Wednesday, March 22, 2023  |



Javier Fortuna: Put your chin up and look past me, Ryan – nice and tall

Photo by Naoki Fukuda

Long-time lightweight contender Javier Fortuna will have the opportunity to upset one of boxing brightest young stars when he faces Ryan Garcia at the Arena (formerly Staples Center) in Los Angeles on Saturday.

Fortuna, who is rated No. 9 by The Ring at 135 pounds, feels that he’s the man to take Garcia’s unbeaten record.

“I can’t wait to pop his bubble and I don’t want to hear any excuses after I do,” Fortuna (37-3-1, 26 knockouts) told The Ring. “I waited until he was ready, so if he’s ready now, I will expose him.

“I’ve beaten other real fighters. I am ready for war. This is an opportunity for him to get knocked out.”

Fortuna, who turns 33 years old the day before the fight, is a battle-hardened warrior, having shared the ring with the likes of Robert Easter Jr. (L SD 12), Sharif Bogare (UD 10) and Joseph Diaz (L UD 12).

He acknowledges Garcia’s power, but feels the California native is something of a one-trick pony.

“He punches hard with the same shots over and over – if you let him,” said the Dominican Republic-born southpaw. “Did you see the clean punches he took against [Luke] Campbell, with his chin up in the air? Watch what happens when I hit him that clean.”

Fortuna, who has trained in Puerto Rico with his coach, Belvin Garcia, feels disrespected that Garcia is looking ahead to a potential superfight with Gervonta Davis.

“I hope he is overlooking me,” said Fortuna. “Put your chin up and look past me, Ryan – nice and tall.”

Fortuna’s long-time handler, Sampson Lewkowicz, who also guides the careers of former two-time super middleweight titleholder David Benavidez and top-rated junior middleweight Sebastian Fundora, has no doubt that his fighter will shock the more fancied Garcia.

“Ryan Garcia has made a bad mistake thinking Javier Fortuna is a steppingstone,” said Lewkowicz. “Ryan is wrong. He thinks that at 33, Javier is finished. His punch and heart are intact and he will prove it on July 16.”

Garcia, who is rated No. 5 by The Ring, is every bit the new-age fighter. He is a social media phenom, with millions of followers (8.8 million on Instagram). There were question marks as to whether Garcia’s achievements would live up to his outside the ring persona. He has since allayed some of the doubters by showcasing his vaunted power against Romero Duno (KO 1), Francisco Fonseca (KO 1) and two-time world title challenger Luke Campbell (TKO 7).

The 23-year-old didn’t fight for 15 months due to mental health issues, but knocked off the ring rust when he dominated Emmanuel Tagoe (UD 12) in his most recent outing. “King Ry” boasts an impressive 22-0 (18 KOs) record.

Garcia-Fortuna, plus full supporting undercard, will be broadcast on DAZN, beginning at 8:00 p.m. ET/ 5:00 p.m. PT.


Questions and/or comments can be sent to Anson at [email protected] and you can follow him on Twitter @AnsonWainwright