It’s official: Ryan Garcia will return on Saturday, July 16, and he will face Javier Fortuna in a DAZN main event from a venue still to be announced.
Garcia (22-0, 18 KO) broke a 15-month layoff on Apr. 9, defeating Emmanuel Tagoe easily via 12-round decision in San Antonio. It was the 23-year-old Garcia’s first fight with Joe Goossen as his lead trainer, and he said then that he wanted to stay busy and fight three times in 2022.
This announcement to face Fortuna (37-3-1, 26 KO) with just a three-month turnaround is a good sign. The two were previously scheduled to meet in July 2021, but Garcia withdrew from the fight citing mental health concerns, something Fortuna said he understood, and just hoped to face him in the future.
Now, he has that chance.
“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 Fortuna. “I trust my team now more than ever and have full confidence in my coach Belvin García, who I consider my family.”
Fortuna, 33, instead fought Joseph Diaz Jr on that original Garcia date, losing a 12-round decision. He returned in the Dominican Republic on Feb. 20 with a first round knockout win over a journeyman. It wasn’t a win that means much of anything, but it does mean he had a training camp and won’t be coming into this rusty or anything with a full year off.
“If there is any doubt I was hesitant to fight Fortuna a year ago, that will all be made clear after our fight,” said 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.”
Nothing for the undercard has been announced yet, but there were earlier reports that Juan Francisco Estrada would face Joshua Franco on the same date, a fight Golden Boy won a tiny purse bid for the rights to, meaning it’s actually slot-able as an undercard bout. So here’s hoping we get that, because it would then be a far above standard Golden Boy show. It already is since Fortuna is on the fringes of the top 10 at 135 instead of a totally and hopelessly over-matched B-side like they’ve been using way too often lately.