Ryan Garcia has just the opponent in mind for his first major title.
The junior welterweight contender has WBA titlist Rolando Romero in his sights and continues to campaign for that to be his next fight. Garcia continued that path after an eighth-round knockout of Mexico’s Oscar Duarte in their DAZN-aired bout above the 140-pound limit on Saturday from Toyota Center in Houston, Texas.
When it came time to call out his divisional peers, Romero was at the top of that list.
“I want to become a champion. That is my goal,” Garcia told a group of reporters during the post-fight press conference. “I want Rollies, to be honest. It will be a fun fight. He’s aggressive, he’s a crazy dude. The buildup will be crazy. He has a title, technically.
“I don’t know if you have a real injury or not. But heal that sh!t, I’m gonna beat your ass."
Romero (15-1, 13KOs) has not fought since his controversial ninth-round stoppage of Venezuela’s Ismael Barroso in their May 13 vacant title fight in his Las Vegas hometown. The sanctioning body called for a mandatory title defense versus England’s Ohara Davies but Romero was able to stall the ordered fight through a medical exception.
Davies was due to face Barroso in an interim title fight on the Garcia-Duarte undercard. The bout was postponed, however, when Davies did not receive his travel visa in time. Romero was ordered to face the winner of that still-to-be-rescheduled bout, though it is widely believed that a play will be made for Garcia to skip the line. The matter is expected to be addressed during the upcoming WBA annual convention later this month in Orlando, Florida.
Garcia (24-1, 20KOs) is unbothered by the politics and simply wants to lay a foundation to reunify the division.
“I told everyone I’m committing to become world champion,” insisted Garcia. “If Rollies wants that, bring it on Rollies. I know you talk a lot, let’s get it going.
“Where you at, Rollies? You got beat up by that old dude (Ismael Barroso), we know what happened. Don’t be trying to fake it.”
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox