R

yan Garcia fought back from an early knockdown to stop Britain’s Luke Campbell and claim the vacant WBC interim lightweight title in Dallas.

Highly-rated American Garcia was floored for the first time in his 21-fight career with around 90 seconds remaining in the second round of Saturday night’s eagerly-anticipated clash at the American Airlines Center after being caught flush by a huge left hand.

However, the 22-year-old showed tremendous resilience to recover from that unfamiliar setback and provide a timely reminder of his own formidable power as he went on to seal an impressive seventh-round stoppage.

It was a thunderous left hook to the ribs that eventually did for Campbell and sent the 2012 Olympic gold medalist sinking to his knees, where he stayed for the referee’s 10 count – a punch reminiscent of the great Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez, who was at ringside and celebrated with training partner Garcia after his victory.

The undefeated Garcia is now the mandatory challenger for Devin Haney’s WBC crown, though there will also be increasing clamour for ‘The Flash’ to fight Gervonta Davis next as one of the most exciting divisions in boxing takes centre stage.

“Devin Haney’s going to be that opponent, of course I want to fight him,” Garcia told DAZN after his victory over Campbell, with Haney also in the crowd.

“I want to fight Tank [Davis] first of course, but it is what it is. If we can make Devin, let’s make Devin. Why not? Let’s go.”

Reacting to the first stoppage loss of his career, Campbell wrote on social media: “Well I’m honestly heart broken, 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.”

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