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Vergil Ortiz faces Samuel Vargas on July 24; Tanajara-Gesta in co-feature

Photo by Tom Hogan/ Hogan Photos/ Golden Boy Promotions
Fighters Network

Unbeaten welterweight Vergil Ortiz will face fringe contender Samuel Vargas on July 24, Golden Boy Promotions announced Monday afternoon.

The 12-round bout will take place at the Fantasy Springs Resort Casino in Indio, California and will stream live on DAZN. 

Ortiz-Vargas was originally scheduled to take place on March 28 at The Forum in Inglewood, but was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The July 24 card in Indio, which will take place with no fans in attendance, also marks Golden Boy’s first promotion in almost five months.

“Preparing our comeback hasn’t been easy, but we know that we have a responsibility to our fighters and our fans to stage high-level boxing events as soon as we possibly can,” said Oscar De La Hoya, chairman and CEO of Golden Boy. “This card demonstrates our commitment to presenting competitive fights despite current circumstances as the future of boxing, Vergil Ortiz Jr., will step into the ring with Samuel Vargas as was initially planned back in March.”

Ortiz (15-0, 15 knockouts), who now lives and trains in Riverside, California, has impressed with each outing since turning pro in July 2016. In his last bout on December 13, Ortiz battered former contender Brad Solomon, knocking him down multiple times before the fight was stopped in round 5.

In his previous fight on August 10, Ortiz knocked out former world title challenger Antonio Orozco in round 6 of a fight that took place in his hometown of Grand Prairie, Texas, a suburb of Dallas. Ortiz is favored to win on July 24, but he is not overlooking Vargas.

“I’m very thankful and excited to be headlining the first Golden Boy event after the quarantine,” said Ortiz, who is trained by Robert Garcia. “I’m happy that it’s still with the same opponent, so basically we’re picking up where we left off. It’s going to be a tough fight, and it’ll be a great way to kick off the year for me.”

Vargas (31-5-2, 14 KOs) will be a decent measuring stick for Ortiz. The 31-year-old, who is originally from Colombia and now resides in Toronto, Canada, has faced contenders and unbeaten fighters with mixed results.

In his last bout on June 29 of last year, Vargas defeated veteran Silverio Ortiz of Mexico by unanimous decision. In his previous fight three months prior, Vargas lost by split-decision to former world titleholder Luis Collazo.

Vargas’ other losses have come at the hands of Errol Spence, Danny Garcia and Amir Khan. He did beat Gabriel Pereiro, who entered the fight unbeaten, in December 2015. Despite the long layoff, Vargas believes he can pull off the upset victory.

“I think that everything happens for a reason,” said Vargas, who relocated to Las Vegas for training. “I think this time off benefited me. I’m ready to upset the world. I believe I can come out with a win. The world is in a weird place right now, but I have no doubt that I am going to win.”

In the co-feature, unbeaten lightweight Hector Tanajara, Jr. will square off against former world title challenger Mercito Gesta in a 10-round bout.

Tanajara (19-0, 5 KOs) will take a another step-up in opposition as he faces another world title challenger. In his last bout on January 11, Tanajara defeated Juan Carlos Burgos by unanimous decision in his hometown of San Antonio, Texas. 

The 23-year-old is confident an impressive victory over Gesta could open doors to more-lucrative fights against contenders in the division. 

“I’m ready for the best of the division,” said Tanajara, who is also trained by Robert Garcia. “I want to be a world champion, and the only way to do that is to beat tough fighters like Mercito Gesta, who has challenged for a world title and is a southpaw with a lot of experience. Also, I’m very thankful to be fighting during this time. Boxing is slowly coming back, and I’m proud to be featured on the first Golden Boy card after the big hiatus.”

Gesta (32-3-3, 17 KOs), who is originally from the Philippines and now resides in San Diego, has struggled in recently, notching one victory in his last four bouts. He fought to a technical decision draw against Carlos Morales in his last bout on November 14.

In his previous fight on March 21 of last year, the 32-year-old was knocked out by Mexico’s Juan Carlos Rodriguez in round 9. Gesta challenged then-WBC lightweight titleholder Jorge Linares in January 2018, losing by unanimous unanimous. 

“I am so excited to fight on July 24 against a talented, young, and very technical boxer in Hector Tanajara Jr,” said Gesta, who is trained by Marvin Somodio at the Wild Card Gym in Hollywood. “Even though the fight will be different this time because there will be no audience, friends or family, I’m well prepared and will put on a great show against Tanajara Jr.” 

Also on the card, Shane Mosley, Jr. (15-3, 9 KOs) of Pomona, California will make his Golden Boy Promotions debut against Colorado Springs’ Jeremy Ramos (11-8, 2 KOs) in an eight-round bout.

Unbeaten junior flyweight contender Seniesa Estrada (18-0, 7 KOs) of East Los Angeles will face an opponent to be determined.

Junior featherweight Hector Valdez (12-0, 8 KOs) and welterweight Evan Sanchez (7-0, 6 KOs) will round out the card in separate six-round bouts. 

Francisco A. Salazar has written for The Ring since October of 2013 and has covered boxing in Southern California and abroad since 2000. Francisco also covers boxing for the Ventura County (Calif.) Star newspaper. He can be reached by email at [email protected] or on Twitter at FSalazarBoxing