By Jack Tiernan: Ryan Garcia will be making his long-awaited comeback against Lou DiBella-promoted #7 WBC, #13 IBF lightweight contender Emmanuel Tagoe on April 9th in the headliner on DAZN.
While this may seem like a strange choice of opponent for the 23-year-old Golden Boy-promoted Ryan Garcia (21-0, 18 KOs), it makes sense if you view it as the warm-up fight to prepare him to challenge undisputed lightweight champion George Kambosos Jr for a fight in the summer.
Ryan Garcia being positioned for a title shot
Like Tagoe (32-1, 15 KOs), Kambosos (20-0, 10 KOs) is also promoted by Lou DiBella. Connect the dots. With Tagoe and Kambosos both promoted by the mastermind promoter DiBella, it can’t be just a coincidence.
There was talk recently that Golden Boy was working on a deal with DiBella to have Ryan and Kambosos take interim fights against tune-up level opposition before meeting in the summer.
In the case of Kambosos, he reportedly won’t be fighting until June, meaning that he won’t need to take a tune-up fight before facing Ryan Garcia in the summer.
As long as Ryan wins his right against the 33-year-old Tagoe, a match between him and Kambosos Jr. could take place in June in Australia in a large stadium.
— Oscar De La Hoya (@OscarDeLaHoya) February 4, 2022
If you’re Kambosos, it makes perfect sense for him to fight Ryan Garcia next in his first defense of his IBF, WBA, WBC Franchise & WBO 135-lb titles.
You can argue that Kambosos has a far better chance of beating Ryan than he does the other two options for his first defense, Devin Haney and Vasily Lomachenko.
Those would be VERY tough fights for the Australian Kambosos, provided that they’re not injured & weight drained like Teofimo Lopez was when he lost his four titles against the supremely confident fighter.
It makes perfect sense for DiBella to keep Kambosos away from Haney and Lomachenko for as long as possible.
Kambosos deserves a couple of money fights against Ryan Garcia and perhaps one of the popular super featherweights in the division below like Oscar Valdez.
Garcia coming off a disappointing year
Ryan will be fighting for the first time since his victory over 2012 Olympic gold medalist Luke Campbell last year in January.
That was a good victory, but it was obvious that the 34-year-old shopworn Campbell was at the end of the line by that point in his career.
Ryan was supposed to fight Javier Fortuna and Joseph ‘Jojo’ Diaz Jr. in 2021, but he pulled out of both fights due to mental issues and an injury problem.
Now a year later, Ryan is being matched against a respectable contender in Tagoe, a fighter that comes from Ghana, who hasn’t fought any notable opposition during his long 18-year professional career.
In Tagoe’s last fight, he defeated Mason Menard (36-6, 25 KOs) by a 10 round majority decision in November 2020.
Menard was knocked out in the first round by Teofimo Lopez in December 2018. Tagoe being forced to go the full 10 round distance with Menard suggests that he’s not much of a puncher.
Tagoe’s other notable opponents:
- Moses Paulus
- Vyacheslav Gusev
- Mzonke Fana
- Fernando David Saucedo
“I’m not going to give up and I’m going to keep being an inspiration for people that are struggling,” said Ryan Garcia to ESPN.
“I’m right back on track and I’m not going to let anything that all these people are saying outside of the ring, trying to come at my character and who I am as a fighter, I’m not going to let any of that get to me.”