Rising lightweight star Ryan Garcia is rested, recuperated and recovered from the mental health issues that abruptly halted his ascending career earlier this year.
The soon-to-be 23-year-old Garcia (21-0, 18 KOs) announced on social media that his return to the ring is imminent.
“I’m back in October,” Garcia wrote on Instagram. “I’m having fun. Been a long time but it’ll be worth the wait. LA I’m coming to fight.”
In the video that accompanied the announcement, Garcia can be seen precisely peppering punches at his Fierce Reflex bag.
On April 24, Garcia suddenly pulled out of his announced fight with Javier Fortuna, which was set to take place July 9 at the Banc of California Stadium in Los Angeles as a DAZN headliner.
“At this time it is important to manage my health and wellbeing. I have decided to take some time off to focus on becoming a stronger version of myself. I hope to be back soon and am looking forward to stepping back into the ring when I am my healthiest self. I want to Thank God, my family, my doctors and my supporters,” Garcia wrote at the time.
Less than four months later, Garcia is ready to get back into the fold. In recent weeks, he’s been training alongside friend and stablemate Canelo Alvarez in San Diego under the tutelage of reigning trainer of the year Eddy Reynoso.
Garcia will now be looking to land a viable opponent to finalize his comeback.
When Garcia passed on the Fortuna fight, Golden Boy stablemate Joseph Diaz Jr. instead stepped in to face and eventually beat Fortuna. For his efforts, Diaz landed the WBC interim lightweight title, a designation formerly held by Garcia before he relinquished it to take time off.
The win made Diaz (32-1-1, 15 KOs) the mandatory challenger for WBC lightweight championship. A fight has not been ordered yet by the sanctioning body, but Diaz is open to the idea of fighting Garcia in a backyard battle, one that surely would be fitting in a venue like STAPLES Center.
Immediately following his win against Fortuna during his lightweight debut, Diaz desired a fight against Garcia.
“I think both [Garcia and Haney] are fights that could be made. I think me and Ryan Garcia, we are from the same promotion. I think that fight is really, really, likely to happen. Ryan Garcia would be wanting the opportunity because it's such a big fight here in LA. I think we can make that happen. Also the Devin Haney fight. Whatever person agrees to fight me next, I'm with it,” said Diaz.
“If Devin wants to play games and wait, and fight somebody else first before the mandatory, then I'll fight Ryan … Ryan Garcia is one hell of a fighter. He's all about bringing the fight fans and the fights to LA. I feel that this fight is such a big fight, it's going to happen sooner or later.”
Manouk Akopyan is a sports journalist, writer and broadcast reporter. He’s also a member of the Boxing Writers Association of America and MMA Journalists Association. He can be reached on Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and YouTube at @ManoukAkopyan, via email at manouk[dot]akopyan[at]gmail.com or on www.ManoukAkopyan.com