Ryan Garcia announces himself to the lightweight division, stopping Luke Campbell in a dramatic seven-round battle that saw Garcia knocked down for the first time in his career.
On the first big fight night of 2021, Ryan Garcia proves he is far more than a mere hype job as he stops the experienced and highly regarded Luke Campbell. Live from the American Airlines Centre, Dallas, in front of 6000 fans, Garcia retained his unbeaten record with a sensational seventh round KO.
Campbell, a two-time world title challenger and Olympic gold medalist, was expected to be Garcia's toughest opponent to date and was seen by many as a marker for where Garcia stands in the division. Having now achieved what neither Vasyl Lomachenko nor Jorge Linares could (stopping Campbell), we can now safely say that Garcia belongs in with the lightweight elite.
Garcia made a confident start, taking the front foot, and had Campbell's attention early with a stiff straight right hand. Going into the second, the young star looked sharp and heavy-handed, but midway through the round Campbell caught the overconfident Garcia with a big left hand that sent him to the canvas for the first time in his pro career.
Garcia recovered well though and continued as the aggressor, often pushing Campbell back with heavy punches that looked dangerous even when landing on the gloves. At the end of the fifth, Garcia landed a left hook right on the bell which, given more time, would almost certainly have lead to a knockdown or perhaps even a stoppage.
Campbell managed to clear his head between rounds, but despite showing flashes of class, and exposing weaknesses in Garcia's defence, he looked vulnerable every time Garcia let his hands go.
In the seventh round, Garcia went to the body with a left hook that sent Cambell reeling to the canvas and delivered his first-ever loss inside the distance.
The win sees Garcia's record move to 21-0 and puts him in possession of the WBC interim lightweight title. In his post-fight interview, Garcia called out WBA champion Gervonta 'Tank' Davis, while also mentioning WBC champion, Devin Haney.
Elsewhere on the card -
Roger Gutierrez (25-3-1) vs René Alvarado (32-9)
12 rounds for WBA (Regular) super-featherweight championship
Winner - Gutierrez (113-112, 113-112, 113-112)
Felix Alvarado (36-2) vs DeeJay Kriel (16-2-1)
12 Rounds for IBF light-flyweight championship
Winner - Alvarado (TKO round 10)
Ramses Agaton (22-12-4) vs Raul Curiel (9-0)
Eight rounds at middleweight
Winner - Curiel (TKO round 2)
Sean Garcia (6-0) vs Rene Marquez (5-6)
Four rounds at lightweight
Winner - Garcia (38-38, 39-37, 39-37)