Next Saturday night, we see the return of lightweight sensation “KingRy” Ryan Garcia (21-0) as he puts his undefeated record against Emmanuel Tagoe (32-1) from Ghana. The Alamodome in San Antonio, TX, will play host to the event, while DAZN will be broadcasting the event live on their app.
As Ryan Garcia looks to get his momentum back on track, a lot is riding on this fight for him and the future of Golden Boy Promotions. I reached out to Golden Boy Promotions Vice President & Matchmaker Roberto Diaz to ask about next week's card and some of the other upcoming events.
Many thought that when Ryan Garcia made his way back from injury and his battles with mental health, he would want to have a match that would regain his confidence in the ring, but Ryan had other ideas. Is there a sense of relief from Golden Boy that Ryan is making his long-awaited return? What about the matchmaking behind it? Roberto Diaz told NYF, “We knew that he would be back and that it was just a matter of time. Seeing that Ryan was coming back from his injuries, I wanted to give him more of a softer touch, but they decided on Tagoe. Emmanuel Tagoe is a tough opponent who isn't going to go out in the first round. We will have an exciting fight in San Antonio next Saturday night.”
Although I wanted to spend more time on the main event, it's a topic that will get an abundance of coverage next week, so I quickly dived into the big women's fight on the card. WBC Flyweight champion Marlen Esparza (11-1) will be in a unification fight against WBA champion Naoko Fujioka (19-2-1). What's unique about this fight is that it is a unification, but it will also be for the Ring Magazine title.
When discussing this fight, Diaz told NYF, “This is a fight that Marlen wanted. She was commentating on Naoko's fight last July against Sulem Urbina. After the fight, I went up to her and asked what she thought. She did not hesitate to say, ‘I want that fight,' which is what every matchmaker loves to hear. One thing about the women in the sport, they look for the challenges and champions, so that makes my job a lot easier.”
Diaz continued, “Not only is this a unification fight, but for the first time in women's boxing history, the Ring Magazine title will be on the line for supremacy within the flyweight division.” The fight between Fujioka and Urbina received much praise, and this one with Esparza looks to be going down the same road. Many will be tuned to this one as it should be a highly competitive matchup.
Another fight that will interest the purists is Gabe Rosado (26-14-1) going up against Shane Mosely Jr (17-4). I mentioned to Diaz that this feels like a crossroads fight for Shane as a loss will put him further back in line. He agreed and said, “This is a crossroads fight for Shane and a tough one. This is almost like a 2.0 version of Gabe Rosado. I don't know if it's been his talks with Bernard (Hopkins), but Gabe has been on a good run, and we will see where Shane is after this fight.” If this fight turns into a slugfest, it'll be interesting to see if Mosley Jr. will be able to take the power of the bigger Rosado.
After going through next week's card, I wanted to get to the breeding ground of sorts, the club shows. Recently it was announced that Golden Boy and DAZN would be doing club shows on Thursday nights, beginning with April 21st from Indio, CA. That card will be headlined by Joel Diaz Jr. (26-2) going up against Mercito Gesta (32-3-3). Although they are not young gunns per se, the winner will move towards the main card in the future. Jousce Gonzalez (11-0-1) returns (brother of Joet Gonzalez) on the undercard, who had some momentum a few years ago but has stalled due to the pandemic and injuries.
So, are we going to see more of these shows consistently? Diaz told NYF, “Yes, right now, we have April 21stand May 12th booked, and the hope is that we can continue doing these shows. The more shows we have, the busier it keeps me and keeps me out of trouble (laughs).” Let's hope those shows continue as the Friday “L.A. Fight Club” events birthed the likes of Vergil Ortiz Jr. and Seniesa Estrada, which eventually made them notable names in the sport.
Speaking of “Super Bad” Estrada, when can we expect her return? Roberto said, “Soon. She is another one who only wants to fight the other champions. We have communicated with her, and the opponent so expect an announcement soon about Seniesa's next fight.”
My Three Cents
It's great to see that we are finally getting back to a full boxing schedule and that although the big names are good to see, the young gunns are going to have a platform to perform for fans to watch once again. Some real questions will be answered on next week's card, so tune in to DAZN if you will not be in attendance.