Ryan Garcia to fight Emmanuel Tagoe at 139-pound catchweight

Ryan Garcia is moving up in weight.

The rising star will come off the longest layoff of his career —15 months when he squares off against Emmanuel Tagoe on April 9 at the Alamodome in San Antonio on DAZN. Their originally slated lightweight bout, however, will take place at an agreed-upon catchweight of 139 pounds.

Sports Illustrated’s Chris Mannix was first to report the revelation.

Garcia last fought in January 2021 when he knocked out 2012 Olympic gold medalist and former two-time lightweight title challenger Luke Campbell at American Airlines Center in Dallas.

Garcia (21-0, 18 KOs) was scheduled to fight Javier Fortuna in July 2021, but withdrew to address his mental health. After he recovered, a bout against former junior lightweight titlist Joseph ‘JoJo’ Diaz Jr. was subsequently tabbed for November, but that was also nixed after Garcia suffered a serious wrist injury while training that required surgery.

Garcia will be without the services of trainer Eddy Reynoso for the first time since September 2018 after he announced their split in February. The 23-year-old re-linked with trainer Joe Goossen, who trained Garcia during his amateur days, which included 15 national titles.

Tagoe (32-1, 15 KOs), who has fought 31 of his bouts in his native Ghana, will be making his second consecutive trip to the United States and his third overall. But like Garcia, it has been quite some time since he has stepped foot into the ring. The 33-year-old last boxed on November 2020, when he came out the winning end of a 10-round majority decision over Mason Menard.

Garcia enters the ring with much to prove. Last month, he opened up about his split with Reynoso, claiming the 2019 Boxing Writers Association of America Trainer of the Year, “didn’t really have the time to train me.” But longtime student and boxing’s biggest star, Canelo Alvarez (57-1-2, 39 KOs), who has accomplished quite a lot in the sport, defended Reynoso.

“I don’t know what happened. I don’t know what he’s thinking. He says he wants more time, right? Eddy has all the time for him,” Alvarez told Elie Seckbach of ESNews. “Eddy was here Christmas (2020), New Year (2021), everything for him when he fought with Luke Campbell (on Jan. 2, 2021). Then, what happened – something with him, I’m not sure.

“Eddy has time for all the fighters; you ask everybody. If you have the time to put in the gym and train really good with discipline, Eddy is always going to be there,” said Alvarez. “I’ve been with Eddy for a lot of years. I saw when a lot of good fighters come to the gym, really good fighters and (Reynoso) is here all the time. If you come … and train for only 20 minutes, then you don’t come [for] four days, three days, OK. Then the next day, you say, ‘I come in at 12’ and then come at two? So, you need to be disciplined. You can ask everybody, Oscar Valdez, Frank Sanchez. I don’t know what happened with Andy Ruiz; it’s the same. He came one day, and then he don’t come.”

This wasn’t the first time Garcia was the target of direct criticism from Alvarez. Last October, he stated that Garcia was “wasting a lot of time and wasting his talent” by not being 100 percent dedicated to the sport.

But on April 9, Garcia will have a shot to quiet the naysayers and prove that he hasn’t lost touch with the sweet science.

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