World Boxing Council chiefs updated on the situation regarding Ryan Garcia after sanctioning a new fight for the sabbatical-taking fighter’s old title belt.
A WBC statement read as follows:
Recently, WBC Interim Lightweight Champion Ryan Garcia notified the WBC that he took a leave from boxing to address ongoing health issues. The WBC fully and unconditionally supports Champion Garcia.
We will stay close to him during his process. The WBC Board of Governors will assess his situation once he is ready to return to the ring.
The WBC has received a request to sanction the bout. It takes place between the #2-rated Lightweight Javier “El Abejon” Fortuna (36-2-1, 25 KOs) against the #5-rated Super Featherweight contender Joseph “Jo Jo” Diaz (31-1-1, 15 KOs) for the WBC Interim World Lightweight Championship.
Fortuna v. Diaz is scheduled to occur on July 9, 2021, in Los Angeles, California.
A recount of the backdrop that led to Javier Fortuna’s request puts that request into the proper context.
- In December of 2019, Javier Fortuna reached the #1 position in the WBC Lightweight World Ratings.
- The WBC World Lightweight Champion Devin Haney became unable to defend his title due to a shoulder injury. It prompted the WBC to name him WBC Champion In-Recess, thus rendering vacant the WBC World Lightweight Championship.
- The WBC then ordered a bout between #1 Javier Fortuna and the then #2 Luke Campbell for the vacant WBC World Lightweight Championship. That bout was contracted and scheduled to take place in April of 2020.
- Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Fortuna v. Campbell bout did not occur. It gave Champion In-Recess Devin Haney sufficient time to recover from his injury.
- Champion In-Recess Devin Haney petitioned the WBC to be reinstated as World Champion in light of his recovery. The WBC granted that petition as well as a voluntary defense of his title.
- The WBC also agreed to sanction the Fortuna vs. Campbell bout for the WBC Interim Lightweight World Championship because they had entered into a contract to fight for The WBC Championship.
- Subsequently, Campbell’s promoter Matchroom requested that the WBC sanction Champion Haney’s voluntary defense against #2 Luke Campbell. That bout never took place.
- Javier Fortuna was then scheduled to face former multi-time world champion and #3-rated Jorge Linares. That bout was supposed to take place in August of 2020.
- Linares contracted Covid-19 a few weeks before his bout against Fortuna, which resulted in being canceled.
- In November of 2020, Fortuna stopped Antonio Lozada in six rounds.
- Fortuna was then scheduled to fight the then WBC Interim World Champion Ryan Garcia. That bout would have occurred in July of 2021. Organizers canceled it due to Champion Garcia’s ongoing medical issues.
- Because Javier Fortuna has not competed for a WBC Championship due to reasons outside his control and based on the merits of his request, the WBC has decided to grant it.
- Accordingly, the WBC will sanction the Javier Fortuna v. Jo Jo Diaz about the WBC Interim World Lightweight Championship. The winner will fight the winner of Haney vs. Linares.