Ryan Garcia Beats Luke Campbell via 7th-Round Knockout to Win Lightweight Title

FILE - In this Nov. 2, 2019 file photo, Ryan Garcia, looks on after landing a punch to Romero Duno (not seen) during their lightweight boxing match in Las Vegas. Garcia meets Britain’s Luke Campbell, a 2012 Olympic champion, in an interim WBC lightweight title fight. The bout was postponed a month and moved from California after Campbell tested positive for COVID-19.(AP Photo/Isaac Brekken, File)
Isaac Brekken/Associated Press

Ryan Garcia earned the biggest victory of his promising young career Saturday, knocking out Luke Campbell with a devastating body punch in the seventh round to cap off an entertaining, back-and-forth lightweight match at the American Airlines Center in Dallas.

The punch that ended the fight was a thing of beauty. Here's a look, via DAZN Boxing:

Boxing journalist Dan Rafael and former boxer Tony Bellew reacted to Garcia's win, which earned him the interim WBC world lightweight title:

Campbell (20-4, 16 KOs) proved to be the tough test that many expected he would be, scoring a knockdown in the second round that forced the 22-year-old to dig deep and regroup. Garcia (21-0, 18 KOs) had his troubles on the defensive side of things, but he stayed calm throughout the fight. In the end, his offense proved to be too much for Campbell, who had suffered multiple knockdowns in his career but never a stoppage.

"I knew I could beat him. I just had to get back up and show everyone I could do it, that I'm a warrior," Garcia said after the fight, per the DAZN broadcast. Garcia went on to call out both Gervonta "Tank" Davis and Devin Haney, two other young stars at 135 pounds. With his skills and huge popularity among younger fans, he will likely get his wish very soon.

Garcia started off the fight aggressively, snapping jabs to the body and whipping his excellent left hook to the head. The younger boxer's speed advantage was never in doubt, and he used it effectively. Campbell weathered some of the early storm and landed a couple of good counterpunches.

Campbell stunned the American crowd with a little over a minute in the second round, throwing a jab to the body and then going over the guard with a massive overhand left that sent Garcia to the canvas.

DAZN Boxing has the highlight:

Garcia responded well, using his speed to keep Campbell from pressing his advantage. ESPN's Max Kellerman noted a major flaw in Garcia's performance:

Despite leaving himself wide open to Campbell's attacks with the poor footwork, Garcia managed to stay competitive by leaning on his natural gifts. His hand speed prevented the Englishman from ever letting his own hands go, as he had to fend off quick two-handed combinations. He did well to switch levels too, mixing up punches to the head and body.

Campbell did well by sticking with the fundamentals, leading to a couple of very competitive rounds. Garcia's defense was lacking, so anytime the California native got in close, Campbell countered with power shots. It was a smart strategy, but it started to unravel late in the fifth when Garcia landed a left hook that clearly hurt Campbell, who was lucky it came in the last few seconds of the round.

DAZN's Andreas Hale noted it was a great finish to a tough round for Garcia:

Here's the punch, per DAZN Boxing:

After a back-and-forth sixth round, Garcia got the punch he was looking for, earning his third straight KO. It was well-deserved considering the adversity he faced early in the match. Campbell is a good fighter who performed admirably against the likes of Vasiliy Lomachenko and Jorge Linares, but he didn't have enough to get the upset.

Garcia is an exciting fighter, but he will have to polish up parts of his game if he wants to beat Davis or Haney, who holds the WBC lightweight title that Garcia is now the mandatory challenger for. He didn't do much to move his head in the bout and was flat-footed at times. If he doesn't clean up those problems with trainer Eddy Reynoso (who also trains Canelo Alvarez), that will be dangerous against a massive power puncher like Davis.

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