Ryan Garcia overcame the most challenging moment of his young career to bounce back up from the canvas to defeat Britain’s Luke Campbell and send a strong message to the lightweight division at the beginning of an exciting year.
The 22-year-old, who is viewed as one of the future pay-per-view stars of the sport, took on the Olympic champion in a baptism of fire at the American Airlines Center in Dallas.
The warning signs were there early for King Ryan, having been sent to the canvas with a crisp overhand left that sent shockwaves through the American audience in attendance.
Ryan Garcia overcame an early knockdown to defeat Luke Campbell in an enthralling fight
The hotshot was floored for the first time in his young career with a crisp left hand in the 2nd
However, Garcia responded well and sent Campbell to the canvas with a vicious bodyshot
The Briton, 33, was unable to beat the 10-second count and the fight was stopped in the 7th
But the American-Mexican recovered from the early adversity to put the pressure on his experienced rival and made that aggression count as the rounds wore on.
Campbell, 33, was saved by the bell in the fifth having been rocked by a heavy left hook. With his back turned on his young opponent, the bell sounded to the relief of the visiting fighter.
Garcia had to wait just two more rounds to get his man, though, with a vicious left hook to the body downing Campbell who was unable to beat the 10-second count.
A jubilant Garcia let out a huge roar as the referee waved the contest off, before boxing superstar and close friend Canelo Alvarez entered the ring to congratulate the victor.
The 22-year-old celebrates with his team after clinching the mammoth victory in Dallas, Texas
Garcia poses with the WBC interim lightweight belt after overcoming his game opponent
‘I definitely showed a lot of people who I really am,’ an ecstatic Garcia said in his post-fight interview.
‘I wanted to show people that whatever they call you a ‘social media fighter’. You’re not what people tell you you are, you are who you choose to be. And I chose to be a champion tonight.
‘I have never been dropped in my life. I think I got too excited in the moment. I felt like I could crack him, but he cracked me. I just had to get back up and show everybody what a warrior is really like.’
Garcia also thanked Canelo for his support in emotional scenes in Dallas.
Garcia’s win sets up an exciting year in the lightweight division with huge fights expected
‘I just wanted to thank him. Without Canelo being by my side all the time I don’t know if I would’ve learned all the things I’ve learned.
‘I’m grateful and blessed to have a great team around me.’
The popular fighter, who boasts 750,000 subscribers on YouTube, called out Gervonta Davies for a mega fight this year.
The bout was postponed in December because Campbell tested positive for COVID-19. It was moved to Texas because of coronavirus restrictions in Garcia’s home state.
Campbell had lost two previous title fights after winning a gold medal at his home Olympics in London in 2012. It was the fifth straight knockout for Garcia since what his camp considered a disappointing majority decision over Carlos Morales in 2018.
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