Ryan Garcia (file pic). Isaac Brekken
Rising Star

Undefeated Garcia recovers from Campbell knockdown to stay undefeated

Luke Campbell was stopped for the first time as Ryan Garcia claimed the interim WBC lightweight title.

RYAN GARCIA BELIEVES “it showed a lot of people who I really am” after he rose from an early knockdown to hand Luke Campbell the first stoppage defeat of his professional career.

Campbell was an underdog with the bookmakers but decked his much-hyped opponent in the second round of their lightweight encounter with a savage left hook to the jaw at the American Airlines Center in Dallas.

The unbeaten Garcia rallied, though, and Campbell was saved by the bell following an onslaught at the end of the fifth before being counted out two rounds later after a vicious left hook to the body.

It was Campbell’s fourth defeat of a 24-fight professional career and while the Hull southpaw said afterwards that he was “heartbroken”, Garcia revelled in his biggest victory to date as he claimed the WBC interim title.

The American (21-0, 18KOs), who was carried to the ring on a throne and wore a crown in his ringside interview on DAZN, said: “It definitely showed a lot of people who I really am.

“I chose to be a champion, I wasn’t going to let nothing stop me, even when he dropped me. He caught me, I was like ‘yo, I got dropped, this is crazy’.

“I’ve never been dropped in my life. I think I got a little too excited over the moment, I knew I was in control but I wanted just to dog him, I just felt I could crack him but he cracked me.

“I had to adjust and calm down because I knew I could beat him, I just had to get back up and show everybody what a warrior really is like.”

In stopping a fighter who went the distance in world title defeats to Jorge Linares and Vasyl Lomachenko, Garcia, who has acquired 7.8 million followers on Instagram, insists he is ready to step up to the next level.

The 22-year-old is in pole position to fight WBC champion Devin Haney but would prefer a bout with heavy-handed compatriot Gervonta ‘Tank’ Davis, who holds a secondary world title in the 135lb division.

Garcia added: “Let’s go, Tank. Let’s go, I’m ready. I want to fight Devin too. I want to be a man of my word and fight Tank, I know people are worried about that one but I’m ready for it.

“I just fought an Olympic gold medallist, Lomachenko couldn’t hurt him, Linares couldn’t finish him, I showed that I’m special.”

Despite his dismay at the latest setback in his career, Campbell, a London 2012 Olympic gold medallist, tipped Garcia – whose entourage included gym-mate Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez – for a bright future.

He wrote on Twitter: “Well I’m honestly heartbroken, I really wanted to bring the win back for you all. I’m sorry for that.

“I hope you all enjoyed the fight. Have to take my hat off to @KingRyanG, well done and a massive future ahead for him. I wish him all the best.”

Screenshot 2020-11-24 at 9.04.07 AM

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