Who is Ivan Redkach and why is he fighting Danny Garcia on Saturday?

Hard-hitting welterweight Ivan “El Terrible” Redkach faces Danny Garcia in a WBC welterweight title eliminator on Saturday. Photo provided by Amanda Westcott/Showtime

Danny Garcia's 13-year career has made him well-known in the world of boxing. He's won world titles at junior welterweight and welterweight and has faced some of the biggest names in the sport, including Keith Thurman, Shawn Porter, Zab Judah, Paulie Malignaggi, Erik Morales, Amir Khan, Brandon Rios and Lucas Matthysse.

Conversely, Ivan Redkach -- whom Garcia (35-2, 21 KOs), 31, of Philadelphia, meets in a welterweight title elimination fight on Saturday (Showtime, 9 p.m. ET) at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York -- has a far lower profile. The 11-year veteran has yet to fight for a world title, and his list of opponents, which does include current titleholder Tevin Farmer, is far less impressive.

Here are some things you should know about Redkach:

He was a blue chip prospect

Redkach, 33, a Ukraine native fighting out of Los Angeles, was a decorated amateur with a record of about 260-40, and he was considered one of boxing's top prospects.

At the end of 2012 and 2013, I included him on my annual list of top prospects, writing in 2013 (when he was 15-0) that "he's been devastating as a pro. He's gifted offensively, attacks the body and has a relentless style."

Besides his power, body attack and a pressuring style, Redkach earned those props because of his amateur background, which included a spot as an alternate on the 2008 Ukrainian Olympic team that included Vasiliy Lomachenko.


Redkach began boxing as a young child

Redkach lives in Los Angeles, but his family, including his sister and parents, remains in Ukraine.

Redkach found boxing when a cousin took him from kindergarten to the gym at the age of 6. When Redkach was 12, he moved to Brovary, a suburb of Kyiv, to attend a special sports school where he focused on boxing. It's the same boarding school attended by fighters such as former heavyweight champions Wladimir and Vitali Klitschko.

Redkach is single, but he has a 10-year-old daughter, Margarita, who lives in Ukraine. He also has a 5-year-old son, Lucas, who lives with him Los Angeles. Former junior welterweight world titlist Viktor Postol is a close friend and the godfather of Redkach's daughter. Redkach and Postol met at boarding school in 1998.


He's coming off his biggest win

All four of Redkach's losses have come to fighters of note. In 2015, he was stopped in four rounds of a lightweight world title elimination bout by Dejan Zlaticanin, who would go on to win a lightweight world title. In 2016, Redkach dropped a 10-round decision to Tevin Farmer, who now is a dominant junior lightweight world titlist. And in 2017, he lost a split decision to former junior lightweight titlist Argenis Mendez, followed by a fourth-round knockout loss to former world title challenger John Molina Jr.

But since the loss to Molina, Redkach (23-4-1, 18 KOs) has won three fights in a row, most recently a crushing sixth-round knockout of former junior welterweight and welterweight world titlist Devon Alexander, who had never been stopped, on June 1.

Redkach trailed 48-47 on all three scorecards going into the sixth round before scoring three knockdowns, including the knockout. The victory made a big impression, and led to Redkach securing the opportunity against Garcia, who was originally ticketed to challenge unified welterweight world titlist Errol Spence Jr. on Saturday. However, the fight was never formally announced because Spence suffered injuries in a serious car accident last fall and remains sidelined, probably until the late spring or early summer.


He boasts an all-star team

Redkach, a southpaw, has had all-star trainers in his corner throughout his career. He is close to junior lightweight world titlist Leo Santa Cruz and had been trained by Santa Cruz's father, Jose Santa Cruz, who also trains Leo. However, Redkach had to find another trainer because Jose has been battling cancer and was unable to train him consistently.

Former pound-for-pound king and three-division world champion Shane Mosley trained Redkach for the fight with Alexander. For Saturday's fight with Garcia, Redkach will have Jack Mosley, Shane's father and a former trainer of the year, in his corner for the first time. Jack Mosley said the reason for the change was that Shane has an elbow injury and was unable to work the mitts with Redkach during training camp, so he filled in.

"I'm being trained by Jack Mosley. This is the first time; we've been working together for a month and a half," Redkach said. "Shane Mosley trained me for my last fight. Jack would come in and watch us train, but he didn't really participate. It's easy to see why Jack Mosley was trainer of the year in two separate years."


Is Danny Garcia taking this fight lightly?

"The biggest weakness I see in Danny is that he's not taking this seriously," Redkach said at a media workout Wednesday in Brooklyn. "He's counting on this as a tuneup fight, and that's a big mistake. This is not going to be a tuneup fight for him. Danny is already looking ahead to a fight with Errol Spence Jr. or Manny Pacquiao, but before he gets to them, he picked me. I know it's because I'm a southpaw [as they are]. But he's going to get a rude wake-up on fight night.

"This win will change my life, and I've already worked my whole life to get to this moment. I want to win this fight, and then the biggest fights at welterweight will be open to me. I'm going to knock him out. That's how I see this fight going. We're going to leave it all in the ring and I'm going to come out victorious."