RYAN GARCIA marked his return to the boxing ring with a near shutout on Emmanuel Tagoe.
The American lightweight sensation last fought in January 2021, beating Britain’s Luke Campbell in seven rounds.
But a struggle with his mental health and injuries saw him sidelined for 15 months before finally making his comeback.
And he did so against the stubborn Ghanian Tagoe, who seemed to survive the fight over the 12-round distance.
But Garcia, who scored a knockdown in round two, emerged from the cards unanimously as the winner.
He said: “I have nothing but respect for Tagoe, he fought a tough fight.
“I think if I had started putting more pressure on him early in the fight I would have gotten him out of there.
“But what should I say? I had to track him down, it was a new experience cutting the ring with a guy struggling to survive.”
23-year-old Garcia got off to a sharp start after a right hand knocked 33-year-old Tagoe to the ground.
But he failed to follow it up, forcing a halt as a sign that something was to come later.
Garcia controlled the fight throughout the remaining rounds, throwing heavy left hooks and right hands.
But Tagoe was keen to grab, hold and move as he dodged a firefight.
It saw Garcia repeatedly assist Tagoe but failed to land a decisive blow despite some threats.
As the fight went into the cards, the lightweight contender won wide to secure his first win with new trainer Joe Goosen.
The veteran Goosen has been brought in as a replacement for Canelo Alvarez’s esteemed coach Eddy Reynoso.
Garcia said: “It felt great man, I felt super comfortable with him in the ring.
“I love Joe, we have a great relationship and I have nothing but love for him. He’s just the best guy.”
https://www.the-sun.com/sport/boxing/5092676/ryan-garcia-comeback-fight-emmanuel-tagoe/ Ryan Garcia wins comeback fight on points over Emmanuel Tagoe after being out of the ring for 15 months