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Javier Fortuna: I’m willing to face Teofimo Lopez anytime

Photo by Naoki Fukuda
23
Nov

Javier Fortuna has one goal: make history in the lightweight division.

Fortuna stopped Antonio Lozada in the sixth round on Saturday to notch his third straight victory and his second by KO to keep the dream alive.

“My goal is to become the lightweight champion of the world,” Fortuna told The Ring. “I want to make history for the Dominican Republic.”

The 31-year-old was initially slated to face Jorge Linares on August 28 at the Fantasy Springs Casino & Resort in Indio, California. However, the event was canceled when the former three-division titleholder tested positive for COVID-19.



While he was disappointed about losing out on a significant fight, Fortuna noted that he was more concerned for Linares’ health.

“I sent him a message to take care of himself,” Fortuna stated through an interpreter. “I told him that there would be a next time.

“Outside of boxing, we are gentleman. I look forward to the day we fight.”

Newly-crowned lightweight champion Teofimo Lopez has been enjoying life since outpointing Vasiliy Lomachenko to win a medley of titles, including The Ring’s 135-pound world championship, last month.

The undefeated and outspoken 23-year-old has called out the likes of Gervonta Davis, Devin Haney and Ryan Garcia. But the 31-year-old Fortuna (36-2-1, 25 knockouts), a southpaw, urged Lopez not to leave him out of the conversation.

“I don’t know why he didn’t mention my name,” said Fortuna, who is rated No. 7 by The Ring at lightweight. “I’m willing to face Lopez anytime.”

I asked Fortuna if he would consider fighting outside of the 135-pound weight class if it meant securing a world title bout. In June 2016, he faced Jason Sosa for a secondary junior lightweight belt but was stopped in the 11th round of a bout that he was winning on all three scorecards.

“I will only fight as a lightweight,” he reiterated.

Fortuna’s other title shot evaporated at the scales when he came in overweight for a January 2018 matchup against then-IBF 135-pound titleholder Robert Easter Jr., who defeated him via controversial split decision.

Fortuna added that it “doesn’t make a difference” who he fights as long as he gets to fight for a title.

“I’m willing to fight the winner of the Ryan Garcia-Luke Campbell fight (on January 2, 2021) as well,” he continued. “I will fight whoever, including the champion, Teofimo Lopez.”

 

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