Ryan Garcia (23-0, 19 KOs) sent a message to everybody in the boxing world by delivering a spectacular performance against former two-time world champion Javier Fortuna (37-4-1, 26 KOs) at Crypto.com Arena in Los Angeles Saturday night.
Garcia dropped Fortuna three times. The first knockdown came from a Garcia body shot that brought Fortuna down in the fourth round. Fortuna got dropped again in the fifth round, and Garcia ended the night with a left hook 27 seconds into Round 6 to get the knockout win.
“I know that I performed well for myself. I was crisp, sharp, and I stayed in my truth,” Garcia said after the win. “I didn’t do anything crazy. I know how good of a fighter I am; I just had to put it all together, just like tonight. Fortuna hit hard; he has a hard fist. Like I said, when I fight stronger opponents, I box better. Yes, I caught him with a body shot. He thought I was going for the head, but I switched it on him. I felt he was going to throw the Luke Campbell shot [the shot that dropped Ryan against Campbell]. I feel like everyone is going to try to hit me with that shot. I hit hard, so it doesn’t take much to hurt someone.”
Photo Credit: Tom Hogan/Golden Boy
Garcia, who fought Fortuna at 140 pounds, said he felt good at the weight and says he’s staying at 14o. Also, Garcia said he wants the undefeated Gervonta “Tank” Davis next.
“I felt way better at this weight,” he said. “I’m not going down to 135 for nothing. But I will fight Tank next if he wants it at 140. I’ll make sure to record all the negotiations so you can’t say I was ducking. I want that fight because it’s going to give me the respect I deserve. I’m never afraid. I have a spirit of competition in me, and you’re going to see that come out when I fight Tank and whoop his ass.”
This was an impressive performance by Garcia, and a fight with Davis would be enormous. Errol Spence Jr.-Terence Crawford is still the best fight to be made in boxing, but Davis-Garcia could easily be bigger. However, it’s boxing, so there are some obstacles. Davis is with Al Haymon/PBC, and Garcia is with Golden Boy/DAZN, so that’s an issue. Both sides must determine if the fight is big enough to work together. It’s big, but is it big enough? That’s for them to decide.
Let’s hope we see it next.
In the co-main event of the night, Orange County’s fan favorite, Alexis “Lex” Rocha (20-1, 13 KOs) of Santa Ana, CA, defeated Luis Veron (19-5-2, 9 KOs) of Buenos Aires, Arg. to capture the NABO Welterweight Title in a 10-round fight. Both fighters were willing to make calculated moves as they tried to land effective punches. Rocha landing the more precise shots took the scorecards with 100-90, 100-90 and 99-91 winning via unanimous decision.
“My strategy for this fight was to go in there and break him down,” said Alexis Rocha. “I knew he was going to be a durable fighter; he gets hit and stays there. Once that happened in the fight I knew he was just going to survive. Training is always great with my team, they’re always pushing me. I went there with a game plan and I followed it the best I could. It feels good fighting in front of a big crowd here at the Crypto Arena. Having my Santa Ana crowd behind me, it made me feel good. Onto the next level now.”
The night’s main attraction featured non-stop action and celeb appearances by actors Michael B. Jordan, Danny Trejo, television personality Mario Lopez, and the LA Rams’ Sean McVay and Aron Donald. The action started with Fortuna taking the initiative and going after Ryan, with the latter utilizing his jab and long punches.
Also on the DAZN live stream, Lamont Roach Jr. (23-1-1, 9 KOs) of Washington, DC, went the distance against tough opponent Angel “Humildad” Rodriguez (20-2, 10 KOs) of Barranquilla, COL. for a 12-round WBA Super Featherweight Title Eliminator. Roach Jr. fought smart and defensively, taking the fight forward. Roach Jr. won unanimously with scores of 116-112, 116-112 and 117-111.
“My strategy was to stay tight and keep the pressure on him,” said Lamont Roach Jr. “We knew it would break him down. He was a tall and lanky fighter so we were watching out for the looping shots. He had a nice 1-2, the ones that landed I let him. He was really good defensively, but if we would’ve kept the punch output higher I would have stopped him. He was very evasive.”
“He’s an amazing fighter, extremely intelligent,” said Angel Rodriguez. “He knows how to work his rival and always keep his composure even when getting hit. In these events it’s them who decide who wins and as an athlete I’d fight him again. We tried to win but he simply came with better preparation and strategy, that’s why he took the victory.”
