For readers who follow boxing very closely you may be aware of an up and coming American super-featherweight named Ryan Garcia. Ryan, at just 19 years old, has had a tremendous year.
Signed to Golden Boy Promotions and blasting all challengers away in eye-catching fashion, he has been tabbed as one to watch by pundit and fans.
For this interview I was afforded the chance to get a few words of wisdom from Ryan's father and trainer, Henry. Without knowing too much about him or his setup for training fighters it was an interesting and worthwhile interview to conduct. It turns out that he has three, young, exciting boxers on his hands.
Not long after the interview wrapped up it was announced that Ryan would be having his sixth contest of 2017 on December 16 on the under-card of Billy Joe Saunders v. David Lemieux in Montreal, Canada. Ryan will be attempting to move to 13-0 in his Canadian outing next month but for now have a read as we hear from Henry on his background, other fighters he trains and his outlook on staying focused in the sport.
CM: Hi Henry, can you start by telling us a bit about where you are from/based and also your gym and stable of fighters?
HG: I'm from the high desert – Victorville, California. No gym, just my garage. As well as Ryan I train my younger son Sean, 17 years old and Lawrence “The Dawg” King who is my middleweight. They are all pro.
CM: So both your sons box and are trained by you. I'm interested in how this came about – were you a fighter yourself? Has boxing been a part of your family heritage?
HG: Yes, I train my two sons and my middleweight, Lawrence King, is Ryan's best friend. My brother was my mentor. I followed him as a boxer myself but I stopped when I learned it took more than guts and courage. My brother kept on boxing until he got married.
CM: Clearly you see the sport as a positive for young people. At what kind of age would you recommend to start boxing training?
HG: I say start them young. 7 to 8 years old is ideal. If they start at 7 the coach will know whether or not to get them their licence when they turn 8. It also lets the kids try the sport and decide if they want to continue. In terms of being too old, 15 would be borderline for me, even though there are exceptions.
CM: Your son Ryan has burst onto the professional scene recently and looks a legitimate talent. Do you need to regularly talk to him about staying grounded or is he aware of this himself? Also, as his trainer, how much input do you have when it comes to how often Ryan fights and opponents etc?
HG: Always God and being humble is key. Staying grounded will keep him focused, he knows this already. All my input comes during training camp.
CM: Kind of along the same lines – Ryan is keeping busy as he moves through the early stages of his pro career. What is it like performing at large venues such as The Forum or T-Mobile Arena, then going back to a smaller setting like Belasco Theater?
HG: Motivation drives him, also better opposition does the same. His passion comes from within and gaining experience helps. Big venues and better opponents will bring the best out of him.
CM: Can you tell the readers about your fight night routine? Break it down for us from when you arrive at the venue until your fighter gets called to box.
HG: Simple – relax and stay focused on our fight plan. Listen to worship music as we are getting ready for our showdown and execute when it is time.
CM: Finally, anything you can tell us on the plans for your boxers moving forward?
HG: Moving forward for us means preparing for bigger and better fights. The good news is we have time on our side. Ryan just turned 19, my other son is 17 and my middleweight is 20. Ryan is 12-0, 11KOs – Sean is 1-0, 1KO – Lawrence is 3-0, 2 KOs. We will be ready for 2018.
***Special word of thanks to friend of NY FIGHTS Abraham Gonzalez for helping to setup this interview***