Ryan Garcia Stops Luke Campbell In 7
By Rhys Jones
All it took was a single, thunderous shot to Luke Campbell’s abdomen for Ryan Garcia to catapult his name into the upper echelon of boxing’s lightweight division.
The 22-year-old Californian’s victory was made all the more impressive considering it came just five rounds after Campbell knocked the young star down for the first time in his career.
The first round was a solid one for Garcia (21-0, 18 KOs), who played the role of the aggressor, testing Campbell’s (20-4, 16 KOs) defence with his blistering hand speed, threatening Campbell with his signature left hook.
However, Garcia was not without his faults, what few shots Campbell landed in the first were based on timing Garcia’s attacks, alongside Garcia’s propensity to leave his chin high and open.
This tendency was quickly capitalised on by Campbell, who’s timing and experience in comparison to his opponent allowed him to connect with a swinging left hook. Garcia was sent to the canvas in the second round and Campbell suddenly looked primed to derail the hype train of the social media superstar.
The knockdown was a glance into what Garcia may lack in order to stake his claim at the top of the 135lb division; a less-than-stellar defensive awareness. Powerful punchers such as Gervonta Davis or Teófimo Lopez may not be as forgiving as Campbell.
Nevertheless, we must not diminish Garcia’s achievement. He battled back well after being knocked down and managed to control the majority of the remaining rounds, finally showing that killer instinct those watching had been waiting for when he rocked Campbell with a left hook in the final moments of the fifth.
Campbell looked troubled, and it seemed as if all that stopped him from losing his footing was being able to cling to the ropes.
Garcia then set the tone for the next two rounds, aggression. He came out with the intent to finish Campbell in the sixth, but was forced to wait until the seventh, when a wonderfully placed and quick left to Campbell’s exposed abdomen forced the Briton to take a knee.
The anguish on Campbell’s face as the referee counted to 10 was likely mirrored by those watching on DAZN in the UK, cheering on their fellow countryman.
But Laurence Cole decided that was enough, waving the fight off and confirming Garcia’s status as mandatory challenger to Devin Haney’s WBC lightweight title.
Garcia has long been heralded as boxing’s next big thing, ‘the next Oscar De La Hoya.’ His impressive finish over a fighter 11 years his senior, and a man who went 12 rounds with (at the time) pound for pound great Vasyl Lomachenko and Jorge Linares, confirms what Garcia and Golden Boy knew all along. Garcia is the real deal.
Photo Credit: DAZN/Getty Images