Ryan Garcia and Joseph Diaz Jr. have agreed to a deal for a lightweight fight on Nov. 27 in Los Angeles, both boxers told ESPN.
The DAZN main event will be Garcia’s first since he withdrew from a July 9 bout with Javier Fortuna to focus on his mental health.
“Since he came out and beat Fortuna I took the opportunity to beat JoJo,” said Garcia, who predicted a stoppage win between Rounds 3 and 5. “Now it ends questions if I was scared to fight Fortuna.
“I’m excited to be back; I’m ready to continue my momentum where I left off. I missed the sport of boxing. I missed the ring. I missed sparring.”
Garcia (21-0, 18 KOs) delivered a career-best performance in January with a seventh-round TKO of Olympic gold medalist Luke Campbell. The boxer, who is trained by Eddy Reynoso alongside Canelo Alvarez in San Diego, possesses perhaps the fastest hands in boxing.
Now the 23-year-old will prepare to face his first former champion in what figures to be the toughest test of his career.
Diaz (32-1-1, 15 KOs) stepped in to fight Fortuna in July and scored the biggest win of his career in his lightweight debut.
The 2012 Olympian looked stronger and more fit at 135 pounds after struggling to make the 130-pound limit. The 28-year-old was stripped of the title ahead of his February defense vs. Shavkatdzhon Rakhimov; Diaz weighed 133.5 pounds for that matchup.
He won a 130-pound title in January 2020 with a decision victory over Tevin Farmer. The 28-year-old’s other title challenge came at 126 pounds against Gary Russell Jr., in 2018. Diaz entered ESPN’s 135-pound rankings at No. 7 with the Fortuna win.
“I’m stopping him and ending the hype train once and for all,” Diaz said. “I’m gonna take it to him. Everything I’ve been through in and out the ring will be shown that night. He’s finally in with a live dog.”
Both fighters are promoted by Oscar De La Hoya’s Golden Boy Promotions, a company based in Los Angeles. Garcia boasts nearly 9 million followers on Instagram and is a proven box-office draw, having attracted sizable crowds in Southern California and Texas.
Garcia and Diaz are both Mexican-Americans who possess fan-friendly styles.
“L.A. finally has a fight to look forward to,” said Garcia, ESPN’s No. 5 lightweight. “A real fight with two people from L.A. county.”
The fight will go head-to-head with the 122-pound title unification between Stephen Fulton and Brandon Figueroa on Showtime.