Ryan Garcia Agrees to Fight Javier Fortuna in July

Ryan Garcia has lined up his next opponent…

The 23-year-old Mexican American boxer and Javier Fortuna have agreed to a deal for a 135-pound fight on July 16 at Crypto.com Arena in Los Angeles on DAZN, according to ESPN.

Ryan GarciaGarcia and Fortuna were set to fight last July, but Garcia withdrew to address his mental health. The star boxer was then lined up to fight Joseph Diaz Jr. in November 2021 but was forced to pull out after he suffered a wrist injury that required surgery.

Garcia, who hails from Southern California, finally returned in April with a unanimous-decision win over Emmanuel Tagoe, and was ringside on Saturday in Brooklyn to call out Gervonta Davis after Davis’ sixth-round TKO of Rolando Romero.

“Let me handle business July 16th, I’m going to get Tank,” Garcia (22-0, 18 KOs) tweeted Sunday. “He was screaming the whole fight ‘I’m next,’ so let it be. December, let’s get it.”

But first, Garcia is set for perhaps the toughest assignment of his career, even if Fortuna isn’t on Davis’ level (though Fortuna is ESPN’s No. 10 lightweight). The 33-year-old Dominican boxer shapes up as a second world-class opponent in three fights for Garcia after a seventh-round TKO of Luke Campbell in January 2021.

Fortuna (37-3-1, 26 KOs) possesses a powerful left hand and an aggressive, free-swinging style, but he’s coming off a clear decision defeat to Diaz in July. Fortuna bounced back in February with a stay-busy first-round KO and now lands the fight he’s been lobbying for.

“Ryan Garcia should take this fight very seriously and train properly because he will be facing, by far, the best fighter of his career,” Fortuna said last April before the July 2021 bout was cancelled.

“Hopefully on fight night, there will be no excuses for his loss. … I have too much of everything for Ryan Garcia. His [win over Campbell] showed how easy he is to hit. And his power won’t mean anything to me. But mine will put him to sleep.”

If Garcia, ESPN’s No. 6 lightweight, can push past Fortuna, a fight with “Tank” Davis is among the biggest in all of boxing.

Isaac Cruz Set to Fight Yuriorkis Gamboa in Lightweight Bout This April

Isaac Cruz has lined up his next opponent…

The 23-year-old Mexican professional boxer has reportedly agreed to a lightweight fight against Yuriorkis Gamboa on April 16 at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, according to ESPN.

Isaac CruzThe bout will serve as chief support to the April 16 Showtime PPV headlined by the Errol Spence Jr.Yordenis Ugas welterweight title unification, sources said.

The 147-pound bout between Radzhab Butaev and Eimantas Stanionis also will appear on the undercard, leaving one more slot.

Cruz (22-2-1, 15 KOs) stunned the boxing world by pushing star fighter Gervonta Davis to the brink in a December decision loss. Cruz accepted the fight on a month’s notice after Rolando Romero withdrew from the bout, and Cruz established himself as a player in the stacked 135-pound division with the spirited effort.

Despite being a major underdog, Cruz lost by just two rounds on two cards and four on the third.

Now, Cruz will receive another night in the spotlight on the undercard of the anticipated Spence-Ugas fight at the home of the Dallas Cowboys.

He meets Gamboa, a former two-division champion and Olympic gold medalist. At 40, Gamboa hasn’t shown much in recent bouts, but he has proved durable.

 

The Cuban boxer’s previous two fights came against Davis and Devin Haney.

Gamboa (30-4, 18 KOs) tore his Achilles tendon in the defeat to Davis but made it to Round 12 before he was stopped. Eleven months later, Gamboa was shut out on two scorecards in a unanimous decision loss to Haney.

Ryan Garcia to Make Comeback Against Emmanuel Tagoe in Lightweight Fight in April

Ryan Garcia is preparing for his return to the ring…

The 23-year-old Mexican American boxer will meet Emmanuel Tagoe in a lightweight fight on April 9 at the Alamodome in San Antonio on DAZN, according to Oscar De La Hoya, who promotes Garcia.

Ryan Garcia

The bout will be Garcia’s first since January 2021, when he scored a seventh-round TKO of Olympic gold medalist Luke Campbell in a career-best performance.

Garcia (21-0, 18 KOs) was slated to fight Javier Fortuna in July 2021, but he withdrew from the fight to address his mental health. A bout against Joseph Diaz Jr., set for November 2021, was cancelled after Garcia suffered a wrist injury while training that required surgery.

“I went through a hard year. … Everything came tumbling down on me mentally,” Garcia said on ESPN+‘s State of Boxing in December. “It was a hard time in my life. It got really dark … to the point I didn’t know if I wanted to live anymore. I had a lot of thoughts about that throughout the whole year.”

Garcia possesses arguably the quickest hands in boxing and packs plenty of power, too. He’s trained by Eddy Reynoso at Canelo Alvarez‘s San Diego gym, and under Reynoso’s tutelage, Garcia rose to No. 6 in ESPN‘s 135-pound rankings.

