Javier Fortuna and JoJo Diaz to Face-Off in an All-Southpaw Showdown
When Ryan Garcia withdrew from a scheduled July 9 bout against Javier Fortuna (36-2-1, 25 KOs), it left promoter Golden Boy promotions in a quandary. The reason Garcia cited for pulling out of the fight was to deal with mental health issues. As a result, Golden Boy has been hard at work attempting to salvage the card on that July 9 date. The goal was to find a substitute opponent to step in the ring against Fortuna. It now looks like GBP has found their guy. On May 12, The Athletic reported former IBF World Junior Lightweight champion Joseph “JoJo” Diaz (31-1-1, 15 KOs) has now agreed to terms to fight Fortuna in a lightweight contest.
The two will fight for the WBC interim title and the right to face lightweight champion Devin Haney. This is the same won Garcia held after a victory over Luke Campbell in January. However, he has since not shown any desire to pursue his shot at the major title.
2021 has not been kind to Diaz. Before what was to be a February 13 title defense against mandatory challenger Shavkatdzhon Rakhimov, he lost the IBF belt on the scale. The 28-year-old resident of Downey, California came in 3 1/2 pounds over the 130-pound junior lightweight limit at the pre-fight weigh-in. It was an embarrassing lack of professionalism. The fight against Rakhimov went on. However, Diaz looked lackluster on the way to a 12-round majority decision draw.
Fortuna is a former WBA World Junior Lightweight champion. He is currently on a three-fight winning streak since a disputed draw against then-IBF World Lightweight World champion Robert Easter Jr in January of 2018. He has been a top contender at 130 and 135 pounds since he defeated Bryan Vasquez to win the then-vacant WBA World strap in May of 2015.
It is a risky fight for the Dominican. He is currently ranked second by the WBC at 135 pounds. His ultimate goal is to face Haney. Any setback destroys that opportunity.
For Diaz, this fight is about redemption. He was on the end of heavy criticism by fans and pundits following his draw against Rakhimov. For one, a win over Fortuna positions him right in the thickets of the lightweight landscape. It also puts him back in good graces with the boxing public. Both Diaz and Fortuna are southpaws. On paper, it has the potential to be a good fight.
Fortuna v Diaz will be at the Banc of California Stadium in Los Angeles, CA, live on DAZN. Stay tuned to 3KingsBoxing for further details.
By: Michael Wilson Jr.