Quijano: Welcome to the big stage, King Ryan

LOOKS like there’s no denying that Ryan Garcia is for real and last Sunday, he showed the boxing world he is ready to become one of its major stars by knocking out Luke Campbell in the seventh round.

Entering the fight, Campbell was considered at the elite level of competition in the lightweight division and was Garcia’s most formidable opponent to date.

But “King Ryan” showed he has what it takes to be one of the sport’s most exciting prospects and why promoter Oscar de la Hoya is so bullish on him.

THE FIGHT. In the first round, Garcia showed he was comfortable matching up against a good southpaw opponent as he landed a couple of straight right hands (the preferred weapon of choice against lefties.) For his part, Campbell landed some jabs and body shots.

Garcia picked up the action and brought the fight to Campbell in Round 2 but at 1:2 of the round, a check left hook on his chin knocks down Garcia. He got up more shocked than hurt, but Campbell was unable to follow up with his initial success.

In Round 3, Garcia boxed more cautiously and Campbell sniped accurately. However, the younger Garcia seemed to recover well and got stronger as the round closed.

The action picked up in Round 4 with both fighters landing shots. Round 5 was also evenly contested, but just before the bell Garcia landed a combination that hurt Campbell and him turning his back away from Garcia.

Garcia tried to go for the finish in Round 6 and Campbell was able to fend him off, but it looked like the latter was now running on fumes.

In Round 7, Garcia tried to walk down Campbell, but the latter kept things competitive by landing some effective counters.

But at around 1:14 of the round, Garcia digs a vicious left hook to the ribs that proved to be the coup de grace of the fight. The delay in Campbell’s reaction was typical of the effects of a well-placed body shot as it took a second or two before the pain registered, and when it did, it would not allow Campbell to get up no matter how he willed his body to fight on.

LIGHWEIGHT. With this victory, Garcia rises to 21-0, 18 KOs while Campbell falls to 21-4, 16 KOs.

This division is probably the deepest in the sport right now with fighters like Teofimo Lopez, Gervonta Davis, Vasyl Lomachenko, Devin Haney and Jorge Linares all vying to be the man at the 135 lb. division.

This impressive stoppage win over Campbell thrusts Garcia into this mix, and we can only hope we can see some fights between these top-ranked lightweights this year.

VERBATIM. What grade do I give Ryan? An A? No grade.—Teofimo Lopez Sr., father of Teofimo Jr. (www.badlefthook.com)

LAST ROUND. It’s on Jordan Nebria of MTCC branch 2, Talisay City who recently celebrated his birthday. Cheers!


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