Emilio GarciaBoxing News

Meet Emilio Garcia: A Family Man From A Border Town Chasing Gold

by Luke Santangelo

Meet Emilio Garcia, boxing’s Team USA 63.5 kg male representative. Garcia was born and raised in Laredo, a small border town in Texas. Garcia grew up in boxing as his dad started training him just in his backyard. Garcia could go from his backyard to competing on the biggest stage at the Paris 2024 Olympic Games this summer.


Emilio’s father would go on to create their boxing gym right behind their house. The boxer spent countless hours with his father and older brother, Angel. The Garcia gym's name is “Baby Joey’s Boxing Club.” The name comes from a devastating tragedy as Emilio's oldest brother passed away as a young infant, resulting in Emilio never getting to meet him.


The Garcia’s would have two more boys, Emilio and Angel. Angel, roughly three years older than Emilio, is his biggest inspiration. Emilio praised Angel and stated he pushed and motivated him his whole career.

“He was always that guy that I would look up to in the gym,” Garcia stated about his older brother. “Without him, I would not be where I am at. He pushed me to go that extra mile and always pushed me to train harder.”
Emilio Garcia

Emilio is proud to be a Garcia and thinks highly of his brother and family. He is humble and is grateful to be from Laredo.  The 20-year-old is thankful for his parents and all they have done to help him get to where he is today.  Garcia explained that his mom is everything to him and helps him get to and from places as he still needs to get his driver's license due to his busy schedule and constant travel for training camps and international competitions.


“I will wake her up in the mornings, bright and early, and she will drive me to where I need to be,” Garcia explained of his mother’s support with a smile.  “She never complains and is always in my corner supporting me, which means the world to me.”


All those early mornings and long days paid off, as he would go on to join Team USA in 2022 after winning gold at the 2021 USA Boxing Elite National Championships that December.  Shortly after joining Team USA in 2022, Garcia picked up baking.


“I have always been into sweets,” Garcia stated on how he got into baking. “I was in my dorm, scrolling on Instagram, and just started seeing videos about how to bake. At the time, I was cutting weight, so I was hungry, and it motivated me. I would bookmark the posts and recipes and tell myself I was going to make it when I got back home.”


Garcia hasn’t looked back and still bakes to this day, as he has his own series, “Emilio’s Bakery,” which includes him baking fresh sweets with current teammates, USA Boxing staff and coaches. You can find episodes on USA Boxing’s Instagram or Emilio’s Instagram.  Garcia explained that his favorite sweets to bake are cookies. Garcia said the best sweet he has baked on the show was a Cinnamon Swirl Crumble Cookie he baked with his teammate Omari Jones.

Garcia recently clinched his roster spot and will compete in the upcoming World Qualifier tournament in Busto Arsizio, Italy, March 3-11. The humble boxer can become the first male athlete of any sport from Laredo, Texas, to qualify for the Olympics with a top-four finish at the qualifier. However, Garcia explained that being the first male Olympian from Laredo wasn’t his goal; making his family proud was his goal.

“Yeah, obviously it would mean so much to me and would be a huge accomplishment,” stated Garcia on the importance of qualifying to Paris. “But I am not necessarily doing it to be the first male Olympian from Laredo. I just want to make my family proud and show them all the time and hard work we as a family went through was worth it in the end.”
Emilio Garcia

Punching his ticket to Paris would continue to put Laredo on the map, as he would become the second athlete ever from the city to compete in the Olympics, joining his teammate Jennifer Lozano, who recently qualified at the 2023 Santiago Pan American Games.


Garcia was a member of Team USA at this Pan American Games but fell short of qualifying for Paris. He would go on to face the biggest adversity of his life and fight thoughts and the mental aspect of the sport.


“Last year was a roller coaster because I started great and won medals, and it was a dream come true. I felt like I was at the top of the world,” Garcia stated. “Then I ended up breaking my hand in the U.K. right before the Pan American Games. It was a lesson to learn that anything can happen and can’t be too overconfident.”


Emilio stated he would go on to realize that all athletes were having the same conversation in their heads that he was having. He would talk to not only boxers but other athletes at the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Training Center.


He would find his peace through mediation and prayer. His emotional battle would lead to motivation and have him never wanting to experience that pain again. Garcia explained it was the most challenging few months of his life fighting that mental battle. But now, he is locked in, confident in his skills, and believes he will be boxing in Paris. 


“I have the right vision, and I don’t see myself losing right now. I’m very confident this time around. I feel a lot stronger, not only physically but mentally as well.”


Garcia, from a strong-hearted family, is ready to make history, be the first male athlete from Laredo, and make his family proud. He has won gold at the 2022 USA Boxing International Invitational and the 2023 GeeBee Tournament, and a bronze medal at last year’s Strandja Tournament in Bulgaria.  However, he has dreamed of a bigger moment since he saw an Olympic poster in his backyard.

Emilio Garcia (Photo by USA Boxing)

“My gym back home had a 2016 Olympic boxing poster. I would look at that poster and motivate myself and I used to always say, one day, I wanted to fight for Team USA at the Olympics.”


With dreams and aspirations of competing at the Paris 2024 Olympic Games, Garcia is just a few wins away from achieving that goal. Emilio makes not only his role model, Angel, but also his mother and father proud with the journey he has had so far. He now has the chance to etch his name into history, live out his dream since he was young, and see his face on the 2024 Olympic Boxing Team poster.