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Jorge Linares returns against Javier Fortuna on August 28 at Fantasy Springs

Anthony Cocks

Australian-based boxing journalist Anthony Cocks has been covering the sport for over 15 years for various print and online publications. He refuses to believe that Roberto Duran ever lost to Tommy Hearns and says that Jeff Fenech would destroy Chuck Norris, Bruce Lee and Muhammad Ali on the same night.

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Former three-weight world champion Jorge ‘El Niño de Oro’ Linares 47-5 (29) will return to the ring when he takes on WBC number one contender Javier ‘El Abejon’ Fortuna 35-2-1 (24) at the Fantasy Springs Resort Casino in Indio, California on August 28 live on DAZN.

The 34-year-old Venezuelan veteran was last in action when he knocked out journeyman Carlos Morales in four rounds at the Honda Center in Anaheim, California in February.

The victory came a year after his shock first-round knockout loss to Pablo Cesar Cano in a junior welterweight bout at Madison Square Garden in New York.

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“I’m ready to return to the top of the lightweight division,” said Linares. “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.”

The event will be closed to the public and media with details of the undercard to be announced.

“Linares’ legacy as a future Hall of Famer is etched in stone,” said promoter Oscar de la Hoya of Golden Boy Promotions.

“During his time with us, he has conquered three divisions and travelled all over the world as he demonstrated his courage as a fighter. But make no mistake: Linares is not done yet.

“On August 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. Golden Boy boxing is back, and that means competitive fights are back.”

Southpaw Fortuna, 31, lost a close split decision victory to then-IBF lightweight champion Robert Easter Jr in January 2018 and in his last outing the Dominican dominated former world title challenger Jesus ‘El Jinete’ Cuellar, stopping him in two rounds last November.

Fortuna warned Linares not to make any excuse when he loses the fight.

“Don’t make any excuses on fight night,” the former WBA super featherweight champion said. “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.”

Sampson Lewkowicz of Sampson Boxing added: “I commend Jorge Linares for taking this fight while so many other top contenders didn’t want the fight.

“I expect Javier Fortuna to be in top shape and ready for a battle he will win. Javier Fortuna will be the first three-time world champion from the Dominican Republic.”

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