Rolly Romero is going on the defensive…
The 29-year-old Latino boxer has finalized a deal to defend his WBA 140-pound title against Isaac “Pitbull” Cruz on March 30 in Las Vegas, sources tell ESPN.
The development comes after Ryan Garcia claimed Wednesday evening on social media that he was fighting Romero on April 20. On Thursday morning after ESPN broke the news of Romero-Cruz, Garcia posted on X that he was “informed the deal was finalizing and it would be announced in the coming days.”
“Obviously that was a lie,” Garcia wrote. “My patience has been tested the last few weeks. … I’ll be looking forward to announcing my next fight. I’m not going to say anything until it’s actually signed and delivered.”
Romero (15-1, 13 KOs) is one of the most outspoken fighters in boxing. He won the title in controversial fashion with a ninth-round TKO victory over Ismael Barroso in May. Barroso dropped Romero in Round 3 and didn’t appear to be in serious trouble when the referee stopped the bout.
Romero, who fights out of Las Vegas, suffered his lone professional defeat in May 2022, a sixth-round TKO defeat to Gervonta Davis.
Cruz (25-2, 17 KOs) will move up to 140 pounds for his first full-fledged title shot. He challenged Davis for a secondary lightweight title in December 2021 and dropped a tightly contested decision.
The Mexico City native has won three bouts since the loss, victories over Yuriorkis Gamboa (TKO 5), Eduardo Ramirez (KO 2) and Giovanni Cabrera (split decision). Cruz hasn’t competed since the win over Cabrera in July.