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Notebook: Ryan Garcia comeback fight in the works for Nov./Dec.
Cordina headlines world title doubleheader in Monte Carlo; Quick hits; Show and tell
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Plans are in the works for junior welterweight star Ryan Garcia to return to the ring in November or December, with Pedro Campa one of the leading candidates to get the fight, sources with direct knowledge of the plans told Fight Freaks Unite on Monday.
Garcia (23-1,19 KOs), 25, of Victorville, California, who will be in his first fight with trainer Derrick James, parted ways with Joe Goossen following his last fight, the blockbuster Showtime PPV event against Gervonta “Tank” Davis in their much-anticipated 136-pound catchweight bout on April 22 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
Davis knocked out Garcia in the seventh round of the biggest money fight of the year so far. It generated about 1.2 million pay-per-view buys in the United States, more than $100 million in domestic PPV revenue, and a live gate of $22.8 million, which was the fifth-biggest in Nevada history.
Although Golden Boy sued Garcia and his adviser/attorney, Guadalupe Valencia, in U.S. District Court of Nevada in June seeking to have its “valid and enforceable promotional agreement” upheld, and Garcia sough to have the case dismissed in late August, the sides are nonetheless working together trying to put on Garcia’s next fight despite their fractured relationship.
“Fighting at the end of the year,” Garcia posted to social media on Monday.
No site for the fight has been set nor has it been determined if it will be on DAZN or DAZN PPV, per one of the sources.
Garcia’s team tried to line him up to challenge WBA junior welterweight titlist Rolando Romero, but between Romero’s injury and a due mandatory defense against Ohara Davies, who recently signed with Golden Boy, the fight could not be made.
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Campa (34-3-1, 23 KOs), 31, of Mexico, is not the only candidate for the bout, according to one of the sources. He has lost his past two fights. He turned in a credible performance as Teofimo Lopez’s first opponent when he moved up to 140 pounds in August 2022 on his way to becoming lineal/WBO champion in June. Lopez stopped Campa in the seventh round.
In his next fight, Campa lost a 10-round decision to unbeaten big puncher Brandun Lee on April 8.
Cordina defense official
Joe Cordina will make the first defense of his second IBF junior lightweight title reign against Edward Vasquez on Nov. 4 (DAZN) at the famed Casino de Monte Carlo in Monte Carlo, Monaco, Matchroom Boxing announced on Monday, confirming a Fight Freaks Unite report on the full card from Aug. 25.
After being stripped of the title due to a hand injury that prevented him from making a due mandatory defense against Shavkatdzhon Rakhimov, Cordina (16-0, 9 KOs), 31, regained the title by split decision over Rakhimov, who had claimed the vacant title, in a fight of the year contender in April in front of a hometown crowd in Cardiff, Wales.
Vazquez (15-1, 3 KOs), 27, of Fort Worth, Texas, has won four fights in a row since his lone loss, a split decision to highly regarded rising featherweight contender Raymond Ford in May 2022.
“I’m excited to be fighting at the Casino de Monte Carlo for a second time as I put my title on the line against Edward Vazquez,” said Cordina, who boxed there in 2019 in a decision win over Mario Tinoco. “I have happy memories of fighting in Monte Carlo and I’m looking to put on another explosive performance as I continue to work towards unifying the division.”
In a second world title bout on the card, IBF junior flyweight titlist Sivenathi Nontshinga (12-0, 9 KOs), 24, of South Africa, will make his second defense against Adrian Curiel (22-4-1, 3 KOs), 24, of Mexico. Nontshinga’s decision over Hector Flores to win the vacant 108-pound belt in Hermosillo, Mexico was the 2022 Fight Freaks Unite fight of the year.
Also on the main card:
Junior middleweight Souleymane Cissokho (16-0, 9 KOs), 32, a 2016 French Olympic bronze medalist, will face Isaias Lucero (16-1, 10 KOs), 27, of Mexico.