Opening up the live stream on DAZN, Rialto’s Ricardo “El Nino” Sandoval (20-2, 15 KOs) faced undefeated fighter David “Medallita” Jimenez (12-0, 9 KOs) of Cartago, CRI, in a 12-round fight for the WBA Flyweight Title Eliminator. In the 11th round, Sandoval was shaken and hit the canvas; after he got back up he was literally saved by the bell as Jimenez launched an attack to try to finish the fight. The fighters engaged in a crowd pleasing final round with the victory awarded to David Jimenez by the judges via majority decision with scores of 112-114, 112-114, and 113-113.
“I’m happy and grateful for this new victory,” said David Jimenez. “We executed our game plan perfectly. In the first 6 rounds it was a lot of movement and aiming. After the 6th round I started to take advantage. My rival was very tough and stubborn. He has a lot ahead of him. I’m going to go home after this victory and spend time with my family then get back into the gym.”
“I felt like I was boxing him correctly so I feel very good,” said Ricardo Sandoval. “I was also countering him downstairs and upstairs. But you know these things happen. I felt like I won the fight. The people won tonight and got one hell of a fight.”
The Golden Boy Fight Night: Garcia vs. Fortuna Prelims portion of the night was headlined by Oscar Collazo (5-0, 3 KOs) of Villalba, PR, taking on Victorio Saludar (21-6, 11 KOs) in a 12-round fight for the WBA Minimumweight Title Eliminator. The battle was close as both fighters got a knock-down in the seventh round, but Collazo took the edge by putting the pressure and coming forward. Collazo won via unanimous decision with scores of 118-112, 116-110, and 116-110.
“It was a tough fight. I had to use my whole toolbox,” said Oscar Collazo. “My opponent was powerful and experienced; he’s a veteran in the sport. But, thanks to my corner, I got in the ring and fought round by round. A world championship is next. I want to be a champion.”
Next, Diego De La Hoya (23-1, 11 KOs) of Mexicali, MX, dominates Enrique Bernache (24-14, 12 KOs) of Guadalajara, MX, early in a scheduled 10-round featherweight fight by throwing powerful counters. Although Bernache was slipping a lot during the fight, it didn’t stop Diego from keeping him at a distance and destroying him in the fourth round at the 2:51 marker via knockout.
“I felt thrilled to be back, said Diego De La Hoya. “I haven’t fought in two years, so I felt great. My opponent was tough. I’ll probably fight again in September. Hopefully, I will fight for a championship soon.”
Opening the night, Los Angeles’ Miguel Gaona (3-0, 2 KOs) defeats Abdiel Padilla (1-3, 1 KO) of Caguas, PR, dominantly via KO in the first round of a scheduled 4-round super lightweight fight. Gaona started slow and cautious at the beginning of the round, only to finish his opponent with a body shot at the end of the round.
Undefeated lightweight contender Ryan Garcia (22-0, 18KOs) and former two-time world champion Javier “El Abejon” Fortuna (37-3-1, 26 KOs) spoke Thursday at the final press conference before their 12-round lightweight showdown that will take place Saturday night at the Crypto.com Arena in Los Angeles.
In the co-main event, Alexis “Lex” Rocha (19-1, 13 KOs) of Santa Ana, CA, who will be facing Luis Veron (19-4-2, 9 KOs) of Buenos Aires, Arg. in a 10-round fight for the vacant NABO Welterweight Title. Also, in attendance was Lamont Roach Jr. (22-1-1, 9 KOs) of Washington, DC, who is scheduled for 12-rounds for the WBA Super Featherweight Title Eliminator against Angel “Humildad” Rodriguez (20-1, 10 KOs) of Barranquilla, COL.
Below are what Garcia and Fortuna had to say today at the press conference:
Ryan Garcia, Undefeated Lightweight Contender:
Photos: Cris Esqueda & Lily Heredia
“I’m determined to do something amazing, entertain the fans and give them a sow. He wants to knock me out too so we’re going to come in and throw our punches and give the fans a great show.”
“Now I’m focused and locked in. I’m ready to do my job. I’m done talking. I just bring my good energy and speak the truth.”
“Many respectable athletes like that and want to come see me fight. People respect you when you’re good at what you do.”
“[Fortuna gives Garcia his Chicago Bulls hat as a gift after Ryan says he likes the Chicago Bulls] We know what we do. I’m coming to F*ck him up too. I don’t care if he gave me a hat or not.”
