Meet the 22-year-old viral sensation with rapid hands who trains alongside Canelo

Ryan Garcia is already one of the most famous faces in boxing today.

The 20-0 (17 KOs) American starlet is only just transitioning from the ‘prospect’ to ‘contender’ stage of his career and is yet to even contest a world title eliminator.

Meet the 22-year-old viral sensation with rapid hands who trains alongside Canelo

Garcia has won his first 20 fights

However, his social media followings tell a different story.

On Instagram alone Garcia boasts a ludicrous 6.9million fans, dwarfing the likes of Canelo Alvarez, Tyson Fury, Gennady Golovkin and almost all other elite level boxers.

This is because the pretty boy from Victorville, California has been able to tap into a market that many of the best promoters in the sport are unable to reach – the youth.

As he’s only 22 himself, Garcia’s social media nous is second to none. His ability to produce viral content, jump on trends and collaborate with other hugely popular influencers has seen him develop a fan base that far outsizes his achievements in the ring to date.

View this post on Instagram

This is my passion 🔥 I try to push the limits of myself everyday always trying to get to the next level. I’m preparing for WAR 😐😐 @gymshark Tell everyone I’m fighting in October 👑

A post shared by Ryan Garcia (@kingryang) on Aug 4, 2020 at 12:48pm PDT

This arguably premature recognition has brought about its own problems though.

Usually a developing young prospect would be permitted one or two unspectacular performances as they continue to learn the ropes.

For Garcia, two underwhelming displays in 2018 saw him come in for serious criticism.

He was tested for ten rounds by both Jayson Velez and Carlos Morales, with the latter bout against Morales being too close for comfort as the unfancied opponent had late success.

Meet the 22-year-old viral sensation with rapid hands who trains alongside Canelo

Canelo and Garcia train together

Ryan Garcia shows off his hand speed

Many branded Garcia an ‘Instagram boxer’ and questioned his legitimacy as a genuine fighter after seeing him struggle.

Boxing can be a lonely sport when you’re in the ring, a long way away from likes, comments and follower counts.

Rather than fold under the pressure, though, he learned from his difficult displays and continued to progress working alongside Canelo with trainer Eddy Reynoso.

In his two most recent performances, Garcia came up against two men who were supposed to be his toughest tests to date.

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Announcing my next fight shortly on my YouTube channel! 🥊 21-0 This is going to be the biggest fight of my career! 🔥🔥 Comment is you are excited 😁

A post shared by Ryan Garcia (@kingryang) on Jul 23, 2020 at 1:31pm PDT

First was Romero Duno last November – a first-round knockout. Then came Francisco Fonseca in February – another first-round knockout.

All of a sudden, even his harshest critics were being forced to sit up and take notice.

But away from the ring there have been other conflicts.

Garcia publicly feuded with promoter Oscar De La Hoya last September before the two sides resolved their differences and inked a new lucrative deal.

Meet the 22-year-old viral sensation with rapid hands who trains alongside Canelo

Promoter and fighter have not always seen eye to eye

All seemed to be well until recently when the spat exploded once again.

Garcia was unhappy with the money offered for a fight behind closed doors and called for tougher opponents.

De La Hoya argued that, from a financial standpoint, the coronavirus pandemic had wiped out all ticket revenue – a crowd of more than 10,000 had previously paid to attend the Fonseca fight.

As a result, Garcia did not fight in July.

Meet the 22-year-old viral sensation with rapid hands who trains alongside Canelo

Campbell put up a valiant effort, but was ultimately outclassed by Loma

Then boxing’s sanctioning bodies entered the fray. The WBC offered Garcia a final eliminator against Britain’s Luke Campbell. The WBO offered one against Ghana’s Emmanuel Tagoe.

Living up to his word, the 22-year-old opted to pursue the tougher option against Campbell, with talks ongoing to try and make the fight and Eddie Hearn has even teased the prospect of a showdown at the O2.

Hull’s Olympic gold medallist has previously proved his talent on the big stage, even though he’s twice come up short in his world title attempts against Jorge Linares and Vasyl Lomachenko.

If Garcia can outclass Campbell, he’ll silence any critics of his social media stardom and be ready to conquer the world.

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