Unbeaten rising lightweight star Ryan Garcia (21-0, 18 KOs) was motivated to prove a big point in his scheduled fight with 2012 Olympic gold medal winner Luke Campbell.
Before a crowd of 6,000 at the American Airlines Arena in Dallas, Texas, Garcia was forced to get off the floor to score a sensational knockout of Campbell to capture the WBC’s interim-lightweight title.
The contest was ordered last year by the sanctioning body, with the winner being guaranteed a mandatory shot at full WBC world champion Devin Haney.
Things did not get off to a good star, when in the second round Garcia was dropped for the first time in his career. Campbell landed a perfect counter hook that sent Garcia crashing to the mat.
Garcia was able to regroup by the third round, and then took back full control when he badly hurt Campbell near the end of the fifth.
The fight came to a close in the seventh round, when Garcia landed a vicious hook to the liver that dropped Campbell to his knees as the referee counted him out.
For the most of his career, there are many who viewed Garcia as a hyped up social media personality.
Garcia believes his performance sent a big message to a lot of the critics who refused to give him any credit for his career accomplishments to date.
“My performance definitely showed a lot of people who I really am,” said Garcia. “Going into this fight I wanted to show people that you are not what people call you. You are what you choose to be. I chose to be a champion tonight. I didn’t let anything stop me from being a champion tonight. Even when he dropped me, I knew that couldn’t stop me from being champion.”