There isn’t much that Robert Garcia has not accomplished both as a world-class fighter and a renowned trainer.
Among the few things he’s yet to achieve is to guide a pro heavyweight to a major title. That opportunity is now well within reach, with Garcia now taking the lead in the corner of former two-time unified heavyweight champ Anthony Joshua ahead of the Brit’s upcoming August 21 rematch with WBA/IBF/WBO/IBO titlist Oleksandr Usyk in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.
“I want my first heavyweight champion of the world,” Garcia noted. “I’ve had 14 world champions. He will be my 15th but he will be my first heavyweight world champion. That’s big. It’s big for me, too.”
Garcia’s roots in the sport run deep, winning the IBF junior lightweight title at the peak of his pro career before establishing his name as one of boxing’s most sought-after trainers. Among those to claim a major title under his guidance title include younger brother and former four-division champ Mikey Garcia, former WBC/WBO junior welterweight titlist Jose Ramirez and red-hot in WBC junior bantamweight champ Jesse ‘Bam’ Rodriguez.
All of the aforementioned regularly train out of Garcia’s RGBA (Robert Garcia Boxing Academy) facility in Riverdale, California. However, Garcia will head back overseas to resume training with Joshua (24-2, 22KOs), having briefly left camp to be in San Antonio for Rodriguez’s recent 8th round knockout of Sor Rungvisai.
Garcia’s presence in Bam’s corner was a condition in accepting his current role with Joshua, the 2012 Olympic Gold medalist and one of the sport’s biggest global draws who is based out of Watford, England.
Joshua’s first title reign lasted more than three years before suffering a seventh-round knockout against Andy Ruiz in their historic June 2019 battle at Madison Square Garden in New York City. He avenged the loss with a lopsided twelve-round decision over Ruiz in their December 2019 rematch in Diriyah, Saudi Arabia. Just one title defense followed before getting outclassed by Ukraine’s Usyk (19-0, 13KOs) last September in North London.
Following the loss to Usyk, Joshua began a hunt to replace longtime head trainer Rob McCracken. The journey eventually led to Garcia landing the coveted role and now tasked with transforming Joshua into just the second-ever Brit and fifth overall fighter in history to enjoy three or more heavyweight title reigns.
“I’ve been coming back and forth since December. I’ve been coming back and forth to England to work with Anthony. I see a different Anthony now,” insists Garcia. “The way he thinks, the way he talks and practices in the gym. He fought the wrong fight (that night).
“That’s the past, that happened already. Usyk was the better man, congratulations to him. Come August 20, we’re going to do what it takes to win those titles back.”
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox