Vergil Ortiz Jr. vs. Samuel Vargas welterweight bout on July 24 marks return of boxing to South California

Boxing returns to Southern California on July 24 when undefeated WBA Gold Welterweight champ Vergil Ortiz Jr. takes on Samuel Vargas.

The 12-round bout at Fantasy Springs Resort in Indio, Calif., will be closed to the public due to the coronavirus pandemic and be streamed live on DAZN.

I’m very thankful and excited to be headlining the first Golden Boy event after the quarantine,” said Ortiz (15-0, 15 KO). “I’m happy that it’s still with the same opponent, so basically we’re picking up where we left off. It’s going to be a tough fight, and it’ll be a great way to kick off the year for me.”

Ortiz, 22, a native of Grand Prairie, Texas, with roots in Mexico, will fight for the first time in 2020 after beating Mauricio Herrera, Antonio Orozco and Brad Solomon last year.

He’ll have his hands full with the 31-year-old Vargas (31-5-2, 14 KO), a Bogota, Colombia, native whose past opponents include Amir Khan, Luis Collazo and Danny Garcia.

Vargas said the delay in getting back into the ring because of the virus won’t be an issue.

“I think that everything happens for a reason. I think this time off benefited me, Ortiz said. “I’m ready to upset the world. I believe I can come out with a win. The world is in a weird place right now. The show will be different. There will be no fans. But I have no doubt that I am going to win.”

In the co-main event, Hector Tanajara Jr. (19-0, 5 KOs) meets two-time world title challenger Mercito Gesta (32-3-3, 17 KOs) of Cebu, Philippines, in a 10-round defense of the USNBC Lightweight Title. 

Other bouts on the card include Shane Mosley Jr. (15-3, 9 KOs) vs. Jeremy Ramos (11-8, 2 KOs), and Hector Valdez (12-0, 8KO) against Evan Sanchez (7-0, 6 KO).

World champion Seniesa “Superbad” Estrada (18-0, 7 KOs) will fight in the 108-pound division against a yet to be determined opponent.