Ryan Garcia never had a second thought about reuniting with Joe Goossen.
The switch in trainers came out of necessity ahead of Garcia’s awaited ring return following a 15-month ring absence. The unbeaten, top-rated lightweight will enter his first fight with Goossen when he faces streaking contender Emmanuel Tagoe (32-1, 15KOs) this Saturday on DAZN from Alamodome in San Antonio. The past seven weeks spent in training camp and now fight week has proven to be precisely the change he needed in his career.
“When you gotta trust that gut feeling—and a lot of people don’t, but I do—you just have to go with it,” Garcia said of bringing aboard Goossen, a renowned trainer with 40-plus years of experience and numerous world champions to his name. “I knew Joe was going to be a good fit for me. He’s old school. He knows the history of the game. It’s a good connection.”
The move was announced earlier this year, signaling the end of Garcia’s time spent under the watchful eye of Eddy Reynoso, a two-time and reigning Trainer of the Year best known for his work with Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez. There have been varying takes as to why Garcia (21-0, 18KOs) is no longer part of that team, though more important to the 23-year-old Victorville, California native is the peace of mind necessary to move forward with his career.
With that came the decision to bring aboard Goossen, who committed to the point of spending more than six weeks at Garcia’s camp in San Diego. The trip is more than two hours from Goossen’s Van Nuys (California) home and facility where his fighters are normally required to travel.
The two immediately clicked, although they remain at a style standstill.
“I’m actually trying to find myself a denim jacket but I haven’t,” quipped Garcia. “I’m making him a custom denim jacket. He’s not going to wear a team jacket, there’s nothing I can do about that.”
All that Garcia can do is show the boxing world that he is ready to pick up where he left off since his last ring appearance. This weekend will mark his first fight since an off-the-canvas, seventh round knockout of England’s Luke Campbell last January in Dallas. From there came a mental health reset and a subsequent wrist injury requiring surgery, which left Garcia out of the ring for more than a year.
Upon his return, it also left him without the team he came to know and call family since entering Reynoso’s facility in late 2018. The tandem worked well while it lasted—five knockouts in as many fights together—but Garcia feels good about the move he made and the team by which he is now surrounded.
“It really got to come within the person,” insists Garcia. “You can have the best things in the world, you can have all the fancy things. But it’s about who you have. If you don’t have the right people, you don’t have that feeling within.”
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox
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