Ryan Garcia went a long way to proving his doubters wrong on Saturday night, as the undefeated boxing phenom overcame an early knockdown to fire back and stop English Olympic champ Luke Campbell in Dallas, Texas.
The 22-year-old Californian has sometimes blurred the lines between professional athlete and internet influencer but by the time he became the first man to stop Campbell with a thunderous left hook to the body in the seventh round there was little doubt that he appears very much fit for the throne on which he was carried to the ring before the bout.
He didn’t have it all his own way, either. The experienced Campbell has one of the finest amateur boxing pedigrees in recent UK history and has shared the ring with some of the sport’s finest fighters, going the distance with Vasyl Lomachenko and Jorge Linares along the way.
Whispers were growing in the boxing community that Campbell’s ring-savvy would be too much, too soon for Garcia and that Oscar De La Hoya’s latest Golden Boy had bitten off more than he could chew.
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) January 2, 2021
— ESPN Ringside (@ESPNRingside) January 2, 2021
Ryan Garcia gets knocked down by Luke Campbell pic.twitter.com/chsrituXxA
— ّ (@Curry_Cant) January 2, 2021
And early on, it looked like those forecasts were right. After a tentative start, Campbell sat Garcia down with a glancing left hook which sent him tumbling backwards. It was the first knockdown of Garcia’s young career but rather than retreat into a defensive shell, ‘King Ry’ moved forward and by the fourth was in clear command of the fight.
Garcia had Campbell in trouble again in the fifth round after he jolted his opponent into the ropes and then completed his night’s work at 1:58 in the seventh with a powerful shot to Campbell’s right side which left him prone on all fours on the canvas, unable to continue.
The ringside angle of Ryan Garcia's KO 📲 pic.twitter.com/3cOe1PVUqv
— DAZN Boxing (@DAZNBoxing) January 3, 2021
That’s some shot, took them all night respect to Luke Campbell. Hate him or love him Ryan Garcia hits hard pic.twitter.com/yvtWrRjZCe
— airLCFC (@AirLcfc) January 3, 2021
And Ryan Garcia takes down Luke Campbell down in the 7th round with a crushing body shot! What a KO! Terrific fight, terrific performance from @KingRyanG! The kid IS FOR REAL! Wins the WBC interim lightweight title. Canelo cheers him on from ringside! #GarciaCampbell#boxing
— Dan Rafael (@DanRafael1) January 3, 2021
Garcia, who claimed the WBC interim lightweight title with the win, admitted afterwards that he was ‘dizzy’ after Campbell’s left early in the fight but was confident that he could weather any storm that the English Olympian threw his way.
“I’ve never been dropped in my life,” he said afterwards. “I think I got a little too excited in the moment.
“I was a little dizzy with the knockdown, but I wasn’t worried. He’s not used to going forward, so I just knew I had to cover up.”
“He never fights coming forward, so I knew he would back up throughout the fight. I’m naturally a counterpuncher. But today I showed that I can be aggressive, go forward and take it to somebody.
“I didn’t let anything stop me from being a champion tonight,” García said. “Even when he dropped me, I knew that couldn’t stop me from being champion.”
Tonight Ryan Garcia went from boy to man!! Getting off the floor like he did and attacking the man who put him there let’s you know that he has serious bollocks and knows no quit! Luke was blinded and didn’t see it that’s why that body shot has done that to him! #GarciaCampbell
— Tony Bellew (@TonyBellew) January 3, 2021
Ryan Garcia is the business 👏🏼 Had an inkling Campbell was a step to far, but he’s the real deal, great watch. #GarciaCampbell
— Michael Conlan (@mickconlan11) January 3, 2021
— Super Fan🇮🇪 (@McGregorRousey) January 3, 2021
With this test very much passed, attention quickly turned to what might be next for one of boxing’s most bankable rising stars. Oscar De La Hoya, Garcia’s promoter, giddily indicated to the media that a “superstar” had been born in the ring on Saturday night – and that reputation could be enhanced further if, as Garcia petitioned for in the ring, Gervonta ‘Tank’ Davis is up next.
“I want to fight Tank,” Garcia announced of the 24-0 Mayweather protege. “I know people are worried about that. But I’m ready.”
Also on rt.com
‘Some good sperm you’ve got!’: Boxing presenter Abdo tickles Twitter with spunky compliment to dad of boxing star Garcia (VIDEO)