Filipino Mercito Gesta to face Ryan Garcia in January—report

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Mercito Gesta

Former world title contender Mercito Gesta during training. Photo from Mercito Gesta’s Instagram

MANILA, Philippines—Filipino Mercito Gesta, a former world title contender, is set to face undefeated star Ryan Garcia next month in Phoenix.

Gesta and Garcia have already signed contracts to meet on January 28 next year, according to ESPN boxing insider Mike Coppinger.

The bout will reportedly take place at 140 pounds and will serve as a tune-up for Garcia, who is scheduled for a showdown with Gervonta Davis on April 15 in Las Vegas.

The 35-year-old Gesta (33-3-3, 17KOs), who is based in the United States, has only won twice in his last five bouts.

He last fought in April when he beat Joel Diaz Jr. on points in Indio, California.

Gesta, who is under the tutelage of Filipino trainer Marvin Somodio, had previously challenged for the world title twice but lost on both occasions.

His first world title shot ended in a lopsided loss to Mexico’s Miguel Vazquez for the IBF lightweight belt.

Six years later, Gesta got another crack at the crown against three-division champion Jorge Linares, who won via unanimous decision to retain the WBA strap.

The 24-year-old Garcia, meanwhile, is 23-0 with 19 knockouts and is considered the next big thing in boxing. He knocked out Dominican Javier Fortuna in the sixth round last July.

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