Rising lightweight star Ryan ‘KingRy’ Garcia 21-0 (18) delivered a statement performance when he became the first boxer to stop former two-time world title challenger Luke Campbell 20- 4 (16) in seven rounds at the American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas on Saturday night.
Garcia had to overcome an early gut check of his own when southpaw Campbell dropped the 22-year-old Los Angelan with an overhand left midway through the second frame.
But Garcia took over in the middle rounds, hurting Campbell at the bell to close out round five. The end came in the seventh when a left rip to the liver caused Britain’s Campbell, 33, to take a knee. He was unable to beat the count and referee Laurence Cole halted the contest at the 1:58 mark.
“I think I showed a lot of people who I really am,” Garcia told DAZN. “They wanted to show me as a social media fighter. Anybody who puts you down, remember you’re not who people tell you who you are – you are who you choose to be. I chose to be a champion tonight.
“He caught me, I was like, ‘I got dropped, this is crazy’. I’ve never been dropped in my life. I had to adjust. I knew I could beat him, I just had to get back up.”
Promoter Oscar De La Hoya added: “This is the kind of fight where superstars are made. Down on the mat early for the first time in his career, Ryan got up, rallied, broke down his man and got the knockout.
“Everyone in the lightweight division should consider themselves on notice. 2021 will be the year of Ryan García.”
If Garcia has his way, his next fight will be against either Gervonta ‘Tank’ Davis 24-0 (23) or Devin ‘The Dream’ Haney 25-0 (15).
“I’m a man of my word, let’s go Tank!” Garcia said. “I really want to fight Tank. I have fought an Olympic gold medallist. Vasiliy Lomachenko couldn’t stop him, Jorge Linares couldn’t stop him. I showed today I am special.
“Listen, I’ll fight Devin Haney too. What do the people want to see?”
On the undercard Roger Gutiérrez 25-3-1 (20) scored an upset win over Rene Alvarado 32-9 (21) to annex the WBA ‘regular’ super featherweight title by unanimous decision.
The fight was a rematch of their eight-round bout in 2017 that Alvarado won by seventh-round stoppage.
The 25-year-old Venezuelan had Alvarado in trouble early, dropping him with a right uppercut in the third round and again with a flurry of punches during the same frame.
But Nicaraguan Alvarado, 31, worked his way back into the fight in the middle rounds with his pressure and workrate while Gutiérrez was cut over his left eye and had to fight through a mask of blood through the second half of the contest.
The fight was hanging in the balance in the 12th and final round when Gutiérrez punctuated his performance with another knockdown. It turns out he needed it, with all three judges scoring the bout 113-112 in his favour.
Earlier in the night IBF junior flyweight champion Felix Alvarado 36-2 (31) successfully defended his title for the second time with a 10th round knockout of former IBF minimumweight champ DeeJay Kriel 16-2-1 (8).
In an exciting fight that featured plenty of two-way action, it was the 31-year-old Nicaraguan who landed the harder shots, dropping Kriel, 25, in the second and fourth rounds.
The tough South African rallied in the middle rounds but Alvarado regained control in the ninth. In the 20th he repeatedly found a home for his vaunted right hand, forcing the stoppage at the 1:39 mark.
“I knew this would be a tough fight,” said Alvarado, who is the twin brother of Rene. “He was a mandatory challenger and a former world champion, so I knew it would be tough.
“I got a bit tired, but that was because of his experience. I also dropped him with a hook and I didn’t even expect for a punch like that to land. But rather than keep looking for that punch, I kept pushing him to the ropes to wear him down.
“I’m very happy to obtain this win because it is a dream come true for the Alvarado brothers to fight on such a big card together. I want any of the other world champions so I can show who is the best in the division.”
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