IT looked like the world was Ryan Garcia’s oyster following a January 2021 stoppage victory over Luke Campbell. Before that, Garcia had been written off as a social media darling first and legitimate contender second. But Garcia impressed, a searing blast to the body taking Campbell out in seven rounds and later convincing him to retire.

But Garcia, 21-0 (18), would disappear from the lightweight scene, too. Suffering from anxiety and depression, the consequence of living his life almost exclusively in the limelight, Garcia announced he was going to take a break.

He returns on Saturday night (April 9) after parting ways with trainer Eddy Reynoso and replacing him with Joe Goossen. The opponent for the 23-year-old is Ghana’s Emmanuel Tagoe, a solid fringe contender. But the African himself is coming off a layoff; his last action was a 10-round points win over Mason Menard in November 2020.

Tagoe, 33, has been a professional since he lost in five rounds to Luke Addy in 2004. The 32-1 (15) has improved steadily since, beating veterans like Mzonke Fana (2016) and Moses Pauleus (2018) along the way. But we’ve seen nothing that suggests he can spring the upset. The pick is for Garcia to grind out a stoppage win in the second half.

DAZN televise. Coverage begins at 2am (GMT) on Sunday morning.

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