Linares Journey Continues Against Gesta

This Saturday in Inglewood, California, the journey of Jorge Linares takes another step forward as he defends his WBA Lightweight title against Filipino southpaw, Mercito Gesta.

The journey for Linares started as a young man, in his native Venezuela. Talking to FIGHT SPORTS, Linares explained that from an early age he wanted to be in the ring.

“I became a fighter because of my father, he started training me when I was six years old.”

When Linares looked for an opportunity to turn pro, he was barely out of middle school. Instead of staying as an amateur in Venezuela until he was 18, he followed the advice of WBA president Gilberto Mendoza, and moved to Japan.

Linares feels that after the initial culture shock, Japan was where he needed to be at this point in his career.

“The best experience (in my career) was moving to Japan at 15, 16 years old. At first it was tough, not knowing the language, not knowing the culture, but little by little I got used to it.”

From Japan, Linares built an impressive pro resume, including a seven-year undefeated streak (2002-2009).

As he nears his 50th fight, Linares believes that ever since winning the WBA lightweight title against Anthony Crolla, that this has been the best run of his career.

(Highlights of Jorge Linares’ last bout against Luke Campbell via HBO Boxing)

As he is set to face Gesta this Saturday, there has been talk of an eventual unification showdown between Linares and Mikey Garcia.

Garcia has been keen on a showdown, but has had issues with Golden Boy Promotions, who promote Linares.  But, Jorge admitted that the thought of a major fight with Garcia is on his mind.

“I’ve been thinking about other fights and opportunities, but right now I’m going to be calm and focus on the big fight this Saturday. And then more opportunities will come.”

Jorge Linares defends his WBA lightweight title against Mercito Gesta, Saturday at 10:30pm EST on HBO Boxing After Dark.


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