One of boxing's most recognisable prospects Ryan Garcia returns to the ring this Saturday as he locks horns with Javier Fortuna. Both men are looking to get into the world title picture and look to earn a shot at undisputed world lightweight champion Devin Haney.
Garcia dazzled fans on Instagram when he uploaded videos of his training which showcased his speed and power. Garcia quickly shot up the ranks, before gatecrashing the WBO rankings when he earned a unanimous decision victory over Jayson Velez to win the vacant WBO NABO super featherweight title. Following the victory over Velez, Garcia opted to move up to lightweight and would defeat Carlos Morales by majority decision in his first fight at his new weight. Garcia's first lightweight title came in his fourth fight at the weight as Garcia would make light work of Romero Duno and stop him in one round to pick up the WBO NABO title and the vacant WBC Silver title.
Garcia would begin to up the level of his competition, as he would next face former world title challenger Francisco Fonseca. Garcia would yet again only need one round as he stopped Fonseca, cementing his name even higher up the rankings.
A shot at the WBC 'Interim' title came next for Garcia as he faced his toughest test to date when it would be 2012 Olympic Gold medalist and former two-time world title challenger Luke Campbell standing across the ring from him. Garcia would face a major crisis in round two when Campbell landed a clean hook to send him to the canvas for the first time in his career. Garcia would fight back and would land a heavy body shot on Campbell in round seven, rendering Campbell unable to continue.
Following the Campbell victory, it was believed that Garcia would have a crack at world honours next. However, Garcia cited mental health issues and would take some time away from the sport. 14 months on from the Campbell fight, Garcia would return and take on Emmanuel Tagoe. Garcia shook off any ring rust, defeating Tagoe over 12 rounds, even dropping Tagoe in round two.
Fortuna carries much more experience into this bout than Garcia. Fortuna made his pro debut in 2009, and it would be in 2012 when he would defeat Patrick Hyland to win the WBA 'Interim' featherweight title by unanimous decision. Fortuna's first defence of the belt would end in a victory by first-round knockout when he stopped Miguel Zamudio. Three years later, Fortuna would get a shot at the vacant WBA featherweight title as he would become a world champion, defeating Bryan Vazquez by unanimous decision. After a successful defence over Carlos Velasquez, Fortuna would meet Jason Sosa. Sosa would hand Fortuna his first loss as he ripped his belt away with an 11th-round knockout.
Fortuna would return at lightweight and would stop Marlyn Cabrera in two rounds. Following this, Fortuna would string three victories together and receive a shot at lightweight glory as he got to fight Robert Easter Jr. for the IBF title. Unfortunately, Fortuna would be on the wrong end of a split decision and would be handed the second loss of his career. Fortuna looked to bounce back against Adrian Granados but would find himself pushed out of the ring, picking up an injury deeming the bout a no contest. Fortuna would return to unanimously defeat Sharif Bogere, before stopping Jesus Cuellar in two rounds. Next, Fortuna would edge nearer to another world title shot as he would stop Antonio Lozada in six rounds.
Fortuna would next get a shot at JoJo Diaz's WBC 'interim' title. It was a scrappy affair, seeing Diaz get a point deducted and a nasty cut, but Fortuna didn't manage to do enough to swing the result in his favour as he would be subject to the third loss of his career. Last time out, Fortuna returned to knock Rafael Hernandez out in one round to set up this huge clash with Garcia.
Garcia and Fortuna square off in the Crypto.com Arena in Los Angeles in what is a very intriguing Youth Vs Experience fight. The bout is available to watch live on DAZN on Saturday night.