DALLAS – Ryan Garcia says he has never dropped a rising star in his biggest Test against Luke Campbell before sending his rising star to the canvas.
The 22-year-old California had a great reaction, stunning Campbell with a body injury to win the WBC Lightweight title fight in the seventh round knockout on Saturday night.
Garcia was in control when his left hand crushed Campbell’s right and sent the English fighter to one knee at 1:58 p.m. Campbell couldn’t get up, giving the undefeated Garcia the 18th knockout in 21 fights.
“It was the hardest shot in me,” Campbell said. “I tried and tried to get up, but couldn’t. I felt like he was coming, and I was going back and when you moved back my body relaxed a bit and that’s when he hit me. “
Campbell (20-4) knocked Garcia off with a left hook in the second round, but Garcia didn’t make many other punches as he became a more aggressive fighter until the decision was made.
The outing was postponed for about a month because Campbell tested positive for COVID-19. It was relocated to Texas due to Garcia’s home coronavirus restrictions.
“I’ve never been left out in my life,” said Garcia, who is matching his larger social media for the drama inside the ring. “I think I’m a little excited at the moment.”
Campbell lost his previous two titles after winning a gold medal at his 2012 Olympics in London.
This is the fifth straight knockout for Garcia as his camp considered a disappointing majority decision in 2018 with Carlos Morales.
Promoter Oscar de la Hoya said, “This is the kind of fight where superstars are made.” For the first time in his career, Ryan climbed on the mat, rallied, broke his man and got knocked out.
Garcia easily won the first round before Campbell’s left hook through the second. After the attack continued and in the fourth round Garcia regained control and asserted himself with a quick reply from the right-left combination and a strong right from lefty Campbell.
“I was a little nervous about the knockout, but I wasn’t worried,” Garcia said. “He’s not used to moving forward, so I just know I have to cover.”
Garcia sent Campbell to the ropes late in the fifth round and confronted the 33-year-old after the bell rang. Garcia tried to pick where he left off at the start of the sixth, but was backed up after an aggressive start to the round.
Garcia carried out most of the attack, and Campbell seemed to be satisfied with the counter glass.
Garcia said, “He never came forward to fight, so I knew he would come back to fight.” “I am naturally a counter. But today I showed that I can be aggressive, go ahead and take it to anyone. “