American Social Media Sensation and Unbeaten Lightweight Ryan Garcia extended his record to 22-0 last night with a 12-round Unanimous Decision win over Ghana’s 32-1 Emmanuel Tagoe. Garcia went the 12-round distance for the first time in an underwhelming performance due to Tagoe’s disinterest in winning the fight and was merely just there to survive.
Garcia won wide on the scorecards (119-110, 119-110 and 118-109) in front of 14,495 fans at the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas and Live on DAZN Globally. The fight was contested at a 139-pound catchweight due to Ryan Garcia’s 15-month layoff after mental health issues earlier last year and injuring his right hand in the latter part of 2021.
Ryan Garcia was supposed to face Fortuna in July and Joseph Diaz Jr in November after Diaz beat Fortuna. Garcia opted to take a ‘softer fight’ fight due to the layoff and trainer change from Eddy Reynoso to Joe Goossen. After his win over Tagoe, Ryan Garcia stated he would need one more fight before being ready for an elite lightweight, so who should that be against.
IBO World Champion Maxi Hughes
Yorkshire’s IBO Lightweight World Champion Maxi Hughes’ (25-5-2) name was put forward by Promoter Eddie Hearn as a possible opponent for Ryan Garcia on The DAZN Boxing Show. Hearn floated the idea of having Garcia make his UK debut against Hughes at an outdoor event in the summer in Yorkshire.
Garcia did box on UK primetime against Luke Campbell and his social media popularity means he is known in the UK making this a plausible idea. However, Garcia’s large drawing power at the gate may make it unlikely for him to come to the UK. The IBO Title might still be of value to him and Hughes could face Garcia in the states in Los Angeles instead if GBP were interested in the fight.
Hughes put together three impressive victories on MTK shows (IFL TV/ESPN+) in a row that includes Jono Carroll, Viktor Kotochigov and then Paul Hyland Jnr for the British lightweight title before moving on to the Matchroom/DAZN platform. Since then, he upset reigning IBO champion Jovanni Straffon and made a successful defence against Ryan Walsh and now he is looking for a big fight.
Ryan Garcia vs Javier Fortuna
Javier Fortuna (37-3-1) was supposed to face Garcia in July of last year before Garcia pulled out, instead, Fortuna went on to face Joseph Diaz Jr and lost a unanimous decision. Since then, Fortuna has picked up a comeback KO in his native Dominican Republic and would be available for a summer clash.
Both Ryan Garcia and Joseph Diaz Jr are with Golden Boy Promotions and it is likely GBP will be looking to match them together at the end of the year. Diaz Jr returns in July and to build that fight it would be good for Garcia to face Diaz’s best win at 135 and try and one better that to set up a monster Los Angeles clash at the end of the year.
Japan’s Masayoshi Nakatani
Masayoshi Nakatani (19-2) shot to notoriety after extending Teofimo Lopez 12 rounds before he challenged for his world title in 2019. Although he lost widely on the cards, most saw him put up a very competitive fight. As a result, he was matched with Felix Verdejo in the bubble behind closed doors, where he came from behind on the cards to knock Verdejo out.
Top Rank gave him another opportunity against Elite Lightweight Vasyl Lomachenko where he was easily outclassed but put up a brave effort through 9 rounds. He is a tall, hard-hitting lightweight who would be a good opponent to extend Garcia competitive rounds, and there is no doubt he would come to fight, unlike Tagoe. He has had his last three outings with Top Rank.