Ryan Garcia On Depression: “I Didn’t Know If I Wanted To Live Or Not”

Ryan Garcia Talks About the Depression That Caused Him to Take Time Away from Boxing

Ryan Garcia speaking into a microphone
Ryan Garcia

Ryan Garcia Opens Up on his Bout with Depression

Heading into his upcoming battle against Emmanuel Tagoe (32-1, 15 KOs) on April 9, lightweight contender Ryan “King Ry” Garcia (21-0, 18 KOs) is one of those fighters who make headlines, even when not fighting. That was the case in 2021. After a stoppage win over Luke Campbell in January 2021, the 24-year-old didn’t fight for the rest of the year. He took a self-imposed sabbatical from the sport to deal with depression, mental health issues, and surgery to his right hand.

As a result, the issue of mental health became a hot topic throughout boxing social media and message boards. Garcia has been relatively silent regarding what he was going through. But during an interview on The Last Stand Podcast, King Ry talked about why he took time off and the root of his issues. Disclosing he’s dealt with depression and panic attacks since age 17, this latest episode started before the fight with Campbell. Following that win, Garcia told host Brian Custer his emotions were all over the place, and he couldn’t get a handle on them.


“I had a lot of problems […] I was confused and just didn’t feel myself. It got very dark. I didn’t know if I wanted to live or not. That’s how bad it was.

People didn’t understand that it was severe because no matter what, I can’t stop my competitive spirit. That’s who I am. Deep down in my core, I’m competitive […] I would watch these fights, and I would start crying because I wanted to be there so bad. That’s all I wanted to do […] I had to fight to just get myself to do anything. I would say these things, but I knew I wasn’t okay. I don’t think that people understand I still had that fire in me.”

That dark place included taking up bad habits like drinking heavily. The native of Los Angeles admitted himself to a wellness center, where he confronted and focused on himself. He said that time away, his faith, and refusal to quit on himself helped pull him through the fire.


There was cynicism from some fans and some fighters. Garcia is aware of the skepticism but ultimately believes that his well-being comes first and foremost. Now back and ready to continue his career, he is emphatic about becoming a star and making his imprint on the sport.

“My ultimate goal at this sport is to be a champion in every I fight in. But it’s also to change and inspire lives in the things I do inside and outside the ring and to do something amazing every time I step into the ring. I want to leave an impression every time I step in that ring. Whether it be a knockout, whether it be a war.

Something special when I step in that ring, I want to happen. I intentionally go in there to do something amazing. So, that’s what I want to do for the people.”

Reading Time: 3 minutes

By: Michael Wilson Jr.

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About Mike W.2015 Articles
Mike is the host of boxing podcast "Pound 4 Pound Boxing Report" and is a Senior Writer for 3kingsboxing.com.