The call wasn’t exactly expected though it also didn’t come as a surprise to Oscar Duarte.
An opportunity for the streaking knockout artist to elevate his profile lies ahead in his upcoming showdown versus boxing star Ryan Garcia. A move up in weight was required to land the fight, which will headline a December 2 DAZN show from Toyota Center in Houston, Texas.
Gratitude was offered by Chihuahua’s Duarte, who plans to save his energy for the ring.
“I’m very excited for this and I really appreciate Ryan for taking this fight,” Duarte said during the kickoff press conference at the hosting fight venue Wednesday afternoon. “He could have chosen an easier opponent but he chose what he feels is the best opponent for himself.
“I’m very excited and thankful for the chance to prove that he’s the right one for me.”
Duarte (26-1-1, 21KOs) has knocked out each of his last eleven opponents, though he has fought predominantly at lightweight throughout his ten-year-pro career. The brilliant run represents the entirety of the current win streak for the 27-year-old since a February 2019 split decision loss to Adrian Estrella in Indio, California.
Garcia (23-1, 19KOs) fights for the first time since his lone career defeat, a seventh-round knockout to Gervonta ‘Tank’ Davis atop an April 22 Showtime Pay-Per-View from T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. The blockbuster event left Garcia with a loss on his record but a massive windfall on the financial end.
Between that and his already high profile, a softer touch was expected for Garcia’s first fight back. Duarte wasn’t surprised by his future rival’s decision, though he plans to use it to his advantage.
“What is going to happen on December 2 is, I’m going to win,” insisted Duarte.
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox