Ryan Garcia believes he found his first fight back in 2022.
It remains to be seen whether the unbeaten lightweight contender jumps to the front of the line, but he was among the more interested observers for Saturday’s divisional championship bout on DAZN from Madison Square Garden’s Hulu Theater in New York City. In a massive upset, George Kambosos Jr. prevailed by split decision victory to dethrone previously undefeated lineal/WBA/IBF/WBO lightweight king Teofimo Lopez Jr. No sooner than the official verdict was announced, Garcia offered his services as the next challenger.
“My return fight, I’ll fight Kambosos,” Garcia tweeted the moment the new champion’s arm was raised in victory. “Massive respect to Kambosos for that performance. [H]onestly, you deserve it and all love… go celebrate.”
Ironically, the oft-postponed Lopez-Kambosos clash landed on a date that Garcia (21-0, 18KOs) was to have headlined. The 23-year-old from Victorville, California was scheduled to face Joseph ‘Jo Jo ‘ Diaz (31-1-1, 15KO) in a WBC interim lightweight title fight in the greater Los Angeles area, only to suffer a hand injury requiring immediate surgery. It put Garcia on the shelf and left him with just one fight on the year—an off-the-canvas, seventh-round knockout of England’s Luke Campbell this past January in Dallas, Texas.
Garcia is expected to return to the ring in the first quarter of 2022. The suggestion of a shot at Sydney’s Kambosos (20-0, 10KOs) at least has the blessing of those guiding his career.
“Congratulations, George Kambosos,” Oscar De La Hoya, founder and chairman of Golden Boy Promotions tweeted. “Let’s talk Ryan Garcia.”
Kambosos is not bound to any platform though his last two fights have aired on DAZN shows promoted by Matchroom Boxing. Garcia has fought on DAZN since Golden Boy’s exclusive deal began with the sports streaming service in 2018 and which is expected to renew upon the end of the current agreement later this year.
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox