“I showcased my power once again. He had nothing for me, to be honest,” Lua said after his knockout back in May.
Having that hometown crowd atmosphere gave Lua a lift throughout his fight and it’s a feeling he hopes to continue moving forward.
“It was a home match for me because of all the people that were behind me. All the supporters from Madera and the Central Valley are behind me,” Lua said proudly. “It’s like fighting in my backyard, so it just feels right.”
Lua was scheduled to fight under the Jose Ramirez card once again at the Save Mart Center in July, but was diagnosed with an undisclosed injury before. In addition headliner Ramirez had his main event fight canceled after his opponent dropped out in the last minute.
For Lua, boxing came at a young age. An age where getting in trouble was commonplace. Lua recalled getting into fights and getting suspended from elementary school before his father stepped in and tried to solve the issue.
“I was just always a trouble maker, but my dad put me in boxing and it all changed from there,” Lua said at his media day at Heartbeat Boxing in Downtown Fresno.
Little did he know, what was an outlet to improve his behavior, turned into a path that Lua continues today.
In the gym, Lua thrived and excelled in the sport. The 20-year-old is undefeated, with a 5-0 record, including two knockouts.
“I picked it up really quick. I started when I was 11 and I was sparring with guys that had been in the gym for two years. I was handling myself in there,” Lua said proudly. “You know, I picked it up and I’m blessed to be here now.”
Although Lua goes out and performs, the training behind the scenes is key. His coach Robert Garcia offers his pupils an experience second-to-none. As a former world champion, Garcia is able to guide Lua through the highs and lows of being a champion fighter.
Garcia not only was a world champion, but he trained multiple world champions and Lua fits the mold.
“I was a world champion in 98’ and defended my title a couple times. The first thing a fighter thinks of when they lace up their gloves every day is, I want to be a world champion and I’ve done that,” Garcia said. “I became a trainer after, and I can say that I’ve trained 10 world champions and, for me, that’s a bigger accomplishment.
“He’s a great kid. He might be young, but he’s got the mentality of a grown man. He already knows he has to provide for his little one, he already knows he has to help his father and younger brother. He’s not doing this for himself. He’s doing it for his family, his friends and his hometown. Very few fighters think like that at his age.”
Interestingly, Garcia wasn’t the only high-profile coach willing to work with Lua.
“Manny Pacquiao’s coach, Freddy Roach, wanted to train me, but I decided to go with Robert Garcia. I just felt more comfortable and there was more sparring for me,” Lua said. “I just felt more comfortable with Garcia.
“With a trainer like that, it’s a blessing to a boxer. His background, all the sparring and with his brother Mikey, I get the best work I can get.”
Like Lua, Garcia boasts the best sparring is in his gym. And for Lua, that’s a good thing.
“When it comes to sparring, he gets the best he can get here in my gym,” Garcia said. “It just makes a big difference when the coach has already went through it. The training, sparring and making weight. Just having someone there that can guide you. I know how fighters feel. I know when to give them a day off. I know when to lift less in the gym. I lived it and fought through it.
“I have that experience and I just try to transmit it to my fighters. I know how they feel and what they go through. It benefits Bryan, but it also does all my fighters too. Bryan is just one that listens and does whatever he’s told. He’s a student to my program.”
With that preparation and hard work that Lua exhibits, his potential is sky high, according to Garcia.
“Look, Bryan has all the tools to not only become a champion, but a great world champion. There’s champions and then there are great ones and they’re the ones that end up headlining big boxing events,” Garcia said. “There are very few that can do that, and I think Bryan is one of those.”
Along with the lifting, sparring and dieting, Lua attributes role model, Mikey Garcia as someone who has helped him throughout the process.
“I’d have to say having Mikey around has really improved me as a fighter,” Lua said. “He’s a fourth division world champion and I would like to accomplish something like that.”
More than just winning a title, boxing is a means to support the bigger picture in his life — family.
“I just love the sport, but it means everything to me and my family,” Lua said. “Being able to support them and I, I do it for a good cause. You know, I started off getting into trouble, stuck to boxing and I’m here now.”