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Eric Gomez confirms August 28 DAZN card postponed, hopes to reschedule in the fall

Jorge Linares. Photo courtesy of Golden Boy Promotions
20
Aug

Golden Boy Promotions’ DAZN card scheduled for August 28 has been postponed, Golden Boy president Eric Gomez told The Ring.

The card, which was due to take place at the Fantasy Springs Resort Casino in Indio, California, was initially supposed to be headlined by a 12-round lightweight fight between former three-division world titleholder Jorge Linares and Javier Fortuna (35-2-1, 24 KOs), a 31-year-old southpaw from the Dominican Republic.

However, Linares (47-5, 29 KOs) tested positive for COVID-19 and was hospitalized two weeks ago in Tokyo, where he was training. There was an effort to salvage the date by having Golden Boy prospect Hector Tanajara (19-0, 5 KOs), 23, of San Antonio, replace Linares.

Golden Boy, Tanajara manager/trainer Robert Garcia, Fortuna promoter Sampson Lewkowicz and both fighters accepted the bout but they had to wait to finalize the deal until DAZN approved Tanajara as an opponent.



According to Gomez, DAZN eventually did approve Tanajara, who was already in reasonable condition because he had a fight scheduled for the DAZN undercard of the Vergil Ortiz Jr.-Samuel Vargas welterweight bout on July 24 called off on the morning of the weigh-in because his opponent, Mercito Gesta, was ill with a stomach bug – not coronavirus related – and had to withdraw.

But Fortuna-Tanajara was never finalized even after DAZN’s approval. Tanajara had signed a new management deal with Rick Mirigian and Gomez said Mirigian said Tanajara would need about three more weeks to be ready for the fight, at which point the date was scrapped.

“The card is postponed and we are working on alternatives,” Gomez said, adding they hope to put the show on this fall.

Mirigian, who is best known as the manager for unified junior welterweight world titlist Jose Ramirez, told The Ring that after he joined Tanajara’s team he met with the fighter, Garcia (who remains the trainer) and Tanajara’s father to discuss the fight.

“It was not that they didn’t want to fight Fortuna, it was just they felt the time wasn’t there to be fully prepared for such an important fight,” Mirigian said. “They did not want to go into the fight on such short notice — biggest fight of his life in terms of him stepping up to that level of opponent and his purse. They felt he needed a little more time sparring.”

Mirigian said he informed Golden Boy matchmaker Robert Diaz and that Diaz “totally understood. He wasn’t mad. I still think there’s an opportunity for Tanajara and Fortuna at a later time. I told him if you can reschedule the fight Tanajara is in, no question, and we left it that. I said on behalf of Team Tanajara we are 100 percent in if you can reschedule.”

Gomez said that the they might simply reschedule Linares-Fortuna, depending on Linares’ health and availability, finalize Fortuna-Tanajara or find a new main event altogether to go with an undercard that was to have included welterweight Rashidi “Speedy” Ellis (22-0, 14 KOs) against Brad Solomon (28-3, 9 KOs); super middleweight prospect Bektemir “Bully” Melikuziev (5-0, 4 KOs) against Alan Campa (17-5, 11 KOs); Alexis Rocha (16-0, 10 KOs) versus Jameson Bacon (23-4, 15 KOs) and former junior lightweight world title challenger Lamont Roach Jr. (19-1-1, 7 KOs) versus Neil Tabanao (17-7, 11 KOs).

Lewkowicz said he and Fortuna were disappointed that Tanajara’s team accepted the fight and then said he needed more time to train.

“Tanajara says yes at one point and then he changed management and they decided not to go forward with the fight,” Lewkowicz said. “I hope his management team has the courage to let Tanajara face Fortuna. I know it is not the fighter who doesn’t want the fight because no fighter is afraid of anyone. So I hope the fight will happen if the new management of Tanajara allows him to fight, most likely in September. If not, we will wait for Jorge Linares, most likely sometime in October. But I must say this that Robert Diaz and Eric Gomez are like my family.

Most promoters would scratch the whole thing. They do not promote Fortuna but they continued working hard to make a fight for him happen.”

Tanajara is coming off the most notable victory of his five-year professional career, a 10-round decision over former world title challenger Juan Carlos Burgos on January 11 on the Jaime Munguia-Gary “Spike” O’Sullivan undercard at the Alamodome in San Antonio.

Fortuna is coming off a second-round knockout win over Jesus Cuellar in November.

Linares, who has claimed titles at featherweight, junior lightweight and lightweight, has won two fights in a row since a shocking first-round knockout loss to Pablo Cesar Cano in January 2019, a fight for which Linares moved up to junior welterweight.

 

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