Linares vs. Fortuna for WBC lightweight belt promises to be thrilling bout

A pair of former world champs have their eyes on the WBC Diamond Lightweight belt.

Jorge “El Niño de Oro” Linares (47-5, 29 KO) will face Javier “El Abejon” Fortuna (35-2-1, 24 KO) in a 12-round fight in Indio, Calif., on Aug. 28 that promises to be one of the better bouts of the year.

The fight, which takes place in Fantasy Springs Resort Casino, will be closed to the public and media due to the coronavirus pandemic, and streamed live on DAZN.

“Temperatures will reach record-breaking numbers this summer as we present a high-level clash between two battle-tested former world champions,” said Oscar De La Hoya, Chairman and CEO of Golden Boy.

“Linares’ legacy as a future Hall of Famer is etched in stone. During his time with us, he has conquered three divisions and traveled all over the world as he demonstrated his courage as a fighter. But make no mistake: Linares is not done yet. On Aug. 28, he’s in for a tough fight against a man who is just as quick-handed as he is, so expect both men to bring a lot of firepower.”

Linares, 34, from Venezuela, has earned world titles in the featherweight, super featherweight and lightweight divisions. His last fight was a win against Carlos Morales in February.

“I’m ready to return to the top of the lightweight division,” Linares said. “I have been training in Japan, a place that nourishes me and provides me with the best environment to train. At the same time, I’m also grateful to be headlining a card during this difficult time for the world, but I hope to provide everyone with a bit of diversion and excitement as I get closer to regaining my throne as the king of the 135-pound division.

Fortuna, a 31-year-old southpaw, is ranked No. 1 by the WBC in the lightweight division. The Dominican Republic native earned the interim WBA Featherweight title against Patrick “The Punisher” Hyland in 2012, and won the WBA Super Featherweight belt in 2015 against Bryan “El Tiquito” Vazquez. 

“Don’t make any excuses on fight night,” Fortuna warned Linares. “Not the Covid. Not the travel. Nothing. Don’t blame it on an injury either. Just fight. Come ready for war because that’s what I’m going to do. And when you lose, don’t make any excuse.”