Ryan ‘Kingry’ Garcia is a 5’10” Mexican-American lightweight who turned pro at the age of 17 after 225 amateur fights, of which he won 210. He was born in Murietta, California, raised in Rancho Cucamonga, and now lives in Victorville, California where he trains with his father, Henry Garcia.
After a stint with Team USA boxing, he decided to turn pro when the International Boxing Association (AIBA) implemented several rule changes, one of which raised the age limit from 17 to 19 for Olympic competition. “I was on the USA team and everything was cool but they changed the age group so you had to be 19 to go to the Olympics. I wouldn’t have been able to go to the Olympics for another four years. Plus, they changed it to no headgear. No headgear, four years and I don’t get paid? So I was like you know what, I’m just gonna go pro.”
Since professionals must be 18 in order to fight in the United States, Garcia had to leave the country in order to follow his dream. “I had four fights in Mexico because I was only 17,” said Garcia. A little more than a week after turning 18 he made his US debut and scored a second round KO. Unsigned and undefeated with a record of 6-0 and 5 KOs, Garcia’s hopes of a gold medal are behind him but a green belt is within his reach.
INTRODUCTION: My uncle was really the one who was the fighter. He was the one who told me about boxing. When I was little I was playing baseball and they gave me this little bobble head and I was like “Man, what is this?” I was only seven or six years old. I had been playing all year and they give me this little bobble head. Then he showed me a picture of a belt and I said, “that’s what I want.”
HEIGHT ADVANTAGE: Ever since I was an amateur I was always taller than everybody. So everybody tries to come on the inside and I just adapted to smaller fighters. Every time I fought a taller guy I’ve done pretty good with them. I never really had a problem with someone that was tall but it is a lot different (fighting smaller guys) because I’m used to fighting people who are shorter. When I fight somebody taller it’s a better matchup because I gotta think more than I do against a smaller fighter. I like to use my intelligence, my experience. I use my smarts when I breakdown fighters with my mind.
TEAM USA: Great learning experience. It was just that time in my life that was one of the greatest because you always dream about training with the Olympic team. That was my dream so when I got to go to the camps and stuff it was amazing but I just thought it was time to go pro and get on the pro-life. I feel l like it was a great decision for me. Ever since I did that everything has been moving fast and great and everything has been going smooth. I think that was a great decision for me.
INFLUENCES: I love watching boxing. My biggest inspirations are probably Oscar De La Hoya, Floyd Mayweather Jr., Pernell Whitaker and Sugar Ray Leonard. Those are the fighters I looked up to and watch. I like how Floyd can adapt to any fighter. If he had to fight an aggressive fighter he adapted, if he had to fight a boxer, he adapted. I just like how he can adapt in the ring and get the job done no matter what. Pernell’s head movement was insane, I still never seen somebody with that kind of head movement. Sugar Ray, what’s not to like about him.
SPARRING PROS: Surprisingly it’s been wonderful. It’s been a great experience for me and I’ve been surprised by how good I’ve been doing. Not surprised because I believe in myself but it’s just crazy seeing people you watch on TV. I just had to shake out the nerves a little bit but after that everything started settling in. I just finished sparring Vasyl Lomachenko. I sparred Yuriorkis Gamboa. Jorge Linares, Sugar Shane Mosley, Sr., and some other up and coming pros. (Vasyl and I) were going fully on. Me and him were cracking, we went at it. At first it was a boxing match but after a while we started going to war. It was good. That was crazy sparring for me. He’s tough. People don’t know that he’s not just technical. He’ll get in there and fight you if he has to. One shot he’s not as strong but once he starts throwing the combinations, that’s where his power really comes in.
LESSONS LEARNED: Shane Mosley taught me how you can lean on fighters and get them a little bit more tired. Linares taught me how you have to pace yourself. It’s different because you have more rounds and you have to pace yourself. You can’t just go out there and start throwing punches. Sixth round comes, seventh round comes, you’re not gonna be the same as you were in the first. So you have to pace yourself.
STRENGTHS: My biggest strength in the ring gotta be my jab. My jab sets everything up. My hand speed also, that’s a big factor. When I have most advantages over guys, it’s my hand speed and my length. It came naturally and I worked on it a lot. I shadowbox with weights everyday but only with two pound weights because you can’t go big or you’ll get slow.
WEAKNESSES: Definitely my inside game. I wanna learn how to work on the inside more and dig to the body and learn how to set up more one punch knockouts. That’s what I want to improve on. Because I know I have the power but I wanna learn how to set someone up for that one punch. That’s always something I’ve wanted to do. But definitely my inside game. My other fight I dropped the guy two times. All my fights I’ve dropped people but they get up and they’re all wobbly and I just throw my combinations and they get knocked out. But I wanna set it up with that one shot, boom! He’s out.
For more on Ryan Garcia go to @kingryang on Instagram. Or contact his manager, Roger Ruiz, at firstname.lastname@example.org