Elijah García's Emergence Wasn't Happenstance

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The 20-year-old, rising undefeated middleweight exploded in 2023 but now faces his toughest test to date in Kyrone Davis Saturday night in the headlining bout on the inaugural PBC on Prime show.

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Garcia vs Resendiz HIGHLIGHTS: September 30, 2023 | PBC on Showtime PPV

Elijah Garcia is an anomaly among 20-year-old professional boxers because he ambitiously built himself into a legitimate middleweight contender by beating three formidable opponents during a busy, successful six-month stretch in 2023.

The strong southpaw took tough fights against Amilcar Vidal, Kevin Salgado and Armando Resendiz without hesitation last year because Garcia (16-0, 13 KOs) and his team have long had a championship plan for him to win a 160-pound world title by the time he is 21. If he overcomes Kyrone Davis (18-3-1, 6 KOs) on Saturday night at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Garcia, who is ranked number two by the WBA, could face the winner of another bout on the Tim Tszyu-Sebastian Fundora undercard between WBA champ Erislandy Lara and number one-rated mandatory challenger Michael Zerafa in his following fight. 

His impressive pursuit of a title shot notwithstanding, Garcia, who will turn 21 on April 26, is even more different than most of his clout-chasing contemporaries outside the ring.

Most high-profile fighters in his age range are obsessed with social media, where they boast about their wealth, trade insults and oftentimes mention matches that rarely materialize. Other than posting an occasional photo through his Instagram account, the fully focused, devoutly religious Garcia spends his regimented days training, helping his wife, Maya, raise their 4-year-old son, Elijah Jr., and their 1-year-old daughter, Mayita, and tending to chickens, cows and sheep on their two-acre ranch in Wittmann, Arizona.

Garcia purchased his expansive property two years ago after spending time on a friend’s farm in Wittmann, a tiny town about 45 minutes north of downtown Phoenix. The composed, modest contender considers the tranquility that their environment provides vital to him becoming successful so soon in a brutal business both his grandfather, George Garcia Sr., and his dad, George Garcia Jr., endured during their respective careers.

“You look at my last year, and it was pretty damn good,” Garcia said. “I got no friends. I got a couple cousins I talk to here and there. But for the most part, I’m here with my family and I’m training at the gym. I don’t have a lotta fake people around me, asking if I wanna go out or stuff like that.

“I’ve got these kids I’ve gotta take care of, I’ve got my wife that I’ve gotta make happy and a lot of it has to do with I’m a Christian. I’m in church. The past couple weeks we’ve been doing Bible study. It just all plays a factor. I’d say it starts with my religion. That’s what’s really changed my life.”

The pressure and responsibility Garcia felt from fatherhood at an age when teens typically are consumed with choosing colleges and prom planning also helped him keep focused on pursuing championships.  

“I feel like even as a kid I matured a lot faster,” Garcia said. “I was a dad when I was 16, so that was a lot of responsibility. Mentally, you’ve gotta be a man and that’s that. I’ve been off of social media now for probably the last [five] weeks. I feel I’m more of a down-to-earth person. I’m chilling with my kids, I’m chilling with my wife, I’m chilling with my family. I feel like all that social media stuff, it’s all mental. I feel like mentally I’m strong. I know I don’t need social media. I know I don’t need all that. As long as I know that I’m doing great in boxing, I’m taking care of my family and giving what the family needs, I’m set.”

I feel like mentally I’m strong. I know I don’t need social media. Undefeated Middleweight Contender - Elijah García

Garcia’s father, who now trains Elijah along with his grandfather, didn’t want him to box because of the frustrations he experienced during a three-year career as a heavyweight, in which he went 13-1-1 (4 KOs) from 2004-2007. It was the thankful fighter’s grandfather who nurtured him as an amateur from the time he was 12 until Elijah Garcia made his pro debut in Mexico as a 16-year-old in February 2020 because he was too young to receive a boxing license in the United States.

“My dad didn’t want me to fight at all,” Elijah Garcia, the oldest of three brothers, said. “He hated boxing. He knew what boxing does to you mentally and physically, and he didn’t want nobody – none of my brothers, me – to box. He didn’t wanna walk into another boxing ring. And here we are.”

Garcia’s grandfather posted a record of 20-12-1, including 13 knockouts, during a 10-year professional career in which the bantamweight and junior featherweight often took tough fights on short notice. 

“My grandpa fought some bad dudes, but they used him as an opponent,” said Garcia, who is represented by TGB Promotions. “That’s why mentally we’re so tough. To be a world champion and be really good at this sport, you’ve gotta be kind of off mentally. That’s what we’ve got. When you’re tired, you’ve gotta be able to keep going as hard as you can. Mentally, you’ve just gotta be strong and prepared. That’s what he was. He would get a call on like three or four days’ notice, and he wouldn’t care. 

“He’s still like that till this day. He’ll fight anybody. He don’t give a [crap]. That’s another reason why I’ve done so great. You’ve gotta know the business. A lotta promoters like to build their fighters up a certain way, and it might be too easy. Then as soon as they step it up a little bit, they lose. They knew that. That’s why since I’ve fought here in the United States a lotta of my fights were kinda tough, especially the last three.”

In March 2023, Garcia knocked out Vidal (18-1, 14 KOs), a previously unbeaten Uruguayan contender, in the fourth round at Toyota Arena in Ontario, California. After performing so impressively in his first fight on a big stage, Garcia returned to the ring just seven weeks later and unanimously out-pointed Salgado (16-2-1, 11 KOs) in a 10-round pay-per-view opener on the Gervonta Davis-Ryan Garcia undercard last April 22 at T-Mobile Arena.

Garcia became the first fighter to stop Mexico’s Resendiz (14-2, 10 KOs) in his subsequent bout, an all-action clash he won by eighth-round technical knockout in another pay-per-view opener on the Canelo Alvarez-Jermell Charlo undercard September 30 at T-Mobile Arena.

The emerging Garcia’s fight versus Davis will headline PBC on Prime Video (6 p.m. ET/3 p.m. PT). The show will shift to PBC Pay-Per-View available on Prime Video at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT, after Garcia faces Davis, of Wilmington, Delaware.

“Kyrone Davis is a really tough opponent,” Garcia said. “He’s a good boxer who’s standing in my way, but I’ve got a family to take care of. I got bills I gotta pay and you won’t see me quit. I’m here to fight. … This is just another little bump that I have to get through, but I think after this fight I deserve a title shot, 100 percent.”

For a closer look at Elijah Garcia, check out his fighter page. 

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