LOS ANGELES – Golden Boy Promotions head Oscar De La Hoya is looking for a solid comeback performance from star pupil Ryan Garcia on April 9 against Emmanuel Tagoe in order to potentially land the lightweight contender a world title shot against George Kambosos Jr. 

Kambosos has been in negotiations in recent weeks around a potential fight with the likes of Devin Haney and Vasiliy Lomachenko. The Greek-Australian intends to fight sometime this summer, but an opposing dance partner has not yet been signed to a contract.  

“Kambosos will be fighting soon in Australia. If everything goes well with Ryan, I am willing to sit down with [Kambosos promoter] Lou Dibella and maybe even possibly fly to Australia to watch Kambosos fight and support him and hopefully we can strike a deal,” said De La Hoya. “From the looks of it with Lomachenko, who knows what's going to happen [after he joined a territorial defense on Feb. 27 in Ukraine to fight Russia’s invasion]. Is he going to be prepared? On time? Is he going to be able to train and have a proper training camp? It’s just, you just never know.”

In the middle of De La Hoya’s remark, Garcia walked into a conference room at Golden Boy headquarters to also speak with reporters.

When asked if Garcia (21-0, 18 KOs) would travel to the land down under for the Kambosos (20-0, 10 KOs) encounter, the 23-year-old obliged.

“Wherever I have to go obviously to get that fight, that would be good. We’ll see what he does,” said Garcia. “I would love to [fight Kambosos].”

De La Hoya remained adamant to get the Kambosos fight done. 

“Let's strike while the iron is hot with Ryan Garcia,” said De La Hoya.

On a far more serious and somber topic of discussion, De La Hoya heaped well-deserved praise to Ukrainian boxers like Lomachenko, Oleksandr Usyk, Vitali and Wladimir Klitschko, and Serhii Bohachuk, all of whom are currently back on their home soil trying to fend off Russian invaders. 

“They are very valiant. They are courageous young men who are going to fight for their country,” said De La Hoya. “They are fighters, and they are proving it, literally, inside and outside the ring. Be careful, men. Ukraine is going through some really really difficult and tough times. It's sad that this has to happen. But it shows you their character. It shows you their fighter's mentality and heart. They are willing to risk their lives for their country, family and friends, for strangers that they don't even know. They are the representation of what a fighter is, and what boxing is. We're a sport where we fight for each other no matter what. It's commendable. It's so much respect. What they are doing is incredible.” 

Manouk Akopyan is a sports journalist, writer and broadcast reporter. He’s also a member of the Boxing Writers Association of America and MMA Journalists Association. He can be reached on Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and YouTube at @ManoukAkopyan, via email at manouk[dot]akopyan[at]gmail.com or on www.ManoukAkopyan.com.