It’s Golden Boy Promotions fight week, which means we will see the return of “KingRy.” Undefeated lightweight Ryan Garcia (22-0) will face veteran fighter Javier Fortuna (37-3-1). The fight will be streamed on DAZN and will take place at the Crypto.com Arena in Los Angeles, CA.
It’s a quick turnaround for Garcia as he stepped into the ring only once last year. A 15-month layoff followed the Luke Campbell TKO victory as Ryan was dealing with mental health issues that required some time away from the sport. After going twelve rounds with a not-so-game Emanuel Tagoe, Garcia is back to face Fortuna, who he was initially scheduled to fight last July.
As much attention is being paid to the main event, I checked in with Golden Boy Promotions Vice President and Matchmaker Roberto Diaz as we covered Saturday night, the next club show in Indio, and the latest in the talks between Gilberto “Zurdo” Ramirez and Dmitry Bivol.
This weekend’s undercard isn’t filled with names that most would recognize, but that doesn’t mean the fights will not entertain. Diaz is excited to showcase some of the talent that should start receiving some attention as they can potentially become world champions in the near future. Diaz told NYF, “I’m very excited about this card, not because I’m promoting it, but because there are three world title eliminators. Oscar Collazo is only (4-0) and can possibly fight for a world title at (5-0) if everything works out for him. That would be the fastest world champion coming out of Puerto Rico, which had some amazing world champions.”
Diaz then got into two specific fighters, Ricardo Sandoval and Lamont Roach Jr., who could see that title opportunity come to fruition with a victory on Saturday night. Diaz told NYF “Ricardo Sandoval (20-1) is in a world title eliminator. Here’s a guy I saw grow right before me and has amazed me each time. We went to the U.K a little over a year ago and was the B-side for that one. He knocked out a kid who had never been knocked out. Now he is going up against David Jimenez (11-0), who only has eleven fights but had almost three hundred amateur fights. I’m a little nervous about it, but you have to fight the best at this point of the game. If he beats Jimenez, the next fight will be for the world title.
Lamont Roach Jr. (22-1-1) is in the same boat as he is fighting a guy from Columbia who is (20-1) by the name of Angel Rodriguez. He is bringing a little bit of the unknown, but Lamont (Roach Jr.) wants a second shot at the world title.”
As we moved from this weekend’s card, I brought up the club show event that GBP will have at the Fantasy Springs Resort & Casino in Indio, CA, on July 28. The main event will feature Jousce Gonzalez (12-0-1), who stays busy and wants to make a name for himself after being on the shelf for a while due to injuries.
“That should be a very fun card because you have some locals that are going to pack that place (Fantasy Springs Resort & Casino). I was very impressed with Manny Flores (12-0) and how many people he brought the last time out. He is going up against a tough kid who fought on the undercard of Ryan’s last fight, so Manny may have a tough time in there, or maybe he won’t. Gabriela Fundora (7-0) from Coachella (sister of Sebastian Fundora) will be on the card, and World of Boxing (who is the co-promoter) will have a guy who is (9-0) going up against a guy who is (11-0). A pro debut Daniel Barrera from Riverside, who I’m told is going to bring like 200 people so the event will probably sell out and have some fun fights,” Diaz told NYF.
Finally, we touched on the subject that everyone has been talking about, which is the WBA mandating a fight between Giberto “Zurdo” Ramirez and WBA champion Dmitry Bivol (20-0). It’s a fight that Ramirez has been really vocal about making the last year or so but needed to continue winning for the WBA to press the issue. Diaz is excited about putting that fight together and will work with the rest of the GBP team to get it signed, sealed, and delivered.
Diaz told NYF,” Bivol showed that he is super talented, which is something we already knew. Canelo is always willing to take the challenges even if it is above his limit. This is a fight that Zurdo Ramirez wants. Last year, Ramirez told us, ‘I want that fight.’ He believes in himself and knows something. He has been in the ring with Bivol for many rounds. Zurdo came to us and said, ‘trust me on this one.’ We appreciate the WBA for granting what he totally deserves. He continued,” Zurdo is in the gym already. I hope that within the 30-day negotiating period, we can get this fight done and set a date.”
I tried to see if I could get a date or even a location that was being discussed and although he didn’t budge much, Diaz did give me a preference and some humor from Zurdo. Diaz said, “We haven’t gotten that far (location), but the perfect place would be Las Vegas. Also, Zurdo said to me, ‘I’ll go to Russia if I have to.’ “Sounds like Ramirez wants this fight at all costs. Let’s hope it happens, and the WBA doesn’t make up some shenanigans that will force a different fight to be made.