For the winner here, the prize regarding this bout will be to earn mandatory status for 🇺🇸Devin Haney’s version of the WBC Lightweight World Title belt. The original plan, was for 🇺🇸Ryan Garcia to meet 🇩🇴Javier Fortuna (36-2-1, 25KO) with the “interim” WBC title in the mix, but citing Garcia’s personal plight regarding mental health, Fortuna was forced to move onward. Fortuna over the last 2-3 years has been the most unlucky boxer in the sport regarding him getting top-notch opponents under contract, with them backing out due to a litany of reasons, putting Fortuna in no-mans land.
Fortunately for him, he was surprised when he and his team put the challenge out there for skilled Super-Featherweight former World Titlist 🇺🇸Joseph “Jojo” Diaz (31-1-1, 15KO), and he accepted the challenge with welcoming arms, as Fortuna didn’t think he would take up the offer. Jojo is a very talented fighter, who has had a strange journey full of pitfalls through his tenure in the sport.
After defeating 🇺🇸Tevin Farmer, the sky seemed to be the limit, but a lack of discipline on Diaz part, and a rift between he and his personal team have stagnated his movement tremendously, but a win against a top-10 Lightweight would put him right back on track. His last fight he had was against 🇷🇺Shavkatdzhon Rakhimov, and Diaz lost his belt on the scale after coming in horribly overweight. The fight was ruled a “Draw”, so of course Rakhimov being the only one eligible to win it, that title was (and is) still rendered vacant.
Since a close decision went against Fortuna in a fight he arguably had the upper hand when he fought 🇺🇸Robert Easter Jr., he has been teetering as one of the better Lightweights in the world, and wants to make his mark concrete in terms of his standing in the division. For him, a win vs Diaz, and a Haney fight would validate his positioning, and it will be up to him to prevail, but that is a tough road – a road that starts with a skillful operator in Jojo Diaz. This will be the co-main event to the Zurdo/Barrera undercard on DAZN streaming platform, that will take place on Friday night.