Hype in boxing can be a dangerous thing. Throughout the history of this sport, we have seen many be anointed the next big thing, only to be crushed under the weight of expectations. Enter Ryan Garcia. The 22-year-old from California is viewed by many as the sport’s next star. Garcia himself does not lack for confidence. He has been calling out his contemporaries at 135, specifically targeting Gervonta “Tank” Davis.
But before he can get to any of those guys, he would have to get through Luke Campbell. Campbell is an accomplished fighter in his own right. He is a 2012 Gold medalist, and ranked as the fifth best fighter in the lightweight class. Many felt this clash would be the toughest fight of Garcia’s young career.
The fight was fought in front of 6,000 fans at the American Airlines Center in Dallas, and at stake was the interim WBC Lightweight Title. At the onset, Garcia was looking to take advantage of his height and reach, and looked to start fast. The second round is where the fight got interesting.
Garcia seemed in control, but a momentary lapse in concentration saw him get hit with a looping left hand and was knocked down for the 1st time in his career. Garcia, to his credit got up, composed himself and was fine as the round progressed. As the fight continued on, Garcia looked to apply pressure and use his speed and power. Campbell was using his boxing to stay on the outside, and control Garcia with his jab if possible.
During the latter stages of the seventh round, coming out of an exchange, Garcia leapt and Campbell raised his elbows to protect his head. What actually followed was a wicked left hook to the body, and after a few seconds, caused Campbell to take a step back to take a knee. He tried to get up at the count of nine, but was counted out by the referee. The official time of the stoppage was 1:58 of round 7.
With the win, Garcia moves to 21-0 with 18 KO’s and becomes the interim WBC Lightweight champion. Campbell drops to 20-4. This was his third attempt at a world title at lightweight, previously losing to Jorge Linares and Vasyl Lomachenko. This loss also marks the first time in his career that Campbell has been stopped.