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Oscar Duarte talking a good game ahead of Ryan Garcia clash this Saturday

Ryan Garcia and Oscar Duarte

Oscar Duarte 26-1-1 (21) says he is more than ready to step up in weight and class when he faces Ryan Garcia 23-1 (19) at junior welterweight at Toyota Center in Houston, Texas on Saturday night.

The 27-year-old Mexican will be moving up from lightweight where he has campaigned for the bulk of his career.

“This is the best version I’ve felt. I’m a very strong lightweight. I’m stronger than ever. I feel great at 140,” Duarte said. “I’m very hungry. I have great managers. I have their support and I’m ready to win.

“I’m very hungry. I’ve been in boxing for fifteen years, and I want to take advantage of this. I’m going to do my best.

“The ones that are going to come out victorious are the fans and I’m going to do my best and I’m ready to become champion.”

Los Angelan Garcia, 25, will be having his first fight back since his seventh-round knockout loss to undefeated southpaw Gervonta ‘Tank’ David 29-0 (27) at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada in April.

That bout was contested at a catchweight of 136-pounds. Garcia had to come down in weight to make the fight after spending the previous year campaigning at the junior welterweight limit of 140-pounds.

Garcia received criticism from some quarters for failing to beat the count, but Duarte doesn’t blame him for staying down.

“He gave a good fight and took a good hit and he couldn’t continue,” Duarte said.

He added that he is not concerned with what Garcia brings to the ring, who is known for his big left hook.

“I’m focusing on my strategy. I feel like I’m at my best, and I’m going to do my best on December 2nd,” said Duarte. “It’s good [Garcia’s left hook], he’s fast and he has power, but I’m getting ready for that. I’m prepared, and I’m ready.

“No, he’s not going to be able to land [the left hook]. I’m prepared for that. I have good defence. That’s just what I’m going to do.

“Yes, I’ve never liked getting hit. Boxing is about hitting and not getting hit. But if he does hit me, I’m going to take it. What you’re going to see is the best Oscar and the fast Oscar. It’s going to be a good fight.”

With both boxers having a knockout ratio upward of 80%, it’s fair to assume this fight is not going the distance. But Duarte says it’s not an outcome he will push for.

“I’m not going to look for the knockout because it’s going to come,” said Duarte, whose lone loss was to Adrian Estrella by 10-round split decision at Fantasy Springs Casino in Indio, California in February 2019. “I’m just going to do my job from round one.”