On Saturday night, Ryan Garcia (21-0, 18 KOs) overcame an early scare to stop Luke Campbell in the seventh round of their lightweight bout at the American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas on DAZN.
Going into the fight, most pundits agreed that Campbell (20-4, 16 KOs) would provide Garcia with his stiffest test, as the veteran had plenty of experience in big fights. It didn’t take long for Campbell to get Garcia’s respect either as he stunned the rising star in the second round, when a left cross landed flush on Garcia’s chin, sending him down to the canvas for the first time in his young career.
Many wondered how Garcia would react to adversity, and the 22-year old answered the call. Stunned, he got back to his feet and fought well for the remainder of the round.
While Campbell had a few bright moments throughout the fight, Garcia adjusted well to the knockdown and continued pressuring Campbell with body shots and stiff right hands.
Another big moment came in the fifth round, after Campbell had one of his better rounds, Garcia rocked him with a hook to the temple with seconds left that set up what was to come.
Garcia came out swinging in the sixth round and in the seventh, a left hook to the body sent Campbell down to one knee in excruciating pain.
While it appeared Campbell would not beat the count, the referee waived it off at 1:58, giving Garcia the TKO victory.
“My performance definitely showed a lot of people who I really am,” said Garcia afterward. “Going into this fight I wanted to show people that you are not what people call you. You are what you choose to be. I chose to be a champion tonight. I didn’t let anything stop me from being a champion tonight. Even when he dropped me, I knew that couldn’t stop me from being champion.”
“I got too excited in the moment,” Garcia said of the knockdown. “I felt I could just walk him down, but he ended up cracking me. So, I had to adjust and calm down. 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 I can take it to somebody and knock them out. God told me that it would end with a body shot, and that’s what happened.”