Golden Boy Promotions Reschedules Welterweight Bout Between Vergil Ortiz Jr. & Michael McKinson

Vergil Ortiz Jr.’s next bout is officially (re)scheduled

The 24-year-old Mexican American boxer will fight Michael McKinson in a rescheduled welterweight bout on August 6 in Fort Worth, Texas, according to Golden Boy Promotions.

Vergil Ortiz Jr.It was previously reported that Ortiz and David Avanesyan had agreed to a deal for a fight on the same date, but according to Ortiz’s manager, Rick Mirigian, Avanesyan reneged.

“[Avanesyan] agreed to the contract in writing, both by text and email,” Mirigian, who also manages former champions Jose Ramirez and Joseph Diaz Jr., told ESPN. “Golden Boy accommodated all of his needs to get this done, and then more frivolous demands followed and he backed out. Golden Boy bent over backwards to accommodate him.”

Mirigian said Avanesyan’s team informed Golden Boy they would return the signed contract but never did. That’s when GBP turned its attention back to McKinson.

The Englishman was set to fight Ortiz on March 19 before Ortiz was hospitalized with rhabdomyolysis, a breakdown of muscle tissue that releases the damaging protein myoglobin into the blood.

McKinson (22-0, 2 KOs) fought a replacement opponent, Alex Martin, on that same date, and won a unanimous decision to remain undefeated.

“I’m getting what I deserve,” said McKinson. “I was prepared to fight Ortiz Jr. before; now, I have been given the opportunity again to prove I am the best in this division.”

Avanesyan, 33, a hard-punching Russian who now resides in the U.K., appeared to present a far more formidable challenge for Ortiz. Avanesyan scored six straight stoppages since a TKO loss to Egidijus Kavaliauskas in 2018. Most notably, Avanesyan stopped Josh Kelly last year, ending his run as a top prospect.

“There was never a deal signed,” a spokesperson for Queensberry Promotions, which promotes Avanesyan, told ESPN. “It was in discussions but didn’t get that far. The terms offered were not acceptable and changed without agreement in the redraft. We never dealt with his manager, we were dealing with Golden Boy. And we notified the WBC that purse offers were preferable. Avanesyan has never run or avoided anyone and for anyone to suggest that is laughable.”

Ortiz, (18-0, 18 KOs), a Dallas native, is one of boxing’s fastest-rising stars. He’s coming off his best win yet, an eighth-round TKO of Kavaliauskas in August. Ortiz was hurt in Round 2 but rallied to score five knockdowns en route to the finish. The nine-month layoff will be the longest of Ortiz’s career.

“I am very happy to be stepping back into the ring again,” said Ortiz, ESPN‘s No. 4 welterweight. “I’m ready to show the world once again why I’m ready for a world title.”

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.

Ryan Garcia Outboxes Emmanuel Tagoe in First-Ever 12 Round Fight to Remain Undefeated

Ryan Garcia is still undeated…

Going an entire 12 rounds, the 23-year-old Mexican American boxer scored a unanimous-decision win over Emmanuel Tagoe on Saturday in San Antonio.

Ryan GarciaThe rising star remained undefeated via scores of 119-108, 119-108 and 118-109.

Garcia (22-0, 18 KOs) scored a flash knockdown of Tagoe in Round 2 with a grazing right hand, but was unable to produce a second knockdown as the Ghanaian seldomly engaged.

Garcia picked Tagoe (32-2, 15 KOs) apart with right hands to the body and left hooks to the head as the massive underdog languished on the ropes in a shell.

Garcia, ESPN‘s No. 6 lightweight, sent Tagoe reeling in Round 10 after he connected with another right hand, but the 33-year-old was able to buy time and make it out of the round.

“I hit him with some shots, he was crafty with the holding,” said Garcia. “He was moving a lot, I have to be better at cutting off the ring. I had to trap him down, it was a new experience trying to cut the ring off with a guy who’s looking to survive.

“I caught him with a super good right hand and he was really hurt but I couldn’t find the next shot.”

The 139-pound catchweight bout was Garcia’s first since a seventh-round TKO of Luke Campbell in January 2021, a breakthrough performance. Garcia was slated for another step-up bout in July of last year against Javier Fortuna, but Garcia withdrew to address his mental health.

Garcia was then set to fight former titleholder Joseph Diaz Jr., in November, but he suffered a wrist injury while training and underwent surgery that October.

When he returned to the gym, Garcia did so with a new trainer, Joe Goossen, whom he worked with during his amateur days. Garcia had trained with Eddy Reynoso at Canelo Alvarez‘s San Diego gym for his past five fights before they parted ways.

