Jorge Linares, Lucas Matthysse placed on Jan. 27 Forum boxing card

Jorge Linares poses with his belts after beating Anthony Crolla on Sept. 24, 2016.
(Richard Sellers / Associated Press)

Lightweight boxing champion Jorge Linares will return to the Forum on Jan. 27 to again defend his World Boxing Assn. belt, against Mercito Gesta, on an HBO-televised card.

Argentina’s former 140-pound title challenger Lucas Matthysse will also fight for a WBA belt on the card when he meets welterweight Tewa Kiram (38-0, 28 knockouts) in Kiram’s first bout outside his native Thailand.

“I understand not many people know me in the U.S., but they are in for a big surprise on Jan. 27,” Kiram said in a news release. “I have never been defeated, and I am fully confident that I will return to Thailand with the WBA championship around my waist.”

Linares (43-3, 27 KOs), meanwhile, edged Luke Campbell by split decision in September at the Forum and returns to the venue against Gesta (31-1-2, 17 KOs).


Gesta, 30, from the Philippines, is riding a six-fight winning streak, but his placement is a disappointment considering the effort to stage a Linares bout against unbeaten World Boxing Council lightweight champion Mikey Garcia of Riverside.

Garcia originally balked at Golden Boy Promotions Chief Executive Oscar De La Hoya’s attempt to sign Garcia to a fight beyond a possible Saturday date against 154-pound champion Miguel Cotto.

Garcia ultimately rejected a Cotto fight, and then opted to bypass Linares to take another bout that has yet to be announced for the first quarter of 2018 on Showtime.