Javier Fortuna, former Two-Time World Champion:
Obviously there have been a couple of times in my career where I left it up to the judges and it wasn’t a good thing. It’s either he kills me or I kill him.[Fortuna gives Garcia his Chicago Bulls hat as a gift after Ryan says he likes the Chicago Bulls] Me giving you this hat, doesn’t guarantee I won’t break your face on Saturday. I don’t want any excuses.”
A few days have passed, and Rolando Romero (14-1, 12 KOs) has reflected on his fight in which he lost to Gervonta “Tank” Davis (27-0, 25 KOs), in front of a record-setting crowd at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York.
“I lost to the better man that night, I felt was doing a good job backing him up with my jab,” said Romero when reflecting on the fight. “I was winning the fight and I made a mistake and got caught. I will work hard to get back to the top with the goal to become a champion. Much respect to Tank and I wish him well. “The Rolly Show” must go on.”
The 26-year-old Romero, who many discounted going into this bout, proved that he is one of the top lightweights in the world, and despite being listed as an underdog by the oddsmakers, never appeared to be outclassed by one of the best fighters in the world until the knockout punch landed.
The Las Vegas native has made it clear that he is already back in the gym and wants the very best competition that is available. Whether it is Ryan Garcia, Devin Haney, or George Kambosos Jr., Romero is interested in pursuing fights with all the top fighters in the division.
“I’ll be ready to get back in the ring as soon as my name is called,” said Romero in closing. “I know I got what it takes to be a world champion, and sooner than later, I will accomplish that goal. I made a name for myself and now I can get those big fights with all the top fighters in the division. Haney, Garcia, Kambosos, I want to fight them all. At some point, I will want my rematch with Tank, but I know I’ll have to work my back to that position.”
Photo: Ryan Hafey/Premier Boxing
Undefeated, lightweight superstar Ryan Garcia (22-0, 18KOs) of Victorville, CA, will face former two-time world champion Javier Fortuna (37-3-1, 26 KOs) of La Romana, DR.
The 12-round lightweight fight will take place on Saturday, July 16 and will stream live worldwide, exclusively on DAZN.
“If there is any doubt I was hesitant to fight Fortuna a year ago, that will all be made clear after our fight,” said Ryan Garcia. “This was the fight I wanted and now it’s time. I am so grateful to my friends, family, and especially my fans for their support. I have never felt better, stronger, and more motivated. It’s time to silence all the doubters and it starts on July 16.”
“This is going to be a very exciting fight. I know it didn’t take place last year like originally announced but I hope that this time it will be real so that I can offer a good show to the public,” said Javier Fortuna. “I feel very happy with the work that I have been doing with my promoter, Sampson who has been trusting me since the beginning of my career. I will prepare 100% to win my fight. I trust my team now more than ever and have full confidence in my coach Belvin García, who I consider my family. Together, and with God on our side, I know we will hold up our hands high in victory on fight night.”
“It’s time to show the world Ryan Garcia as an elite level fighter,” said Oscar De La Hoya, Chairman and CEO, Golden Boy. “This fight against Javier Fortuna will not only be a tough fight, it will show the world how talented he is.”
After a spectacular performance against top-ten lightweight contender Emmanuel Tagoe in April 2022, Ryan Garcia proved he still is a force to be reckoned with in the lightweight division. Originally scheduled to face Fortuna in July 2021, Garcia was forced to bow out of the event due to mental health struggles. However, he has defeated almost every top contender via knockout, including a seventh-round stoppage of 2012 Olympic gold medalist Luke Campbell in 2021. His amazing undefeated career with 18 knock-outs inside the ring, including his spectacular shutout performance against Emmanuel Tagoe has earned him a spot as one of the lightweight divisions top stars of our time. Now, the 23-year-old, undefeated lightweight sensation is on a mission to prove he has what it takes to defeat the division’s elite.
Ranked in the top 10 of the lightweight division by ESPN.com, the WBC, and The Ring Magazine, Javier Fortuna is a dangerous lightweight contender with a lot to prove on July 16. The 33-year-old southpaw is a former two-time world champion who previously held the WBA Interim Featherweight World Championship and the WBA Super Featherweight World Championship. Fortuna was last seen in a spectacular first round stoppage of Rafael Hernandez in Santo Domingo, DR this past February and will be looking to have another spectacular performance when he faces Ryan Garcia on July 16.
