Dejan Zlaticanin will defend his WBC World title against Mikey Garcia in a battle of unbeaten lightweights on January 28th. The MGM Grand in Las Vegas will host the fight, which will serve as the co-feature to the much-anticipated rematch between Carl Frampton and Leo Santa Cruz.
“I’m fighting Mickey Garcia on January 28,” said Zlaticanin via social media. “My first wish came true in June of this year when I became a world champion, and my second wish is to box at the MGM Grand Arena.”
Zlaticanin, a thirty-two year-old native of Montenegro, will be making his first defense of the green belt he acquired in a vacant title bout against Franklin Mamani in June of this year.
He is perhaps best known for defeating Ricky Burns two summers ago in a close, contested battle. Zlaticanin memorably dropped the Scot with a thudding left hand in the first fifteen seconds of the opening round but was unable to put him away.
The January fight against Garcia will massive step up in competition for Zlaticanin. The twenty-eight-year-old will carry a considerable height and reach advantage into the ring against Zlaticanin on fight night. And, if his power carries over into the higher weight class, we can expect the younger fighter to have the edge there as well.
Garcia is eager to return to the limelight after a legal battle with his former promoter, Top Rank, kept him sidelined until July of this year.
Prior to the hiatus, the Oxnard, California native was firmly on most world pound-for-pound lists. His victories over Juan Manuel Lopez, Orlando Salido and Roman Martinez were a showcase for his technical prowess as much as for his power.
A former featherweight powerhouse, Garcia will be competing for a world title at 135 pounds in just his second match since returning from his two and a half year layoff. He shook off his ring rust in a mid-summer bout against the painfully overmatched Elio Rojas, knocking down the Dominican contender twice en route to a fifth round TKO victory.