Ryan Garcia is closing in on his first title shot. The WBC ordered a lightweight title eliminator between Garcia and Isaac “Pitbull” Cruz on Tuesday, according to a letter sent to fighters that was obtained by ESPN.
If no agreement is reached between Garcia’s promoter, Oscar De La Hoya’s Golden Boy Promotions, and Cruz’s promoter, Al Haymon’s Premier Boxing Champions, a purse bid will take place on June 14. The winner of the proposed fight would be guaranteed a shot at the WBC 135-pound title held by Devin Haney. Haney meets George Kambosos for the undisputed lightweight championship on June 4 on ESPN.
It’s possible that Garcia or Cruz will decide not to continue the fight, but a clash between the two lightweights is highly anticipated, especially with a title shot on the line.
“I’m so excited!” Garcia (22-0, 18 KOs) wrote on Instagram, where he has nearly 9 million followers. “Bad chance that man will escape his fate when he enters the ring with me. … It’s time for that to happen, don’t do anything weird. Let’s give the fans what they want!”
Garcia, ESPN’s No. 6 lightweight, previously trained alongside Canelo Alvarez in San Diego, but the 23-year-old parted ways with Eddy Reynoso ahead of his comeback fight last month. Now coached by Joe Goossen, Garcia picked up a unanimous decision victory over Emmanuel Tagoe in his first action in 15 months.
He scored a career-best victory in January 2021 when he stopped Olympic gold medalist Luke Campbell and sent him into retirement, but circumstances sidelined him for the rest of the year. year. First, Garcia pulled out of a scheduled July 2021 fight with Javier Fortuna to deal with his sanity. Then a match with Joseph Diaz Jr. was scrapped after Garcia underwent surgery to repair his right wrist.
Cruz, a 23-year-old Mexican, would represent the toughest competition of Garcia’s career. “Pitbull” gave Gervonta Davis everything he could handle in their December meeting and followed that up with a fifth-round TKO of Yuriorkis Gamboa last month.
Like Garcia, Cruz (23-2-1, 16 KOs) has never competed for a world title.