San Antonio was treated to fireworks at the Alamodome today when the undefeated boxing superstar, Ryan Garcia (22-0, 18KOs) of Victorville, CA, made a triumphant return to the ring against the top-rated Emmanuel “The Gameboy” Tagoe (32-2, 15KOs) of Accra, Ghana.
The 12-round lightweight fight featured a strong performance from Garcia to a crowd of 14,459 as he landed an early power punch that sent Tageo to the canvas in the second round. Once both fighters found their rhythm, Garcia systematically broke down the Ghanaian boxer as he landed precise punches to the head and body
.Tagoe tried his best to keep his distance using an ineffective jab. Garcia visibly hurt Tageo in the 10th round, but the Ghanaian fighter resorted to holding Garcia to prevent further punishment. Ultimately, the judges ruled in Garcia’s favor with scores of 119-108, 118-109, 119-108 for a victory by unanimous decision.
“He was making it difficult for me to end it,” said Garcia. “He was crafty with the holding, and I was trying to get him off me, and he was moving a lot; it was a new experience. I think I have to cut the ring off better with a guy who will keep moving all 12 rounds. I made sure to get him in the body a lot and used my left hook to hurt him. I have a lot of love for San Antonio. It was great that after a year and a half layoff, I was received by such a great crowd. It’s a blessing. I wanted to knock him out, but he was very crafty. At the moment, I could feel like I hurt him, but he really can take a punch.”
Oscar De La Hoya was happy with Garcia’s performance.
“I think Ryan did a fantastic job, after a one-and-a-half layoff,” said De La Hoya. “He fought a tough guy from Ghanna with only one defeat, he was slick, he was tough, he was surviving the whole night. Ryan almost had him out but I am glad Ryan went 12-rounds, it was a great experience.”
Garcia’s trainer Joe Goosen said Tagoe was just looking to survive.
“In between rounds I was just telling him you’ve got to track him down,” said Joe Goossen, Trainer to Ryan Garcia. “He’s not going to engage you just have to keep the pressure on. He’s a tough kid. He only has one loss in the beginning of his career. He’s been on a win streak for a very long time. He has a great chin. He was in great shape and he came here to win. He didn’t comer here to lose. But after a while he was not trying to win, he was just trying to survive. Ryan was then trying to track him down and trying to catch him. Tahoe was not being very agreeable and he didn’t engage to fight a lot. Who will we fight next? I take a back seat to all of that. They don’t come to the gym and tell me how to train my guys and I don’t go to their office and tell them how to make fights. When they throw something g at me I say that sounds good to me and we go to work.”
There are big fights for Garcia, but we’ll see how Golden Boy Promotion handles him going forward. Do they get him a big fight next, or let him take a few confidence-building fights? We shall see.
In the co-main event of the night, the resilient “King” Gabriel Rosado (26-15-1, 15 KOs) of Philadelphia, PA, was defeated by Shane Mosley Jr. (18-4, 10 KOs) of Pomona, CA, via majority decision in a 10-round fight capturing the WBA Continental Americas Super Middleweight title. The fight went the distance as Mosley used his jab to set up his shots, while Rosado became the aggressor. Mosley, Jr. made great use of his footwork and head movement to avoid many of Rosado’s power punches. Mosley won with scores of 98-92, 97-39, and 95-95.
“They know who I am now,” said Shane Mosley, Jr. “Gabriel is a great champ. We have to see what’s available. Right now 168 is tied up. Canelo has all the belts. Unless he vacates or fights someone else. I mean who’s going to turn down Canelo. I moved to 168 for the opportunity.”
History was made for women’s boxing as Houston’s Marlen Esparza (12-1, 1 KOs) defeated Tokyo’s Naoko Fujioka (19-3-1, 17 KOs) via unanimous decision and was crowned the WBC, WBA, and first ever Ring Magazine Flyweight World Championship. The 10-round championship fight was full of edge-of-your seat action as both fighters came forward and delivered devastating punches. Esparza made sure to use her feet to avoid some of Fujioka’s attacks. Ultimately, the judges ruled in favor of Esparza with scores of 100-90, 100-90 and 97-93.