Female junior featherweight Ramla Ali (8-1, 2 KOs), 33, a Somalia native fighting out of England, will seek to avenge a brutal eighth-round knockout loss to Julissa Guzman (13-2-2, 7 KOs), 26, of Mexico, in a rematch of their bout on June 17.
Junior bantamweight John “Scrappy” Ramirez (12-0, 9 KOs), 27, of Los Angeles, and Ronal Bautista (15-3, 9 KOs), 26, of Panama, will square off in a WBA final eliminator on Oct. 7 (DAZN) on the Gilberto “Zurdo” Ramirez-Joe Smith Jr. undercard at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas. The winner will become the mandatory challenger for Japan’s Kazuto Ioka (30-2-1, 15 KOs). “It feels like I’m getting closer to my destination,” Ramirez said. “I didn’t have to fight my last two fights (and waited for the eliminator), but I risked it all. Now I’m going to take advantage of this opportunity. This will be my first time fighting in Las Vegas. I call it my destiny.” In his last fight, Ramirez won a 10-round split decision over Fernando Diaz in May. Bautista dropped to flyweight for his last fight and was stopped in the 11th round challenging WBC titlist Julio Cesar Martinez.
Matchroom Boxing announced on Monday that it has signed London middleweight Leli Buttigieg, 18, to a long-term promotional deal and that he will make his professional debut later this year. Buttigieg, an amateur standout trained by Alan Smith and Eddie Lam, and managed by Lee Eaton, was a four-time British national champion and represented England twice at the European Games. “I can’t wait to get started,” Buttigieg said. “I’ve been told my debut will land in early December so now it’s all systems go working towards that date. I believe I will knock out a lot of people as a professional. As an amateur I could have stopped a lot more opponents but I had to hold back so it didn’t become hard to match me. As a professional I won’t be holding back on anyone and I feel like I’ll get a lot of people out of there.”
Heavyweight Jerry Forrest (26-6-2, 20 KOs), 35, of Newport News, Virginia, will face Robert Hall Jr. (14-1, 11 KOs), 31, of Johnson City, Tennessee, in an eight-rounder atop a River City Promotions card Friday (FITE+, 7 p.m. ET) at the John Marshall Ballroom in Richmond, Virginia. Hunter, who has lost two in a row to Jared Anderson and Kubrat Pulev, has had hard luck against top opponents in draws against Zhang Zhilei and Michael Hunter that many thought he won. Light heavyweight Dusty Hernandez Harrison (34-0-1, 20 KOs), 29, of Washington, D.C., will face Ronald Montes (19-18-1, 17 KOs), 37, of Colombia, in the six-round co-feature. The fight will be one-time prospect Harrison’s first fight in 3½ years and first since the murder of his father/trainer Buddy Harrison in September 2022.
Show and tell
After Miguel Cotto represented Puerto Rico in the 2000 Olympics he quickly rose to top pro prospect status with Top Rank. He was moved quickly and secured wins against solid opponents such as former lightweight titlist Cesar Bazan, Demetrio Ceballos, Carlos Maussa (who would go on to win a junior welterweight title) and Lovemore Ndou. Then Cotto, who was 20-0, was matched with Brazil’s Kelson Pinto, who was 21-0, also considered a quality prospect, and had beaten Cotto in the amateur ranks. They met for the vacant WBO junior welterweight title in a much-hyped fight that took place in Hato Rey, Puerto Rico and televised on HBO.
Cotto avenged the loss in style. He dropped Pinto in the second round and it was clear this would not be like the amateur meeting. In the fifth round, Cotto unloaded a flurry of punches that staggered Pinto and floored him again. Pinto managed to survive but as Cotto pummeled early in the sixth round, referee Roberto Ramirez correctly waved it off to give Cotto the first world title of his Hall of Fame career, during which he become a major star and the first Puerto Rican male boxer to win world titles in four divisions: junior welterweight, welterweight, junior middleweight and middleweight. Cotto-Pinto was on Sept. 11, 2004 — 19 years ago on Monday. Here are three somewhat scarce posters from the event in my collection.
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Garcia photo: Ryan Hafey/PBC
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