By Robert Coster
Photo: Team Fortuna
Javier Fortuna is one of the hottest prospects in the super featherweight division and he impressively confirmed his rising stock last Friday with a nationally televised two round blowout of former IBF champion Cristobal Cruz. The 22-year-old Fortuna (20-0, 15 KOs) levelled the usually sturdy Cruz with an awesome left cross. Discovered three years ago in the Dominican Republic by promoter Sampson Lewkowicz, Javier is today ranked by three world boxing bodies and seems on the threshold of world title contention. Says Lewkowicz about his protege: “Javier has terrific power and he is also a smooth boxer and has great work ethic. He’s just the complete package.” Fightnews caught up with Fortuna to know more about this young man who seems promised to a bright future.
Javier, your last opponent Cristobal Cruz, an experienced former world champion, was supposed to be your toughest to date. Yet, it was surprinsingly easy for you. Are you surprised?
I expected a tough fight, him being a former world Champion and a Mexican. But I caught him well with a great punch. But it wasn’t only that punch. I was controlling the fight from round one.
Can you describe the knockout?
He came in throwing a right hand. It’s just what I wanted. I bent backward and caught him with a left cross flush on the jaw.
Cruz hadn’t lost a fight by stoppage in over 12 years. This is your second one punch knockout in a row. Have you always had that great power?
It’s the result of all the hard work in the gym with my trainer. This said, I have always had power in those hands. Eight of my fifteen knockouts have been in the first round.
Let’s talk about about your past and how you got started into boxing in the Dominican Republic?
I am born in La Romana, a town that has produced various world champions and my older brother Jonathan was an amateur boxer. I used to follow him to the gym. He tried to chase me away but one day he just gave up trying. I became an amateur at age 11.
What was your amateur record?
I was a member of the Dominican national team. I had a record of 397-18. I won a bronze at the World Junior Championships and a silver at the Pan American Games. The Dominican amateur team wanted me for the 2012 Olympics but I just couldn’t wait to turn pro.
So you signed up with Sampson Lewkowicz?
I turned pro in 2009 and had my first fight in the USA in December 2010 vs Victor Valenzuela who was 8-0. I knocked hom out in one round.
Has your team talked to you about fighting for a world title anytime soon?
No. I leave it up to them. My job is to fight and win. I’ll be ready when the big day comes.
Imagine having that world title belt wrapped around you. Who would you dedicate it to?
First to God, then my mother and, finally, my team.