In a situation only boxing could create, Ryan Garcia and Javier Fortuna both hold claim to being the next mandatory opponent for WBC lightweight champion Devin Haney. In an effort to determine who would face Haney for the belt, Garcia and Fortuna are now set to clash on Friday, July 9. The bout was made official on Tuesday, though a location for the event has not yet been confirmed.
Garcia will return to DAZN, the rising star's primary platform, as WBC interim champion. He won the interim title with a comeback victory over Luke Campbell in January. Garcia suffered a knockdown in the fight but roared back to score a seventh-round body shot knockout. After the fight, Garcia declared that he wanted a major fight with Gervonta "Tank" Davis or Haney.
After the announcement of Garcia's fight with Fortuna, Haney wasted no time blasting Garcia on Twitter.
Of course, Haney's status as WBC champion is not without some controversy. He won the WBC interim championship less than a month after Vasiliy Lomachenko beat Luke Campbell for the then-vacant "full" WBC championship, leading many to question why an interim fight was necessary to begin with. The WBC then promoted Lomachenko to "franchise champion" status and subsequently promoted Haney to full champion. Haney then became champion-in-recess when a surgery delayed any title defenses, and Fortuna was set to fight Campbell for the suddenly re-vacated WBC championship. However, the sanctioning body reversed course and reinstated Haney as champion while Fortuna remained mandatory challenger without any form of the WBC title, interim or otherwise.
This situation, and Haney having been "given" the championship rather than winning it in the ring, led IBF, WBA and WBO lightweight champion to brand Haney as an "email champion."
Haney now is scheduled to fight Jorge Linares in a voluntary title defense on May 29.
Fortuna is a former WBA super featherweight champion who will enter the Garcia bout riding a three-fight winning streak after losing a split decision to Robert Easter Jr. in January 2018.