Thursday, April 18, 2013
Fortuna tries his luck against Zamudio
By Bernardo Pilatti
Unbeaten featherweight Javier Fortuna, right, brings his speed and power against Miguel Zamudio.
The latest edition of "Friday Night Fights" (ESPN2, 10:30 pm ET), from the Tropicana Casino in Atlantic City, N.J., features a tripleheader headlined by unbeaten interim featherweight titlist Javier Fortuna against Mexico's Miguel Zamudio.
The promising Fortuna (22-0, 15 KOs), a 23-year-old southpaw from La Romana, Dominican Republic, is quick and aggressive with an exciting style and lethal left hand. He looks to finish his fights early, and often times achieves that, with 10 of his 15 knockouts coming in the first round.
Fortuna, however, was taken the distance in December when he captured his interim title from unbeaten Irish contender Patrick Hyland and didn't look as good as he did in previous fights, in spite of the limitations of his opponent.
This opens a question mark heading into his bout with Zamudio (25-1-1, 13 KOs), an aggressive brawler just like Hyland with a clear strategy to defeat the Dominican fighter.
"It is true that I am a puncher, but I can handle any style, and against Fortuna there will be no mystery," Zamudio told ESPN.com. "I will chase him throughout the ring until I find him. I've seen his videos, he runs a lot, but I will cut the ring on him. I am prepared for everything."
Watch 'Friday Night Fights'
Watch Javier Fortuna face Miguel Zamudio on "Friday Night Fights" at 9 p.m. ET (ESPN2 and WatchESPN).
Zamudio (25-1-1, 13 KOs) brings an attractive record and has suffered just one loss, coming at the beginning of his career. But even though Zamudio has won five of his last seven fights by knockout, they have come against soft competition. In his last fight, he barely defeated Gilberto Bolanos, a 35-year-old veteran with 20 defeats, in an eight-round split decision.
"I fight for my people, I come to take [this fight] and then challenge [Indonesian super featherweight champion] Chris John," Zamudio said. "He will be my next victim."
Whatever intentions Zamudio may have, Fortuna is clearly the favorite heading into Friday's bout thanks to his devastating power.
"I have prepared to fight 12 rounds, but I am confident I could knock him out before the eighth," Fortuna said. "I've seen Zamudio fight, I know him quite well. I've worked with similar sparring partners and for every style I have the right strategy. He is a difficult opponent, but I am the champion and no one will make that situation change."
The fight also comes on the two-month anniversay of the death of his father, Santiago Fortuna, who died after suffering cardiac arrest on Feb. 19 in the Dominican Republic.
"I will fight with him in my mind, and in tribute to him," Fortuna said.
Whether or not his emotional state is affected by the impact of his father's death remains to be seen, but Fortuna is confident he will secure the victory and said he would like to face Nicholas Walters of Jamaica, who is the WBA's "regular" featherweight champion.
"I don't care where they make the fight, if it's necessary I will fight him in his own home in Jamaica," Fortuna said.
Fortuna trains in Oxnard, Calif., under Argentina's Pablo Sarmiento, who also works with middleweight champion Sergio Martinez.
Friday's undercard features the son of legendary three-time world champion Julian Jackson when John "Dah Rock" Jackson (15-1, 14 KOs) of the Virgin Islands faces Minnestoa's Cerresso Fort (16-0-1) in a junior middleweight bout. Completing the televised tripleheader is an eight-round fight between unbeaten welterweight contenders when Ghana's Emmanuel Lartei Lartey (14-0-1, 7 KOs) takes on Jonathan Batista (13-0, 6 KOs), of the Dominican Republic.