- Miguel Maravilla
Ryan Garcia to Take on Fernando Vargas in ESPN Headliner Debut
Ryan "Kingry" Garcia (13-0, 12 KOs), the 2017 consensus prospect of the year out of Victorville, Calif., will put his Junior NABF Super Featherweight Title on the line in his first headlining bout on the March 22 edition ofGolden Boy Boxing on ESPN at Fantasy Springs Resort Casino in Indio, Calif. Garcia, a rising phenomenon of modern boxing, will also fight for the vacant NABA USA Super Featherweight Title as he faces the tough Mexican pugilist Fernando Vargas (32-15-3, 24 KOs) in this ten-round affair. ESPN and ESPN Deportes will air the fights beginning at 9:00 p.m. ET/6:00 p.m. PT, and stream live on ESPN3 starting at 7:30 p.m. ET/4:30 p.m. PT.
Garcia has star potential written all over him. The 19-year-old won multiple national championships as an amateur before turning professional in 2016 at the age of 17. After several fights in Mexico and in the United States, Garcia signed with Golden Boy Promotions to finish off the year. Since then, he has won every fight by knockout, including a highlight-reel knockout of Miguel Carrizoza to win the Junior NABF Super Featherweight Title on the Sept. 15 edition of Golden Boy Boxing on ESPN. Garcia is eager to defend his title for the second time in his headlining debut.
"I'm excited to fight on ESPN in my first main event fight," said Garcia. "I look forward to showing the fans a great fight as I continue to build the "Kingry" Army. This is a big responsibility, and I appreciate the trust and confidence Golden Boy Promotions has in me. This March 22, I will not disappoint!"
"I have said from the minute we signed him that Ryan Garcia has the potential to be the next megastar in the sport of boxing," said Golden Boy Promotions Chairman and CEOOscar De La Hoya. "Ryan is charismatic, has an incredible amateur pedigree and has one-punch knockout power. He is the real deal."
Vargas is an aggressive brawler from Tijuana, Mexico. Vargas has fought the likes ofHoracio "El Violento" Garcia, current world champion Jamie McDonnell, and has a victory against former world titlist Wilfredo Vasquez, Jr. The 29-year-old will look to derail Garcia's rise with an upset victory.
"We are ready to take on this big challenge," said Vargas. "We know that Ryan [Garcia] is a good fighter and that he is following in the footsteps of Oscar De La Hoya. We know that the fight is tough, but winning it is not impossible. We will come well prepared and ready for the upset."
In the televised co-main event, two tough contenders will battle it out for a chance to rise in the 147-pound rankings. KeAndre "The Truth" Gibson (18-1-1, 7 KOs) St. Louis, Mo. will face Eddie "EBoy" Gomez (20-3, 11 KOs) of the Bronx, N.Y. in a 10-round fight. Both are coming off a tough challenge in a common opponent, Alejandro "El Elegido" Barrera on previous editions of Golden Boy Boxing on ESPN.
Joet Gonzalez (18-0, 10 KOs), the Glendora, Calif. native who developed into a legitimate contender in 2017, will battle Rolando Magbanua (26-6, 18 KOs) of Cotabato, Phillipines in a scheduled 10-round fight in the 126-pound division. Gonzalez, who was a decorated amateur before turning professional, is coming of a third-round knockout victory against the experienced Isao Carranza, where he utterly destroyed the Mexico native.
East Los Angeles, Calif.'s Jonathan "Thunder" Navarro (12-0, 6 KOs) will take onCesar Valenzuela (7-2, 2 KOs) of Ciudad Juarez, Mexico in an eight-round 140-pound fight. Raul "El Cugar" Curiel (2-0, 1 KO), the welterweight prospect who participated in the 2016 Olympic Games representing Mexico, will return in the six-round swing fight against Quantavious Green (1-1, 1 KO) of Shreveport, La.
Emilio Sanchez (16-0, 11 KOs) of Pacoima, Calif. will return in an eight-round super bantamweight fight against a soon-to-be-announced opponent in the first bout of the evening. Sanchez is an explosive puncher who is inching closer toward a regional title.
Tickets for the event go on sale Friday, Feb. 16 at 10:00 a.m. PT and start at $25. Tickets will be available at the Fantasy Springs Resort Casino box office, by calling 1-800-827-2946, or by purchasing online at www.fantasyspringsresort.com.