Sean Garcia will compete in his final amateur boxing bout and tournament tonight.
The six-time amateur national champion will compete in the Roy Jones Jr. National Invitational held in Las Vegas.
Garcia, a senior at Silverado, is the younger brother of professional and undefeated fighter Ryan Garcia, who is signed with Golden Boy Promotions.
Saturday’s action will be Sean’s finale as an amateur because the 16-year-old pugilist has one thing on his mind — turning professional once he turns 17 in October.
That wasn’t always the plan for Sean. He used to dream of representing the United States in the 2020 Olympics.
But new sanctioning rules in California now allow fighters to turn professional as early as 17. His older brother didn’t have that option last year and had to travel to Mexico in order to fight professional bouts at the age of 17.
The decision worked out for Ryan Garcia, who won four professional fights in a two-month span in Mexico before debuting in the States at 18.
“It doesn’t make sense for me to pursue the Olympics anymore because of all the changes,” Sean said. “The Olympic fights don’t allow fighters to wear protective headgear anymore. So it’s not worth it for me, in my opinion. If I’m going to be getting hit without head gear, I’m at least going to start getting paid for that. So that’s why I’m looking towards turning pro. My boxing style is better fit for the pros so I’m ready.”
The southpaw is coming off a victory at the World Boxing Council’s Green Belt tournament last weekend in Whittier.
He competed in his first bout of the tournament against Amador Vargas, the son of former fighter Fernando Vargas. Sean, according to his father Henry Garcia, appeared uninterested in the fight and as a result lost the decision.
“Sean just didn’t look motivated in the ring. Kind of like it was just too easy for him,” Henry Garcia said.
Sean was invited back to the tournament on the final day for a rematch with Vargas.
Sean was eager to get back in the ring and this time he cruised to a unanimous decision victory.
Henry Garcia said he was disappointed his son wasn’t focused on the first day of the tournament.
But it was a lesson learned.
“I told him you can’t be doing that. He knew that but I just kind of had to remind him how to be humble and give it your all once in the ring no matter what,” Henry Garcia said.
Sean won’t be the lone Victorville fighter competing in the tournament.
Danny Luna Jr., who trains alongside the Garcias in their home garage converted into a boxing gym, will also fight.
Both Danny and Sean have spent the past week in Las Vegas training at Jones’ gym, where Ryan Garcia is also preparing for his July 15th fight in Inglewood.
While the Garcia household, tucked in Victorville’s Eagle Ranch community, has worked as the training compound for the brothers in the past, Henry Garcia said it’s time to start looking for an actual gym to call home.
I spent a morning watching Sean and Danny training with Ryan Garcia earlier this month. And the bond these three have is incredible to watch.
The brothers have grown keen to training with Danny. Ryan Garcia called Danny his “Mini-Me” because of the similarities in their fighting styles.
I’ve yet to see Danny compete in a fight but watching him train has been enough for me to say he has a bright future ahead of him if he continues to box.
I’ll catch up with both fighters next week to talk about their bouts.
PEREZ WINS SECOND PRO FIGHT: Local fighter Jerry Perez fought in his second professional fight on Thursday. The Oak Hills grad made quick work, knocking his opponent out less than a minute into the first round in Mexico.
I watched a video Perez posted of the fight on his Instagram account Friday morning.
Perez (2-0, 2 KOs) landed a wicked left hook to the body to end the fight. His opponent took a knee after the punch landed and the referee waved off the fight.
Perez made his pro debut in January competing on the undercard of the Leo Santa Cruz and Carl Frampton rematch in Las Vegas.