Mark E. Ortega

Bits and pieces: Fortuna-Zamudio lands in Atlantic City

The following “bits and pieces” of boxing news and items were compiled by contributor Mark E. Ortega during the Tim Bradley-Ruslan Provodnikov card last Saturday.

Fortuna-Zamudio lands in AC

The April 19 ESPN2 Friday Night Fights card promoted by Sampson Lewkowicz has found a home.

Undefeated featherweight contender Javier Fortuna will face unheralded Miguel Zamudio in Atlantic City at the Tropicana Casino & Resort, according to Nathan Lewkowicz, an executive at the promotional company as well as Sampson’s son.

The 23-year old Fortuna is coming off a decisive victory over Patrick Hyland in a bout that appeared on the HBO pay-per-view undercard of Juan Manuel Marquez’s stirring knockout of Manny Pacquiao this past December. The bout was supposed to be a showcase bout for Fortuna, who was expected to overwhelm the unbeaten but untested Hyland. Instead, Fortuna faded down the stretch and looked far different from the fighter who had scored highlight-reel knockouts in his past two ESPN2 appearances.

The undercard is still being worked on according to Lewkowicz, but one fighter that is slated to appear is junior middleweight John Jackson. Jackson, one of the fighting sons of legendary KO artist and former two-division titleholder Julian Jackson, suffered his only defeat last September against the streaking Willie Nelson in a hard-fought decision.

Fan-favorite Ruiz to appear on TV next

Saturday night on the untelevised portion of the Tim Bradley-Ruslan Provodnikov undercard in Carson, Calif., Andy Ruiz Jr. needed less than a round to vanquish Matthew Greer.

Even Top Rank officials agreed that Ruiz was far beyond the level of opponent that he faced Saturday. One Top Rank official told RingTV that the reason for the level of opponent being so low was they had big plans in store for Ruiz and didn’t want to risk him getting cut or hurt. Those plans are for Ruiz’s next fight to be on television, with rumors being either UniMas or possibly even HBO.

For either one of those options, the level of opponent must drastically improve, and was told the level of opponent being targeted is someone like Washington, D.C.’s Maurice Byarm, who has failed in a couple of televised steps up but could make Ruiz go rounds.

Though Top Rank wouldn’t comment on where Ruiz’s next fight will take place, it is being targeted for the next two months. caught up with Ruiz shortly after his win.

“I think I’m ready, I’ve proven myself,” said Ruiz when asked if he was ready for a step up in competition. “A lot of people tell me I am good but said the weight needed to come down. I’ve shown the weight is coming down. They’re working on HBO for my next fight.”

Vanes remains patient

In attendance at Saturday’s war between Bradley and Provodnikov was junior middleweight Vanes Martirosyan, who spoke briefly with regarding his upcoming fight in Macao and future plans.

Martirosyan will travel to Macau to face Javier Francisco Maciel as part of a historic card that features the pro debut of China’s first Olympic gold medalist in boxing, Zou Shiming. That card will be televised by HBO2, though Martirosyan’s bout won’t be. If time permits, Martirosyan-Maciel will make air on the UniMas broadcast that will feature Wilfredo Vazquez Jr.’s Macau fight.

Maciel has won seven straight since challenging Dmitry Pirog for his WBO middleweight belt, where he was far from a pushover.

Martirosyan is coming off a nine-round technical draw with Erislandy Lara in a WBC eliminator, Martirosyan’s toughest opponent by far up until that point.

“I leave on the 30th for Macao and I’ll be back on the 7th with another win,” said Martirosyan while ringside in Carson.

When asked why he hasn’t taken that next step in his career yet despite being a professional since 2005, Martirosyan didn’t hesitate to answer.

“It’s a big risk to take, to face me,” he said. “I know I don’t have much of a following, I’ve got to earn it the hard way. It’s good I have to prove myself, and hopefully once I earn my fans, they’ll be fans for life.”

A rematch with Lara was set to be made but Martirosyan made it clear his eye wasn’t ready for a fight like that.

“My eye wasn’t quite yet healed, that is why I didn’t accept,” said Martirosyan. “If they would’ve given me a little bit more time, I would have taken that fight immediately.”

Martirosyan’s career hasn’t taken off like some of his Olympic teammates, namely 2004 gold medalist Andre Ward, but he’s still thankful for the experience.

“It is being an Olympian that got me with Top Rank, and for that I am grateful,” said Martirosyan. “I have to be patient, and sooner or later my time is going to come. It’s like in a fight, sometimes you have to be patient and wait for that perfect shot and it will come.”

The belt for which Martirosyan-Lara was an eliminator was Saul Alvarez’s WBC title, which he will defend April 20 against Austin Trout in San Antonio.

“It’s a tough fight,” said Martirosyan in regards to the bout. “I hope Trout wins, we’ve been friends since the amateurs and I am definitely rooting for him. But it is a really interesting fight and I look forward to seeing it.”

Without winning an eliminator, Martirosyan seems an unlikely opponent for the winner given the Golden Boy-Top Rank feud. But the eliminator with Lara proved the two sides could work together—if mandated by a sanctioning body. If Martirosyan stays the course, maybe the opportunity will come.

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