Undefeated welterweight world champion Danny “Swift” Garcia (32-0, 18 KOs) will make his first appearance in his native Philadelphia since 2010 as he takes on Colombia’s Samuel Vargas (25-2-1, 13 KOs) in the main event of Premier Boxing Champions on Spike Saturday, November 12 from Temple University’s Liacouras Center. The bout will be Garcia’s final hurdle before a planned massive showdown with unbeaten champion Keith “One Time” Thurman scheduled for the first quarter of 2017.
Garcia, a two-division world champion, will battle Vargas in a 10-round non-title bout in his first fight since his exciting win over Robert “The Ghost” Guerrero in January. Garcia insisted on staging the fight in his hometown and using the event as a vehicle to raise awareness and money for the less fortunate in the area.
“My dad and I wanted to get one more fight in before the end of the year and there was no doubt in my mind it had to be in Philadelphia,” said Garcia. “My team got it done and it’s a great feeling to fight at home over the holidays. I’m excited to use this opportunity to give back to the community and put on a show on November 12. This city means everything to me. I hope everyone comes out, but shows up with cans of food too. I’m gearing up for a big fight with Keith Thurman next year that’s going to be a can’t miss event. First, I’m going to fight for my city on November 12.”
“Things happen when you work hard and I’m so excited about this opportunity,” said Vargas. “Garcia is a great fighter and he cleaned out the 140-pound division and now he is champion at 147. A win would change my life and everyone around me. This is my time. I can’t fail. This is going to be a Rocky story in Rocky’s town.”
Televised coverage on Spike begins at 9 p.m. ET/8 p.m. CT and features undefeated rising star Jarrett Hurd (18-0, 12 KOs) in a 12-round bout against once-beaten super welterweight contender Jorge Cota (25-1, 22 KOs) and former world champion Javier Fortuna (30-1-1, 22 KOs) battling undefeated Omar Douglas (17-0, 12 KOs) in a 10-round lightweight bout.
“This win will put me one step closer towards winning a world title,” said Hurd. “The win over Oscar Molina was a big opportunity that has opened a lot of doors and was a great experience. Cota is a tough veteran with a high knockout rate. He is a little wild and I have to look out for that. I’m going to go out there to land nice shots and stick to my game plan.”
“I’m looking forward to this opportunity to fight a good undefeated fighter,” said Cota. “I know that I have the power and skills to beat anybody out there. I’m going to leave it all in the ring and get the victory on November 12.”
“I’m only thinking about winning heading into this fight,” said Fortuna. “Douglas is a good fighter who moves very well. I’m looking forward to this challenge on November 12. I will be a world champion once again.”
“This is the type of fight that I need if I am going to be a champion,” said Douglas. “I plan on putting on a crowd pleasing performance. Fortuna is a decent fighter and I’m going to have to break him down. He is good for four or five rounds but then he slows down. I’m going to set him up to take him out in the later rounds.”
Garcia returns to headline in his hometown as a two-division world champion who has picked up major victories over top fighters including Amir Khan, Lucas Matthysse, Lamont Peterson, Paulie Malignaggi and Zab Judah on his way to 31 professional victories. The 28-year-old earned a vacant welterweight world title in his last bout when he won a toe-to-toe battle with former world champion Guerrero in Los Angeles taking his professional record to 32-0.
The 27-year-old Vargas enters this bout on a five-fight win streak including three stoppage victories including his most recent outing, a 10-round decision over Juan Armando Garcia in May. Born in Columbia, his family left to find a better life when he was 15 years old and after a brief stay in New York City, they moved to the Toronto suburb of Mississauga. Vargas enrolled at a boxing gym early on and learned discipline while adapting to his surroundings. He turned pro in 2010 after just 12 amateur bouts and was undefeated in his first 16 fights while fighting out of Canada.
Hurd fights out of Accokeek, Md., just south of Washington, D.C. and is perfect since entering the pro ranks in 2012. The 26-year-old has faced three straight undefeated fighters including a sixth-round stoppage of Frank Galarza in 2015 and a 10th-round TKO over Oscar Molina in the co-main event of the Keith Thurman vs. Shawn Porter card in June. The exciting boxer-puncher will look to continue his climb to a world title on November 12.
A powerful puncher sporting an 88 percent knockout rate, Cota made his U.S. debut in August of 2015 and upset Cuban Olympic silver medalist Yudel Jhonson while knocking him down twice over the 10-round bout. The fighter out of Sinaloa, Mexico is entering this fight with nine straight wins, including six by way of knockout. The 27-year-old will be making his first ring appearance of 2016.
An amateur standout that participated in the first Pan American Junior Championships in 2003, the 27-year-old Fortuna owns victories over Abner Cotto, Carlos Ivan Velasquez, Miguel Zamudio and Patrick Hyland. He took down the highly regarded Bryan Vasquez to earn a super featherweight world title in May of last year. Representing La Romana, Dominican Republic, Fortuna bounced back from a defeat to Jason Sosa to stop previously unbeaten Marlyn Cabrera in September.
An undefeated fighter out of Wilmington, Delaware, Douglas impressed in his last two outings when he defeated contender Frank De Alba in a step up fight last December and followed it up with a seventh-round knockout of Alexei Collado in June. The 25-year-old has picked up four victories since the beginning of 2015 and will face his toughest competition to date when he battles Fortuna.
In keeping with his desire to give back to the community, Garcia is teaming up with Philabundance, the region’s largest hunger relief organization, to arrange a regional food drive, collecting most-needed items, such as tuna and vegetables. Fans are being encouraged to drop off canned goods at the Liacouras Center (1776 N Broad St) and the DSG Boxing Gym (3731 Jasper St). Additionally, $10 from each ticket sold will be donated and provide 20 meals per ticket for people in need. More information on these efforts and how you can get involved will be announced shortly.