INSIDE THE RING: Fight preview and more with Ryan Garcia and Oscar De La Hoya

KSAT 12 Sports got a preview to April’s fight in the Alamodome.

The undefeated lightweight Ryan “King Ry” Garcia (21-0, 18 KOs) will face Ghana’s Emmanuel Tagoe (32-1, 15 KOs) in a 12-round lightweight bout on Saturday, April 9 in the Alamodome. Tickets have already gone on sale and can be purchased on TicketMaster.com or the Alamodome Box Office. Both Garcia and Golden Boy Promotions Chairman and CEO Oscar De La Hoya spoke to KSAT 12 Sports last week to discuss various subjects leading into next month’s fight.

SAN ANTONIO – DAZN and Golden Boy Promotions has made it official: Ryan Garcia’s return to the ring will begin in the Alamo City.

The undefeated lightweight “King Ry” Garcia (21-0, 18 KOs) will face Ghana’s Emmanuel Tagoe (32-1, 15 KOs) in a 12-round lightweight bout on Saturday, April 9 in the Alamodome. Tickets have already gone on sale and can be purchased on TicketMaster.com or the Alamodome Box Office.

Both Garcia and Golden Boy Promotions Chairman and CEO Oscar De La Hoya spoke to KSAT 12 Sports last week to discuss various subjects leading into next month’s fight.

WRIST SURGERY

Garcia spent last October preparing for his WBC title eliminator against JoJo Diaz when the unthinkable happened to the 23-year-old: he damaged his right wrist during a sparring session. The injury was so severe he needed surgery. April’s fight in the Alamodome will be his first since going under the knife.

“There’s going to be no rust at all,” said Garcia. “When I started sparring again it’s like my timing’s there, my speed’s there, I’m doing everything I normally do. There’s nothing that really alarms me.”

“It’s always a big concern,” De La Hoya added. “All you have to do is believe in your abilities. Get in the best shape possible, do all the therapy on your wrist and hope for the best. You never know what’s going to happen in that ring.”

CHANGING TRAINERS

Last week’s media rounds should have centered around Garcia’s return to the ring. Instead, it featured question after question about Garcia’s former trainer Eddy Reynoso and his relationship with former mentor Canelo Alvarez.

Garcia split his partnership with Reynoso due to Reynoso’s lack of involvement in his training, according to reports. Joe Goossen is Garcia’s new man in his corner.

“I feel good, my work ethic is always the same, I train hard in everything I do,” Garcia said. “I’m excited to just be in the ring. Joe is Joe and Eddy is Eddy and Ryan is Ryan, you’re going to see that.”

“We’ll see the truth. The truth is always in the ring,” Garcia added. “That’s the best thing about boxing, it’s the most honest sport in the world. If I’m not working hard, that will be shown April 9th.”

MENTAL HEALTH

There has never been a time like the present where it was encouraged for athletes to take care of one’s mental health. It has often been a topic to be avoided or else people started to question an athlete’s toughness or commitment. Social media criticism has only made the issue worse and “King Ry” has almost 9 million followers on Instagram alone.

That was part of the reason why Garcia had to take a step away from boxing in 2021. Garcia walked away from training to deal with mental health issues and even suicidal thoughts.

“Taking a step back and really care about your mental health is more important than people realize,” Garcia explained. “People make mistakes because they hold it in so much. I think speaking about it will help people -- there’s people telling me that I’ve saved their lives. That’s way more important than boxing.”

Garcia went on to explain Tuesday that he has a Snapchat series coming out soon that focuses on mental health. Yet, even with all the good he has tried to do to help people face those issues, while battling his own, Garcia told TMZ on Sunday that boxing fans have given him mixed reactions for those efforts.

“It warms my heart, it’s like purpose,” said Garcia when asked about the positive influence he’s had on others dealing with mental health issues. “Of course, I’m here to become the best fighter in the world and to do all the things I’ve set out to do. But I really get happiness from helping others and seeing others thrive and get better and live life good. That’s what matters to me a lot.”

WAR IN UKRAINE

As Russian forces continue their invasion of Ukraine, over 1.5 million people have fled seeking refuge in neighboring countries, including at least 964,000 people fleeing to Poland, according to a Sunday night report from CNN.

However, people are returning to their homeland to fight the Russians, including current heavyweight champion Oleksandr Usyk. His upcoming fight with Anthony Joshua is currently on hold as Usyk has returned to Ukraine. Fighting there already is lightweight southpaw Vasiliy Lomachenko. Former heavyweight champions Wladimir and Vitali Klitschko, who is the mayor of Kyiv, are also in Ukraine fighting the Russians.

“It’s very honorable, to go out there and actually fight in a war,” said Garcia. “My heart’s with them, I hope they come back home safe and I wish the best for them. God bless them.”

“They’re fighters, what heart, what can you say, they are fighting for their country, they are fighting for their lives, literally,” explained De La Hoya. “I wish this war would end, now. It shows you their character, they love their country, they love for what they stand for, what they believe in. My hat off to them. They believe in something and they are literally fighting for it.”

CHAMPS FROM SAN ANTONIO

Just a few years ago, “Jesse” James Leija was San Antonio’s last world champ in boxing. Since 2019, Mario Barrios, Joshua Franco and most recently Jesse Rodriguez have brought home their own world championship belts and that has not surprised the “Golden Boy” Oscar De La Hoya.

Daniel P. Villanueva has worked with KSAT 12 for over 18 years and is an award-winning producer. To submit story ideas, email dvillanueva@ksat.com


About the Author:

Daniel P. Villanueva has been with KSAT 12 since 2003 and is the producer of our weekly sports show, "Instant Replay." Villanueva is a graduate of St. Mary's University and is a TAPB and Lone Star Emmy award winner.