Fortuna's Promoter: We're Ready For Ryan Garcia or Devin Haney

Ryan Garcia and Devin Haney remain on course to return to the ring in April, just not versus each other.

The biggest benefactor from the split is Javier Fortuna, the former 130-pound titlist and current lightweight contender who has made his services available to both fighters.

“We are staying ready for either one, Ryan Garcia or Devin Haney,” Sampson Lewkowicz, Fortuna’s promoter told BoxingScene.com. “We told Matchroom that we are willing to fight Devin Haney and we told Golden Boy we are willing to fight Ryan Garcia.

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As previously reported by BoxingScene.com senior writer Keith Idec, Haney (25-0, 15KOs) will next defend his WBC lightweight title on April 3, though not in what should be in a title consolidation clash versus Garcia who holds the interim title.

BoxingScene.com has learned that Garcia will instead return two weeks later, atop a DAZN show targeted for April 17 from a location to be determined. The likely opponent will be Fortuna, interestingly the top-rated WBC lightweight contender who was previously targeting a title shot versus Haney. The pairing would confirm a recent suggestion from Eddie Hearn, Haney’s promoter who revealed the news during a recent segment of The Ak & Barak Show with co-hosts Akin ‘Ak’ Reyes and Barak Bess on Sirius XM Fight Nation while also suggesting what would come next for Haney.

“I’m hearing rumors that maybe Ryan Garcia might fight Javier Fortuna,” said Hearn. “If that’s the case, I’d love the Jorge Linares fight for Devin Haney, quite frankly. I think that’s a really good fight.

“I think if we can’t get one of the other champions or Ryan Garcia, Linares is…  the next credible guy.”

Garcia (21-0, 18KOs) was thrust into the title picture following an off-the-canvas 7th round knockout of England’s Luke Campbell—who is also promoted by Hearn—on Jan. 2nd, live on DAZN from American Airlines Center in Dallas. The win came with the interim WBC lightweight title, the first significant belt acquired by the 22-year old rising star from Victorville, California.

The interim belt was made available by the WBC with the intention of immediately ordering a straightaway fight between Garcia and Haney, with the latter ringside for the event and prepared to move forward with the fight. Even while staring at Haney from just a few feet away, Garcia spoke of pursuing other options. Included among them was a potential Pay-Per-View headliner with unbeaten two-division titlist Gervonta Davis (24-0, 23KOs), though such talks quickly died down.

Garcia was also serious about a catchweight superfight with legendary Manny Pacquiao (62-7-2, 39KOs), with such talks picking up steam late last month before ultimately dying down.

Meanwhile, Haney sought to line up his own next fight. Given that he is due to make a mandatory title defense and Garcia clearly not interested in enforcing such status, Fortuna (36-2-1, 25KOs) would be next in line. The 31-year old southpaw from La Romana, Dominican Republic became the mandatory challenger following a 2nd round stoppage of Jesus Cuellar in Nov. 2019, though missing out both on a vacant title fight versus Campbell last April and a lucrative stay-busy fight versus Jorge Linares (47-5, 29KOs) for COVID-related reasons.

The scheduled clash with Campbell was canceled due to the initial wave of the pandemic, with a loophole allowing Haney—who was previously stripped of his title for failing to fulfill his mandatory due to injury—to be reinstated as champion. Plans for an August ring return were shot to sunshine after Linares tested positive for COVID.

Fortuna has since returned to the ring last November, scoring a 6th round stoppage of Mexican lightweight spoiler Antonio Lozada atop a PBC on FS1 show in Los Angeles. The intention from there was to next fight for the title or the financial equivalent. He appears next in line, as his name surfaced as options for both Haney and Garcia, as has Linares who will remain the contender in waiting for whomever doesn't choose Fortuna.

Either way, Garcia remains on course to having a promise fulfilled by Golden Boy Promotions—who declined comment for this story, as standard practice for fights not yet announced—to get the unbeaten star in the ring four times in 2021 after his pandemic-stricken 2020 campaign was limited to just one fight.

Fortuna remains the targeted opponent for the next one out, although the top-rated contender is also keen on next facing Haney should that option arise.

“We are staying ready for either one, Ryan Garcia or Devin Haney,” Sampson Lewkowicz, Fortuna’s promoter told BoxingScene.com. “We told Matchroom that we are willing to fight Devin Haney and we told Golden Boy we are willing to fight Ryan Garcia.

“Whether Javier fights on April 3 (versus Haney) or April 17 (versus Garcia), we will make either one an April Fool.”

Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox

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