Days after enduring another hit to his career, Ryan Garcia found his silver lining.
The unbeaten lightweight contender underwent successful surgery to repair damage to his right hand and wrist suffered during a recent sparring session. Garcia was discharged from Cedars-Sinai Kerlan-Jobe Surgery Center hours after checking in Monday afternoon for the emergency procedure.
“Massive success,” Garcia stated Monday evening. “Now I have danger in both hands. Beware! I’m very happy.”
It was certainly a far more promising development than was the case three days ago, when Garcia (21-0, 18KOs) was forced to withdraw from a planned November 27 interim title fight versus Joseph ‘Jo Jo’ Diaz (31-1-1, 15KOs). The winner was due to next challenger WBC lightweight titlist Devin Haney (26-0, 15KOs), though Diaz could now receive that opportunity straight away while Garcia is forced to sit out the rest of 2021 to fully recover from his injury.
The setback comes months after Garcia—who turned just 23 in August—elected to take a break from the sport for mental health reasons. The decision came at the expense of losing a July 9 fight date with Javier Fortuna in Los Angeles, a little more than an hour from his hometown of Victorville, California.
While his physical and mental health undoubtedly comes first, both instances unfortunately squandered a wave of momentum enjoyed with his lone fight of 2021.
Garcia opened the New Year with an off-the-canvas, seventh-round knockout of 2012 Olympic Gold medalist and former two-time title challenger Luke Campbell this past January 2 at American Airlines Center in Dallas. The feat was well-received throughout and beyond the boxing industry, with hopes of igniting a series of top-shelf fights in a lightweight division loaded with young talent.
For Garcia and his fans, it’s wait ‘till next year at this point.
“I promise early 2022, I will return better,” vowed Garcia. “Very unlucky for me this year, breaking my hand from sparring just sealed the deal for this year. I won’t let this stop me from accomplishing my dreams.
“it’s a bad chapter but not the end of my book.”
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox