Victorville Boxer Makes His Headline Debut

"All this hard work, this is what it's for, right here."

He's 19 years old and already a pro.

Ryan Garcia put on his first set of boxing gloves when he was 7. He went pro at 17, first boxing in Mexico until his 18th birthday. His home garage is his home gym and his dreams of boxing championships appears close to reality.

"All this hard work, this is what it's for, right here," Garcia says, holding the green Junior Championship title belt he won in July – his 11th professional win and 10th knock out. "My self-belief, really is what kept me going, I always believed I could be a great champion, a world champion."

And it doesn't stop there. On Nov. 2 he'll take on his next opponent as the co-main event on an ESPN broadcast special from Tucson, Arizona.

"Dedication, sacrifice" is what Garcia says got him to this point and keeps pushing him forward. "You have to believe in yourself," he says. "No matter what happens, keep believing, no matter what, keep running it through."

It's those same words he used last August while speaking to a group of under-privileged kids in the Inland Empire. As he stood at a podium talking about his own hopes and dreams, a certain someone stepped in behind him – and as they say – the crowd went wild.

"It was De La Hoya," Garcia remembers with a smile that seemed to stretch from coast-to-coast. "Man that was the greatest moment of my life!" Oscar de la Hoya signed Garcia to a contract with Golden Boy Promotions.

Over the years, Garcia has become known to knock out his opponents early-on in the fight. In fact, none of the last 11 wins have gone over two rounds.

"They show me their chin," Garcia says laughing, "And just clip him, right there, they fall down, they don't get back up. I'm thinking they'll get up – maybe? But no, they stay down. And if they do get up," -- he slams his fists together -- "I'm going to hit him with another one."

But for this Victorville native, home schooled most of his life, he says championships are only part of his dreams.

"Not only be a world champion but a role model to everybody looking up to the champion," Garcia says, proving a wisdom beyond his years. "You can be a champion and you can be flashy with money and cars but you have a big platform. What are you trying to change?"

Garcia's trainer knows him like no other – for two reasons: first, he's worked with him every day since he was 7, and second – he's his own father.

Henry Garcia has a history of boxing himself, having started in Chicago as a boxer and then trainer. But he says he never pushed Ryan into the sport, only supported him when he made the decision to starting throwing jabs.

"As a father, I have no fear," he says. "And the reason why is because training him from an early age to know, I know we've covered all the angles."

Henry calls his son a prodigy.

"When you see an elite boxer," he says. "You're gonna see that person stand out. And that's him."

Humble and fast with a powerful left and right hook, "KingRy" as his moniker claims, is ready for boxing glory, but he hasn't forgotten the road to get here.

"We've been grinding together, sleeping in the vans for tournaments, we've had so much," he says of Team Garcia. "The stuff we do to get by, I'll remember that because it was real."

Garcia says his ultimate goal is to be an 8-time (or more) world champion, pound for pound. His current weight is 130 lbs on a 5-foot-10 frame. He's getting there.

Ryan "KingRy" Garcia is on Instagram @kingryang, where he says he's growing his "KingRy Army" of fans.

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