Garcia has lobbied for a super fight with Gervonta “Tank” Davis but first must impress against Tagoe coming off a 15-month layoff, the longest of his career.

Tagoe, a 33-year-old fighting out of Accra, Ghana, will be competing in the U.S. for just the second time. He’ll do so against his best opponent by far; Tagoe (32-1, 15 KOs) has fought only a handful of recognizable names. His last bout was in October 2020, a majority-decision win over Mason Menard, who is best known for a first-round KO loss against Teofimo Lopez.

“I’m not going to give up and I’m going to keep being an inspiration for people that are struggling,” said Garcia, who is approaching 9 million followers on Instagram. “I’m right back on track and I’m not going to let anything that all these people are saying outside of the ring, trying to come at my character and who I am as a fighter, I’m not going to let any of that get to me.”

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.”

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.

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.”

Leo Santa Cruz to Defend WBA Junior Lightweight Title Against Gervonta Davis on Halloween

Leo Santa Cruz is ready for a Halloween rumble….

The title fight between the 32-year-old Mexican professional boxer and Gervonta “Tank” Davis, one of the biggest events of 2020, has been moved to October 31 at San Antonio’s Alamodome, the two junior lightweight fighters have announced.

Leo Santa Cruz

The bout, which will be broadcast on Showtime PPV, is tentatively scheduled to be the first American combat sports event to allow fans since COVID-19 became a pandemic. The number of fans who’ll be in attendance has not been announced.

Santa Cruz (37-1, 19 KOs), ranked eighth among junior lightweights, will be defending the primary WBA junior lightweight belt.

Davis (23-0, 22 KOs) is the No. 4 lightweight in ESPN‘s divisional rankings.

Santa Cruz is coming off a unanimous decision against Miguel Flores last November. Davis most recently fought in December, when he stopped veteran Yuriorkis Gamboa.

Davis, 25, needed two attempts to make the 135-pound weight limit for the Gamboa bout. The October 31 fight against Santa Cruz will be at the junior lightweight limit of 130 pounds.

Under current state guidelines, Texas allows 50% of a stadium’s capacity for sporting events. The indoor venue has a listed capacity of 32,000 for boxing events but seats 64,000 for football. Last weekend, the announced attendance for UTSA‘s football win over Middle Tennessee was 6,182.

Smaller cards around the country have hosted fans in attendance since the pandemic forced restrictions nationwide. But every major bout has been conducted in a closed environment with no paid spectators.

Premier Boxing Champions, which unofficially promotes Davis and Santa Cruz, held a Showtime PPV event last weekend at the Mohegan Sun in Connecticut featuring Jermall Charlo and Jermell Charlo. It was PBC‘s first major event since the COVID-19 shutdown.

Jose Pedraza Defeats Mikkel LesPierre in Catchweight Bout

Jose Pedraza is back in winning form…

The 31-year-old Puerto Rican boxer and former two-time world champion was in excellent form this week as he dominated Mikkel LesPierre, dropping his opponent twice in the 144-pound catchweight bout in the main event of a Top Rank card in Las Vegas.

Jose Pedraza

The scorecards read 100-88, 99-89 and 99-89 in favor of Pedraza (27-3), who showed that he still has a chance to be a title contender.

“I had it all coming together for me,” Pedraza said. “In boxing you can’t have an off night. I was physically fit, I was mentally fit, spiritually fit. I put it all together this evening, I couldn’t afford not to. That’s the kind of performance you get from me when I’m 100 percent focused.”

There was some controversy in the fifth round as LesPierre sent Pedraza to the canvas with a straight left to the body. Later on in the round, Pedraza evened things up by scoring his own knockdown with a left hook-right hook combination.

But before the sixth round started, referee Kenny Bayless paused the action to check the replay in accordance with Nevada State Athletic Commission rules and decided that LesPierre had tangled his feet with Pedraza, and he overturned his original ruling.

But that moment was simply academic, because Pedraza was the dominant force throughout the fight. Boxing out of both the right-handed and southpaw stance, he darted in and out, throwing slashing punches that came from all directions. His upper-body movement made him an elusive target for LesPierre. To cap things off, Pedraza scored another knockdown in the 10th from a left hand and had LesPierre staggering. To LesPierre’s credit, he showed great heart and made it to the final bell.

LesPierre, who worked at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York throughout the coronavirus pandemic, fell to 22-2-1. The 35-year-old had his moments, but it wasn’t enough to overcome Pedraza’s speed and power. By the end of the night, he had a bloody nose and a cut near the corner of his right eye. LesPierre had challenged Maurice Hooker last year for the WBO’s 140-pound title.

Coming off his listless effort against Jose Zepeda last September, there were many questions about the future prospects of Pedraza. Prior to that defeat, the only boxers to beat him were Gervonta Davis and Vasiliy Lomachenko

While his performance versus Zepeda left much to be desired, on this night he was quick, fast and decisive with his movements on both offense and defense. He’s now focused on another title bout in the 140-pound class, which has two unified champions in Jose Ramirez and Josh Taylor.