Fast-rising lightweight star Ryan Garcia is abruptly pumping the brakes on his promising career.
Garcia (21-0, 18 KOs) announced on Instagram on Saturday that he’s pulling out of his scheduled July 9 fight against Javier Fortuna (36-2-1, 25 KOs).
“I know this news may be disappointing to some of my fans but I am announcing today that I am withdrawing from my July 9th fight,” Garcia wrote on his verified Instagram channel that reaches 8.6 million followers. “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.”
The Garcia versus Fortuna fight was announced April 23 and slated to stream on DAZN. A venue wasn’t announced at the time, nor an undercard lineup.
Eleven days later, however, Garcia reconsidered his immediate next match and withdrew from the bout.
It is not yet clear whether Garcia is battling a physical injury.
Garcia has been brutally honest about his battles with depression and anxiety in recent weeks.
On March 2, he wrote on Instagram: "I still struggle everyday with anxiety and depression at times because of my anxiety ... There are times where it calms down. But I still battle every day … But I'm with all of you who struggle and I'm here to tell you it's okay … We can still do what we want and what our hearts want. God is good … I’m here to tell you it’s still possible to reach your dreams. There are ways to cope, I know I look like someone who is happy all the time but inside I hurt at times struggling just to function but I choose to keep moving forward. I love you guys, keep going.”
Garcia kicked off his year with a spectacular knockout of Luke Campbell on January 2. The 22-year-old suffered a second-round knockdown to come back and punish the former Olympics gold medalist with a debilitating body shot to end the fight in the seventh.
Immediately after, he called out Gervonta Davis for a showdown. In the weeks that followed, Garcia kept calling out top 135-pounders like Teofimio Lopez, Devin Haney and Vasiliy Lomachenko. He was even close to negotiating a deal to fight Manny Pacquiao before finalizing Fortuna.
Earlier this year, Garcia said he would retire at the age of 26 and then take a swing at MMA.
Garcia’s career now remains on hold as he regroups and contemplates more critical elements around his life.
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.