Former Filipino Boxing Champion, Roberto “The Hitman” Garcia is the Head Boxing Trainer at Pacific Ring Sports. He is a sought-after trainer who has been immersed in the fighting scene in southern California for the past 10 years in both the amateur and professional realm. Among the pro fighters he has trained are former IBF World Champion and WBC International Champion Manny “King” Melchor and WBO World Champion Tiger “The Priest” Smalls.
Robert has the ability to nurture fighters from day one and provide them the individualized training needed to fight at top levels of competition. He trained Jovann “The Rooster” Jones, who simply began boxing for exercise. After a year of training with Robert, Jovann had several amateur titles under his belt. In his second year, Jovann found himself one fight away from the Olympics Trials, losing in a close, controversial decision in the 2004 U.S. Western Trials. Robert also trained Yukence “Yuko” Andino, who became the California State Golden Gloves Championship and U.S. Men’s Regional Champion in 2003. Yuko went on to become the U.S. Western Trial Champion, and made it to the quarter finals of the 2004 Olympic Trials, fighting against Andre Ward.
Other amateur fighters that he trained from day one are Omar Jabarr, 3-time amateur National Champion; Anthony Sango, amateur Ringside World Champion, whom now represents the US Navy Team; and Chris Martin, who won the 2005 Ringside World Championship and California State Golden Gloves Championship. Robert’s contribution to boxing has made many fighters what they are today in the fight world.
Even fighters, who didn’t start amateur with Robert, seek his specialized training, such as pro fighter Israel “Lito” Ornelas. In addition, he has become a premier MMA striking coach, having trained King of the Cage Champion Dean Lister and UFC fighter “War Machine” Jon Koppenhaver.
His boxing expertise is not limited to training fighters. Robert has held the post of Head Boxing Trainer at all the major gyms in southern California. The owners met Robert six years ago in San Diego, where he was head boxing coach at the same gym Michael headed the Muay Thai program. During those two years, Michael witnessed Robert create six national champions. At the same time, Robert always led an impressive boxing class, being able to give patience and guidance to beginners, even in a large, mixed-level class. Robert’s signature method for working with classes is keeping people on their toes and techniques looking sharp. He is easy-going and has a great sense of humor.
Robert was born in the Philippines, the youngest of seven kids. His father and mother, a doctor and teacher, respectively, had high expectations of their children following in their footsteps. All Robert’s siblings eventually did; Robert, however, followed a different calling. At age eight, he took an interest in boxing, inspired ironically, by his father’s twin brother, who was a former Filipino Boxing Champion. Robert joined a boxing gym in his hometown of Angeles City. At age nine, Robert turned amateur, with an undefeated record of 40-0. At age 17, he turned pro.
His teenage years were rough; he took to the streets and got into numerous fights. The one thing that kept him off the streets was boxing. It was a good outlet for his energy, so he stuck to it.
Robert moved to Japan to continue to fight professionally, but when the Mt. Pinatubo volcano erupted in the Philippines and completely destroyed his family’s home, he was forced to give up his dream and look for steady income. He ended up working in the junkyard, and sent money home regularly. After his day job, he got paid to be a sparring partner for WBC World Champion Joichiro Tatsuyoshi. He came back to the Philippines and began coaching boxing to the street kids of his neighborhood, becoming a role model in his hometown. He then started managing and training Manny “King” Melchor until Manny captured the IBF World Champion and WBC International Champion titles.