There was no lack of thrills at the American Airlines Center in Dallas, but in the end rising star Ryan Garcia confirmed his talent by scoring a prodigious knockout over Luke Campbell thanks to a splendid left uppercut to the liver in the seventh round. With this victory, not without great risks, the undefeated and very popular Californian boxer, Ryan Garcia, won the “Interim” title of the WBC of lightweight division and passed the first real test in his career to access the highest world levels.
It was the litmus test for the man who some said was already a predestined boxer while others still considered him a mystery, yet Ryan “King Ry” Garcia (21-0-0, 18 KOs) appeared extremely relaxed as he was carried to the ring on a litter like a new Julius Caesar. The confidence in his means and the bravado that could be seen on his face did not fail even after the first sound of the gong: Ryan Garcia immediately catapulted himself to the center of the ring exerting a very decisive pressure on a rather cautious Luke Campbell (20-4-0, 16 KOs).
The cheeky attitude of the eve’s favorite has negatively affected his technical performance: convinced of being able to dispose of his rival at will, so much so as to attack him without hesitation and with few precautions, Ryan Garcia has relapsed into a series of errors that characterized his career at the beginning and that, in recent times, seemed to have been filed at least in part. The position of the feet in particular, when attacking a southpaw opponent, was completely wrong, with the left always inside the compass of the rival who then had good game in relieving the pressure by rotating on the pivot foot and taking himself out of the trajectory.
If in the first round Luke Campbell had preferred not to risk cold blows, limiting himself to a careful defensive phase, in the second one the British boxer managed to capitalize on one of the technical errors of the young adversary: a beautiful left hook of Campbell reached Garcia in full jaw while the latter lowered his right arm with an instinctive and inconsiderate gesture. The few spectators present jumped up with their mouths wide open when they saw Ryan Garcia on the canvass, but the American got up immediately showing himself very lucid and ready to start again.
Nevertheless, shivers of fear must have crossed the backs of his fans.
While Ryan Garcia commenced the bout in a very relaxed and confident way, after the knockdown the American boxer was definitely more nervous and tensed. In the following two rounds, Garcia tried to return the favor to his rival without achieving the scope due to a chaotic aggressiveness. The result was a balanced phase in which the greater aggressiveness of Ryan Garcia was counterbalanced by the superior technical cleanliness and greater precision of Luke Campbell, always very calm and rational in his actions prepared with great meticulousness in the gym. To break the balances, the usual Garcia’s trademark: a violent left hook that a few seconds before the end of the fifth round has put in black crisis Campbell literally saved by the bell.
Once again, however, the 22-year-old from Los Angeles has not been able to keep his emotional side at bay and so the sixth round has opened with a furious Ryan Garcia charging dozens of blows at maximum power, squandering precious energies and then finding himself forced to rest. Campbell then managed to recover lucidity and went back to control the distance with his jab, but the magic was just around the corner: a magnificent left uppercut to the liver forced Campbell to kneel for the final count after two minutes from the beginning of the seventh round.
Great enthusiasm exploded on the square after the conclusion of the match: two legends of boxing of the past such as Oscar De La Hoya and Bernard Hopkins as well as the current star of first magnitude Saul Canelo Alvarez, all three beaming in congratulating the winner. The latter, visibly on a high, gave life to a euphoric interview, declaring first of all that he was sure from the beginning to close the practice with his left uppercut. Ryan Garcia then called the audience asking loudly who he wanted to see him face next, just like Anthony Joshua did a few weeks ago after his triumph over Kubrat Pulev. On his own, the young prodigy said he would like to lock horns with Gervonta Davis as well as Devin Haney, who was present in the audience.
This fight said a lot about Ryan Garcia, both good and bad aspects. The kid has shown that his explosiveness can be decisive even against world class opponents: Luke Campbell had heard the last bell against fighters like Jorge Linares and Vasyl Lomachenko, but Garcia’s uppercut left him with no chance. Also, to have recovered so quickly from the knockdown was a good sign for the winner, who evidently has good recovery skills and enough character strength to emerge from the difficulties. On the other hand, Ryan Garcia’s emotional management of the evening was a disaster: cocky at the start and nervous later on, the boy failed to keep his concentration high, bringing out technical gaps that at this point in his career he should have left behind. Time in any case is on his side and this experience will benefit him greatly. Overall, we can say that from now onward the boxing sky has a new bright star!