“I thought it was a really good performance considering how hard she brings it,” said Marlen Esparza. “She’s a very seasoned fighter, she’s a world champion. I’m proud we did everything we practiced, me and my couch James Cooper. We really executed well and we expected it to go that way. You don’t know what a world champion can bring. We had to be patient and see what she had to bring to the table. It wasn’t tough because of the punches but more because she was smothering. I’m really just grateful I could have this experience not only for womens’ boxing but for my fans and really solidify the division. I really want the next two belts. ‘La Bonita’ from Argentina is the one I want, but I have to let my team decide what’s next. I’m happy for the future.”
Azat Hovhannisyan (21-3, 17 KOs) of Los Angeles, CA, stopped Dagoberto Aguero (15-2, 10 KOs) of San Cristobal, Dominican Republic, in the second via TKO in a 10-round featherweight fight. Hovhannisyan stopped his opponent with heavy shots stopping him at the 1:11 marker of the second round. All fights were streamed live, exclusively on DAZN worldwide.
“I was planning on escalating the fight as it went on,” said Azat Hovhannisyan. “That was just the second round pace. I was warming up. When I landed the first body shot I knew I was going to hurt him.”
Headlining the action on the Golden Boy Fight Night on YouTube, with Beto Duran and the pride of San Antonio, WBA Flyweight World Champion Joshua Franco calling the fights; former world champion Patrick Teixeira (31-3, 22 KOs) of Sao Paulo, Brazil, fought Paul Valenzuela (27-11, 17 KOs) of Santa Rosalia, Mexico, in a scheduled 10-round middleweight battle. Teixeira was unfortunately disqualified in the second round due hitting his opponent on the back of the head. Leaving Valenzuela the winner via DQ.
The co-main event of the Golden Boy Fight Night live on YouTube featured two undefeated fighters, San Antonio’s Gregory Morales (13-0, 8 KOs) and Hollywood, CA’s Katsuma Akitsugi (8-0, 1 KOs) in a crowd pleasing scrap. Both fighters came forward and delivered an action packed fight, as they each stayed in the pocket to break down one another. The 8-round featherweight fight ended with Akitsugi taking the unanimous decision victory. Akitsugi won with scores of 78-74, 80-72, and 78-74.
“I want to thank my trainer and my sponsor,” said Katsuma Akitsugi. “ I’ve been through a lot and they helped me be more focused. I’m always training hard, no days off. So when they call me I don’t lose my opportunity.”
After a long layoff due to injury, Tristan Kalkreuth (9-1, 7KOs) of Duncanville, TX, stopped Santander Silgado (30-11, 24 KOs) of Panama City, Panama via a spectacular second round KO at the 2:15 marker. The heavyweight fight was originally scheduled for 6-rounds.
“I’m very blessed to be here and be back where I am,” said Tristan Kalkreuth. “It’s a lot of emotions right now. I felt good. I was anxious and a little nervous. I’ve been out of the ring for 8 months. I was curious to see how my arm would feel. I went in and threw a right hand, it felt 100.
In a lively scrap, George Rincon (13-0, 7 KOs) of Dallas, Texas, defeated Alejandro Frias (13-6-2, 6 KOs) of Tepic, Mexico, via unanimous decision with scores of 96-91, 96-91, and 98-89. The 10-round super lightweight battle saw some notable moments when Rincon was pushed out of the ring and received a head butt that made the judges take away a point from Frias.
“That was obviously my toughest fight to date,” said George Rincon. He was a very rugged fighter, I knew that coming into the fight. But this experience is only going to make me better. I was able to identify things that I still have to work on.”
Dallas’ Hector Valdes Jr. (15-0, 8 KOs) beat Mexico City’s Daniel Moncada (15-6-2, 5 KOs) in an 8-round super bantamweight fight. Valdez Jr. won with scores of (80-71), (79-72) and (78-72) via unanimous decision.
“I feel really rusty,” said Hector Valdez Jr. “ I think I could’ve taken him out if I trained more. It’s the first fight in over a year. I hurt him but he was really crafty to get in and hit him. There were punches there but as soon as I threw them he would move a little and they would go off course.”
In the first fight of the night, Santos Ortega (7-0, 3 KOs) of Sacramento, CA defeated Hollywood, Florida’s Jesus Martinez (30-16-1, 15 KOs) via knock out at the 2:15 marker of the second round. The fight was originally scheduled to be a 6-round featherweight fight.
“This is probably the best and strongest I’ve ever felt,” said Santos Ortega. “I was praying everything went good. He was waiting for that overhand and I was too. I knew I had him hurt with a right hand and I just went in. I knew he was done, I felt it.
Photos: Golden Boy Promotions