Chris Avila to Fight YouTube star Doctor Mike in October

Chris Avila is puttin’ on the boxing gloves…

The 29-year-old Latino UFC and Bellator MMA veteran will compete against YouTube star Doctor Mike in a four-round, professional boxing match on October 29 in Glendale, Arizona.

Chris AvilaThe contracted weight will be 185 pounds, and the pair will fight with 10-ounce gloves. An official announcement is expected to be made soon.

Doctor Mike, whose real name is Mikhail Varshavski, is a well-known social media influencer with more than 23 million followers across platforms and more than 10 million YouTube subscribers.

Varshavski competed in an amateur boxing match back in May, a unanimous decision win over YouTube personality IaniDubbbzWashburn. That event raised $1.3 million for charity, and Varshavski donated his entire fight purse to Ukraine relief. For the Avila fight, Varshavski will donate his purse to the Boys & Girls Club, per officials.

“As a practicing physician, I’ve taken an oath to ‘do no harm,’ but when those ‘exam’ gloves come off and the boxing gloves slide on: all bets are off,” Varshavski said via a statement. “With one win under my belt, I’m hungry to add more. And this pro-fight with Chris Avila could be just what the doctor ordered.”

This will be Varshavski’s pro boxing debut, as he joins the likes of Jake Paul as famous YouTubers competing against professional boxers.

Avila is 1-1 as a pro boxer and is an eight-year veteran of mixed martial arts, a longtime member of Nate Diaz‘s team in Northern California. Most recently, Avila beat Paul sparring partner Anthony Taylor last December in a boxing match via majority decision. Avila is expected to be the first fighter signed to Diaz’s new promotional entity Real Fight Inc., which is still going through the process of getting licensed by athletic commissions.

“Hmmmm, let’s see. I am giving him a height advantage, a reach advantage and a medical degree advantage,” Avila said on Tuesday. “It’s whatever though. If he wants to go to boxing fantasy camp, then I’m glad to give him the lesson he wants. A real fight against a real fighter who is not here to play games or clout chase for Instagram.”

Also on the card, Paul’s Most Valuable Promotions‘ top prospect, 18-year-old Ashton Sylve, will face boxing veteran Braulio Rodriguez in an eight-round fight contracted at 133 pounds, per officials. Sylve is undefeated at 7-0 with seven knockouts, and Rodriguez (20-4, 17 KOs) is just one fight removed from competing against Ryan Garcia, a 2018 knockout loss at Madison Square Garden. This represents a major step up in competition for Sylve.

The card will be put on by MVP and distributed by Showtime.

“MVP was started 14 months ago with a goal to elevate fighters and provide a platform that puts them first,” Paul and MVP co-founder Nakisa Bidarian said via a statement. “From the highest levels of boxing like Amanda Serrano, to young elite prospects like Ashton Sylve and unique crossover matchups like Avila vs. Dr. Mike, we pride ourselves on delivering exciting events that have something for everyone. On Saturday October 29, we are proud to partner with Showtime once again and deliver a night of boxing for the ages.”

Ryan Garcia Impresses with Sixth-Round Knockout of Javier Fortuna

Ryan Garcia is celebrating a decisive win…

Following a disappointing performance in April, the 23-year-old Mexican American boxer logged an impressive sixth-round knockout of Javier Fortuna in a 140-pound bout in Los Angeles.

Ryan GarciaGarcia floored Fortuna in Rounds 4, 5 and 6, all the result of Garcia’s lightning-quick left hook. The first knockdown was produced by a body shot — and set up by a feint — but the following two hooks crashed into Fortuna’s chin.

After the last knockdown, Fortuna received the referee’s 10 count on one knee, the end of the fight coming 27 seconds into Round 6.

“I know that I was sharp. … I know how good of a fighter I am, I just had to put it all together,” Garcia (23-0, 19 KOs) said. “The fight speaks for itself. … When I face harder punchers, I box better. … I hit hard; it doesn’t take a lot to hurt somebody.”