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 Diaz Jr. Agrees to WBC Lightweight Title Fight Against Devin Haney

Joseph Diaz Jr. is thisclose to a title fight…

The 28-year-old Mexican American boxer and Devin Haney have agreed to terms for a WBC lightweight title fight on December 3 or December 4 in Las Vegas on DAZN, according to ESPN.Joseph Diaz Jr.

Contracts haven’t been signed yet but details are in the process of being finalized, sources said. The framework of the deal includes a rematch clause in the event Haney loses.

The fight is part of an intriguing three-week stretch for the lightweight division. Teofimo Lopez, who holds four lightweight titles, fights George Kambosos on November 27 on DAZN.

One week later, Eddie Hearn will promote another important lightweight fight with the Haney-Diaz clash. That same weekend, on December 5, Gervonta Davis fights Rolando Romero on Showtime PPV.

And then on December 11 on ESPN, Vasiliy Lomachenko meets Richard Commey.

The Haney-Diaz agreement caps months of back-and-forth insults traded between the boxers. When Diaz (32-1-1, 15 KOs) agreed to fight Ryan Garcia on November 27, Haney (26-0, 15 KOs) accused Diaz of ducking a chance at him.

But that fight fell through when Garcia suffered a hand injury in training and underwent surgery on Monday. With Haney and Diaz both in need of an end-of-year fight, the matchup made too much sense for all parties.

Haney, ESPN’s No. 3 lightweight, is coming off the biggest win of his career, a May decision victory over former champion Jorge Linares. Diaz, too, is coming off a strong performance, a July points win over Javier Fortuna that earned him the No. 7 spot in ESPN’s lightweight rankings.

That was the Olympian’s first fight at 135 pounds. He defeated Tevin Farmer in 2020 to win a 130-pound title and in his other title bid, lost to Gary Russell Jr. at 126 pounds in 2018.

Haney, No. 3 on ESPN’s list of the top 25 boxers under 25, is one of the sport’s fastest-rising stars. The Las Vegas-based fighter boasts over 1 million followers on Instagram, and with his abundant charisma, surely has a chance to break through to the mainstream. What’s stopped him thus far is lack of opposition.

The 22-year-old Haney often calls himself the most-avoided fighter in the sport. That can no longer be said with a stern challenger in Diaz lined up for December.

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.”

Oscar De La Hoya Partners with Facebook to Stream Live Boxing & Original Programming

Life is but a stream for Oscar De La Hoya

Facebook is punching up its video lineup with more live sports, inking a deal with the 45-year-old Mexican American boxer-turned-promoter’s Golden Boy Promotions to stream live boxing and original programming on the platform.

Oscar De La Hoya

The live boxing will be available to fans in the U.S. on Facebook Watch and globally via the Golden Boy Promotions page on Facebook.

The pact expands L.A.-based Golden Boy’s distribution outlets, which include deals with ESPN, ESPN, ESPN Deportes, HBO, EstrellaTV,and RingTV.com. The company also distributes content on owned-and-operated sites CaneloGGG.com and GoldenBoyPPV.com.

Under the pact, the first of Golden Boy’s five live fight nights on Facebook will be August 11, featuring Jesus Rojas (26-1-2, 19 KOs) defending his WBA World Featherweight title against Joseph “JoJo “Diaz Jr. (26-1, 14 KOs) at the Avalon Theater in Hollywood. The second live bout be on August 18 with light heavyweight contender Sullivan Barrera (21-2, 14 KOs) squaring off against a yet-to-be announced opponent at the Sands Casino Resort in Bethlehem, Pa.

The boxing bouts will not carry any advertising. So far, none of the live sports broadcasts on Facebook have carried ads but the company has been experimenting with inserting ads into live-streaming video.

For the live Facebook boxing series, Golden Boy has teamed with Kathy Duva’s Main Events boxing promotion company to increase “the number of world-class fighters to be featured.” Golden Boy’s live boxing series on Facebook will be augmented with “shoulder programming,” including rebroadcasts of past fights featuring commentary from the boxers themselves, with the first content slated to debut July 13. The on-demand programming also will feature celebrities, influencers, and boxing commentators.

De La Hoya, a former prizefighter who won multiple boxing world titles in six different weight classes, touted the Facebook agreement as a “game-changing deal for the sport of boxing.” “The reach of Facebook is just incredible, and our sponsorship conversations will truly resonate with brands across all categories,” De La Hoya said in a statement. Kathy Duva added, “We look now to a future with Facebook with unlimited opportunity, where promoters can work together to best serve the interests of the fighters and fans all over the world.”

Golden Boy Media and Entertainment will produce the live fights and original programming for Facebook, with De La Hoya serving as executive producer. The content will take advantage of Facebook’s social features; for example, the live broadcasts will incorporate the real-time fan interaction and engagement.