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Elijah Garcia is looking to explode on the Tszyu-Fundora undercard


by Joseph Santoliquito | 

Elijah Garcia cannot escape the faces. The generations of Garcia faces have become a little jowly through time, as his face eventually will be, and their eyes are focused currently on him. Elijah is a 20-year-old undefeated middleweight who carries the family fight banner. It is long and extensive on both sides, though not yet as distinguished as Elijah wants it to be.

On Saturday, Elijah, The Ring’s No. 6 middleweight contender, will be carrying four generations of Garcias into the ring with him, when he faces his toughest test to date, Kyrone “Shut It Down” Davis, in a 10-round fight on the Tim Tszyu-Sebastian Fundora undercard in the Premier Boxing Champions’ inaugural Amazon Prime show for the WBO/vacant WBC 154-pound title unification title from the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.

Elijah (16-0, 13 knockouts) is trained by his father, Jorge Garcia Jr., who was a fighter, and his grandfather, Jorge “The Hammer” Garcia Sr., who is his cutman. And was a fighter. Elijah is a 20-year-old father of two, a four-year-old son and a 1-year-old daughter. It makes him different mentally than most his age. Elijah likes to say he has been “a man” when he was 16, when Elijah Jr. was born. His success brings tangible rewards that most young fighters might not appreciate.

“These fighters don’t know what it is like being so young and having kids,” Elijah said. “They are in there fighting and they think differently than the way I do. I fight for a whole other reason. That’s why I am so determined to win. My son is crazy (laughs) and does whatever he does. He comes to the gym with me, and basketball is one of his favorite sports. I signed him this year for basketball, and he’ll be ready for basketball.”

Elijah is the oldest of three. He picked up boxing when he was 11. His father had stepped away from boxing for a time, and the whole family stepped away. Elijah had picked up wrestling, but his father kept bringing him to his grandfather’s gym. Jorge Jr. noticed something, Elijah loved hitting the bag and boxing. It was becoming more difficult to get him out of the gym. So, Jorge Jr. gave in and allowed his son to box.

What expediated that was having his son at 16. It made him turn pro for money.

“My dad and my grandfather do things differently, but I have them both in my corner,” Elijah said. “My grandfather has that dog in him, and my father had 200 amateur fights and is very skillful. My grandfather was used as an opponent, and when you mix the two together, it works well. My mom even fought. Her brother was southpaw knockout artist Ernie “El Martillo” Gonzales Jr., at one point the face of Arizona boxing. That’s where I come from.

“I’m the first in the family on both sides to make it this far. My father and grandfather both give me instructions.”

Davis (18-3-1, 6 KOs) presents an interesting test for Elijah.

“I would say this is my toughest test,” he said. “I know Kyrone is really tough and has a lot of skill, so I’m not overlooking Kyrone at all. I know what is front of me. I have been training for a long time. I am in real good shape. I have been working on my craft and I just have to wait until the fights comes, because I’m unsure what he is going to do. He is really good at boxing, But he can put pressure on you, if he wants. I’ll fight depending on how he comes out.”

Davis serves as a dangerous foe. With three losses, Davis may be fighting for his relevance. Elijah fights southpaw, though he is naturally right-handed, something the Cubans like doing with their fighters, turning their dominant hand to get closer to opponents.

“I want to show the world that I am ready to fight anyone at 160, and I have to get through Kyrone Davis to do that,” Elijah said. “I want everyone to see that I’m more than just a puncher. I know that I can go toe-to-toe with anybody. I have to make a big statement. I want to achieve my goals and Kyrone is standing in my way. He knows that this is a fight that he needs to win to continue fighting at this level. I don’t think I am going to knock him out, but I need to look sharp and solid to get a shot at the WBC championship.”

Joseph Santoliquito is hall of fame, award-winning sportswriter who has been working for Ring Magazine/RingTV.com since October 1997 and is the president of the Boxing Writers Association of America.
Follow @JSantoliquito [twitter.com]

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