Garcia is ESPN’s No. 6 boxer at 135 pounds, but his last two fights have been contested at 140, a weight he said he’s far more comfortable at.

“I’m not going back down to 135 for nothing, but I will fight ‘Tank’ next,” Garcia said, referring to a super fight with Gervonta Davis. “If ‘Tank’ wants it at 140 … let’s get it.”

Davis, also a star fighter, campaigns at 135 pounds, but did fight at junior welterweight once, an 11th-round TKO of Mario Barrios last June.

A matchup between Davis and Garcia is one of the biggest commercial events boxing can deliver, but consummating a deal won’t be easy, given the promotional and network divide. Davis is aligned with PBC and fights on Showtime, whereas Garcia is aligned with Golden Boy and fights on DAZN.

Whomever Garcia fights next, he plans to fight December, and it’s apparent he’s improving after a tumultuous 2021.

Following a January 2021 TKO of Luke Campbell in a career-best victory, Garcia was set to fight Fortuna last July but withdrew to address his mental health. A November fight with former champion Joseph Diaz Jr. was scrapped after Garcia underwent surgery to repair his right wrist.

He returned in April to outpoint Emmanuel Tagoe, but there wasn’t much action in the fight and Garcia surprisingly never put the Ghanian away despite hurting him several times.

Garcia had no such issues against Fortuna, a 33-year-old Dominican who is ESPN’s No. 10 lightweight. He appeared to inflict damage every time he touched him. But Garcia wasn’t just far bigger than Fortuna, he was also much quicker. He consistently beat Fortuna to the punch and kept him at the end of his jab.

Fortuna rarely threw a punch, and when he did, the shots rarely met the mark. The right eye of Fortuna (37-4-1, 26 KOs) was swollen by the end. It was Fortuna’s second loss in three fights; he was outpointed by Diaz last July.

“They told me I was some guy who doesn’t care about boxing and who made up mental health [issues],” Garcia said.

He added: “It’s not weakness. It’s strength. It’s courage.”

With Garcia now returned to form, and with a second fight under the tutelage of Joe Goossen, he should be ready for far better opposition, whether it’s Davis, undisputed lightweight champ Devin Haney or any of the best fighters at his new weight class.

“Let’s get the big fights going,” Garcia said. “I’m sure Devin can’t make 135 either, let’s be honest. That dude is big, too. … None of us are gonna be at 135, let’s be real.”

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.”

Vergil Ortiz, Jr. to Reportedly Train with Eddy Reynoso

Vergil Ortiz, Jr. is making a big change…

The 23-year-old Mexican professional boxer, one of the fastest rising stars in boxing, has a new trainer.

Vergil Ortiz Jr.

The undefeated welterweight, who has long been with former trainer of the year Robert Garcia, will be under the guidance of Eddy Reynoso as he prepares for his first bout of 2022.

Ortiz will train with Reynoso at Canelo Alvarez‘s San Diego gym, according to ESPN.

Ortiz denied Friday that the change to Reynoso is happening. Garcia, meanwhile, posted a YouTube video in which he confirmed that Ortiz told him last month that he was opting to leave Garcia’s camp.

Reynoso is best known for training Canelo, the pound-for-pound best boxer in the world. Along with Alvarez, Reynoso is the trainer of star lightweight Ryan Garcia, former heavyweight champion Andy Ruiz Jr., 130-pound champion Oscar Valdez, heavyweight Frank Sanchez and 112-pound champion Julio Cesar Martinez.

Coming off a Boxing Writers Association of America Trainer of the Year campaign, Reynoso now adds Ortiz.

Ortiz makes the change on the heels of the biggest year of his career. He stepped way up in competition with a seventh-round KO of former champion Maurice Hooker in March and then topped that performance with an eight-round TKO of Egidijus Kavaliauskas in August.

Ortiz (18-0, 18 KOs) is now eyeing a January return with Reynoso in his corner.

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.”

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.