By: Hans Themistode
It was a picture-perfect start to Ryan Garcia’s 2021 fighting campaign.
The extremely confident 23-year-old showed resolve and heart by picking himself up off the deck against Luke Campbell to register a seventh-round knockout win. While Garcia was ultimately hoping that his victory would lead to a world title opportunity, he was forced to sit the remainder of the year on the sidelines thanks to a combination of mental health recovery and left wrist surgery.
Now, following roughly one year on the mend, Garcia made his return to the ring.
As the opening bell rang, Emmanuel Tagoe cautiously walked to the center of the ring. Meeting him there, of course, was a pumped-up Garcia. The former WBC interim lightweight titlist plodded slowly towards his man with his hands held high. Once in range, Garcia unloaded on several right hooks that found their mark.
Unwilling to stand there and exchange, Tagoe spent much of the period backpedaling. In the following round, Tagoe attempted to stand his ground, however, he paid dearly for his act of bravery. Garcia plowed forward and uncorked a stinging right hand that sent his man crashing down to the canvas.
Down early on the judge’s scorecards, Tagoe seemed determined to will himself back into it. The 33-year-old from Ghana upped his aggression in the fourth round but only to be met with a nonstop barrage of shots to both the head and body. Though he appeared more willing to stand and bang, Garcia picked Tagoe apart for much of the first half of their contest.
As the bell rang to signify the start of the second half, Tagoe appeared content with boxing, moving, and staying on the outside. Still, even with Tagoe’s defensive game plan, Garcia continued to push forward. In the eighth, a visibly tired Tagoe languished against the ropes. In doing so, the normally bombastic Garcia teed off during the period.
With no reprieve in sight, Tagoe spent the duration of their bout looking upward toward the clock. In the meanwhile, he continued to prance perpetually around the ring. At one point, an exasperated Garcia threw his hands in the air and urged his man to stand and fight, something Tagoe was unwilling to do.
While Garcia was unable to score the fight-ending blow, he did find himself on the winning end, scoring a wide unanimous decision win on the night.
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