Lightweight boxing prospect Ryan Garcia is only 22 years old, but the American entered his fight against 33-year-old two-time world title challenger Luke Campbell on Saturday night with one of the largest social media followings in the sport.
Garcia already has over 7.8 million followers on Instagram, but his viral knockout win over Campbell on Saturday at the American Airlines Center in Dallas proved he’s on his way to being way more than just a social media megastar.
Garcia won the biggest fight of his career in fine fashion. You can watch his 7th-round knockout win over Campbell below.
Garcia struggled early in the fight with adapting to the clever footwork from the southpaw fighter, Campbell.
After allowing the former gold medalist to establish his lead foot on the outside of his own, Garcia was consistently getting beat to the punch by the veteran early in the fight.
That led to the knockdown in the second round, and Campbell seemed to be on his way to scoring the upset victory.
But Garcia made it to his feet, and he kept up the pressure on his foe until he eventually turned the tide.
The American began making things rough for his opponent in the 5th round.
Suddenly, Garcia had corrected his basic footwork error, and he started to land hard and flush power punches because of it.
Campbell seemed to be saved by the bell at the end of that 5th stanza. Garcia hurt him badly to the point that he turned his back in dismay but the American ran out of time. Still, the end was near.
Garcia stopped Campbell with a vicious body shot in the 7th round.
One of boxing’s newest superstars was visibly emotional after scoring the biggest win of his young boxing career.
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UFC World Reacts to Garcia’s Win
UFC superstar Conor McGregor seemed to be watching the big fight, too. McGregor answered a question posed by Compubox’s Dan Canobbio with a comedic response.
Cannobio posted a screenshot of boxing writer Gareth Davies and retired boxing champion Ricky Hatton: “Name this duo…wrong answers only”.
McGregor answered him.
But that wasn’t the strangest and/or even funniest post about the big boxing card. CBS Sports’ Brian Campbell, who covers boxing and MMA, noted the strange way DAZN’s Kate Abdo honored Garcia’s father before the fight began.
“You make them pretty. You make them athletic. That’s some good sperm you got there, sir,” Abdo said.
Bleacher Report’s Lyle Fitzsimmons, who covers boxing and MMA, did his best to keep the comedy going. The famed writer hailed Garcia-Campbell the early leader for Fight of the Year.
Of course, it’s only January 2.
Still, there were some serious takes. UFC welterweight contender Gilbert Burns loved the vicious body punch.
Middleweight contender Deron Winn was happy for Garcia. The UFC fighter pointed out that some people were rooting against the young superstar simply because he was so popular.
UFC heavyweight Francis Ngannou was rooting for Garcia to score the win.
ESPN’s Ariel Helwani was also impressed with Garcia.
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Boxing World Reacts to Garcia’s KO
Boxing superstar Saul “Canelo” Alvarez was there to support his stablemate. Both Alvarez and Garcia are trained by Eddie Reynoso, and boxing’s top pound-for-pound superstar was ready to embrace Garcia after his huge win.
Women’s boxing champion Claressa Shields, who recently began a move over to MMA to compete for the Professional Fighters League, was happy to see that kind of love.
Award-winning boxing writer David Greisman was also impressed with Garcia’s win.
Former 154-pound champion Julian “J-Rock” Wiliams called the punch “beautiful”.
Garcia told me before the fight for Bleacher Report that he planned to call out fellow rising star Gervonta “Tank” Davis after his big win.
Garcia stayed true to his word.
Now, even bigger and better fights seem to be on the way for the fighter.
‘Real Talk With Kelsey and Rachel’ Reacts to Garcia’s KO
Watch Rachel and I chat about the big fight on the latest episode of “Real Talk With Kelsey and Rachel”.
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YouTube: Real Talk with Kelsey and Rachel