubted me. They said Berchelt was going to knock me out. I have a message to everybody: Don’t’ let anyone tell you what you can and can’t do.

Berchelt, whose only other professional loss came via TKO in 2014, remained on his back on the canvas for several minutes but was eventually able to sit and stand with assistance.

He was taken to a hospital afterward, and Top Rank president Todd DuBoef told ESPN that he underwent a CT scan that came back clear. Berchelt was expected to be released from the hospital Saturday night.

The stunning walk-off shot might have overshadowed the fact the much smaller Valdez dominated the fight. He scored knockdowns in the fourth and 10th rounds and was well ahead on all three judges’ scorecards at the time of the finish.

Judges had Valdez, who was born in Mexico but grew up in Arizona, ahead by scores of 89-80, 88-81 and 87-82.

“Oscar Valdez proved he is one of the great Mexican champions,” said Top Rank CEO Bob Arum. “An absolute masterpiece in the ring tonight.”

Valdez outlanded Berchelt 149-99 in total punches and 103-64 in power punches, according to CompuBox.

The victory, which is Valdez’s third consecutive appearance at 130 pounds, could set up a junior lightweight title fight between Valdez and Top Rank’s Shakur Stevenson (15-0, 8 KOs), who was in attendance inside the “bubble” on Saturday and has expressed interest in taking on Valdez. Top Rank president Todd DuBoef said he would love to set up a fight between the two undefeated junior lightweights.

“I want to take this belt home, and I’m happy for that. Any champion out there … I heard Shakur Stevenson wants to fight,” Valdez said. “Let’s do it. I just want to keep on fighting and give the fans what they want.”

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.