Gesta faces Garcia in January

TWO-TIME world title challenger Mercito Gesta earns his ticket back to the big stage as he takes on American star Ryan Garcia in January at the Moody Center of the University of Texas in Austin, Texas.

Gesta and Garcia will be fighting in a DAZN card on either Jan. 21 or Jan. 28.

Gesta will serve as Garcia’s activity fight before his much-anticipated fight with World Boxing Association (WBA) lightweight king Gervonta Davis. Davis also saw action in January against undefeated WBA super featherweight champion Hector Luis Garcia.

Garcia and Davis must be victorious in their respective January fights if they intend to face each other.

The 35-year-old Gesta still has a lot left in his tank even though he’s been fighting sporadically in the past few years. After a lackluster 2019 and a 24-month layoff, Gesta, a native of Mandaue City, showed signs of his old self after a convincing unanimous decision over Joel Diaz Jr. last April 21 in Indio, California. Gesta dropped Diaz twice in the opening round and dominated the fight.

Gesta fought for a world title twice in his career. He challenged then International Boxing Federation (IBF) lightweight titleholder Miguel Vazquez but lost via a lopsided unanimous decision in Las Vegas in 2012. His second world title attempt came in 2018, wherein he also lost by a one-sided unanimous decision to then WBA lightweight champion Jorge Linares by unanimous decision in Inglewood.

The 24-year-old Garcia is one of the fastest-rising prospects in boxing. He’s known for his power and flare that makes his style a fan-favorite.

Garcia won the interim World Boxing Council (WBC) lightweight strap with seventh round technical knockout of Luke Campbell in Dallas after a layoff of close to a year in 2021. He took another year of absence before returning last April 9 to outclass Ghanaian Emmanuel Tagoe by unanimous decision at San Antonio. Three months later, Garcia dropped former world champion Javier Fortuna three times and knocked him out in the sixth round.

Gesta, who trains under the tutelage of Marvin Somodio, is 33-3-3 with 17 knockouts, while Garcia is 23-0 with 19 knockouts. (EKA)