Ryan Garcia Survives First Career Knockdown to Claim TKO Victory Over Luke Campbell

Ryan Garcia is living up to the hype…

The 22-year-old Mexican American boxer survived an early knockdown to notch a stunning, seventh-round, TKO victory over Luke Campbell on Saturday night.

Ryan Garcia

In front of roughly 6,000 fans at the American Airlines Center in Dallas, Garcia won the interim WBC lightweight title with a left hook to the body that sent Campbell to his knees. Campbell attempted to get to his feet by the end of the count, but referee Laurence Cole waved the fight off to give Garcia the TKO win.

For most of his career, Garcia (21-0, 18 KOs) has been known for a social media following that has overshadowed his ring credentials. With the victory, he said he showed he was more than an internet sensation.

“You’re not who people tell you [you] are,” Garcia said in his postfight interview on DAZN. “You’re who you choose to be. And I chose to be a champion tonight. I wasn’t going to let nothing stop me.”

Campbell (20-4, 16 KOs), a former title challenger and 2012 Olympic gold medalist, was billed as the toughest test of Garcia’s young career, and the British boxer lived up to that.

In the second round, Campbell dropped Garcia with a looping left hook that caught him on the chin. Garcia said it was the first time he had been knocked down in his career.

“I think I got a little too excited over the moment,” said Garcia, who was carried into the ring seated on a throne while wearing a gold crown.

But “King Ry” responded in the third round, regaining his bearings and nearly ending the fight in the fifth. Garcia hit Campbell with a left hook at the bell that sent Campbell staggering into the ropes. Two rounds later, Garcia picked up the most significant win of his career.

Campbell had never been stopped in his pro career, even in title fights against Vasiliy Lomachenko and Jorge Linares. Garcia and Campbell both noted that following Saturday’s bout.

“That was the hardest shot I was ever hit with,” Campbell said. “I tried and tried to get up, but I couldn’t. I felt him coming on, and I was moving back, and when you move back, my body relaxed a little bit, and that’s the exact time he hit me.”

Garcia added, “I showed today that I’m special.”

Campbell agreed with that, saying of Garcia in a tweet afterward, “Well done and a massive future ahead for him. I wish him all the best.”

Garcia joined the ranks of young, promising fighters in the lightweight division. Teofimo Lopez, 23, won three of the four belts in the 135-pound division when he beat Lomachenko in October 2019. Devin Haney, 22, holds the WBC‘s top belt.

But the fighter Garcia said he wants the most is Gervonta “Tank” Davis, 26, who holds one of the WBA’s secondary belts and is coming off an impressive knockout victory over Leo Santa Cruz in October.

“I really want to be a man of my word,” Garcia said. “I really want to fight Tank. I know people are worried about it [happening], but I’m ready for it.”

Leo Santa Cruz to Defend WBA Junior Lightweight Title Against Gervonta Davis on Halloween

Leo Santa Cruz is ready for a Halloween rumble….

The title fight between the 32-year-old Mexican professional boxer and Gervonta “Tank” Davis, one of the biggest events of 2020, has been moved to October 31 at San Antonio’s Alamodome, the two junior lightweight fighters have announced.

Leo Santa Cruz

The bout, which will be broadcast on Showtime PPV, is tentatively scheduled to be the first American combat sports event to allow fans since COVID-19 became a pandemic. The number of fans who’ll be in attendance has not been announced.

Santa Cruz (37-1, 19 KOs), ranked eighth among junior lightweights, will be defending the primary WBA junior lightweight belt.

Davis (23-0, 22 KOs) is the No. 4 lightweight in ESPN‘s divisional rankings.

Santa Cruz is coming off a unanimous decision against Miguel Flores last November. Davis most recently fought in December, when he stopped veteran Yuriorkis Gamboa.

Davis, 25, needed two attempts to make the 135-pound weight limit for the Gamboa bout. The October 31 fight against Santa Cruz will be at the junior lightweight limit of 130 pounds.

Under current state guidelines, Texas allows 50% of a stadium’s capacity for sporting events. The indoor venue has a listed capacity of 32,000 for boxing events but seats 64,000 for football. Last weekend, the announced attendance for UTSA‘s football win over Middle Tennessee was 6,182.

Smaller cards around the country have hosted fans in attendance since the pandemic forced restrictions nationwide. But every major bout has been conducted in a closed environment with no paid spectators.

Premier Boxing Champions, which unofficially promotes Davis and Santa Cruz, held a Showtime PPV event last weekend at the Mohegan Sun in Connecticut featuring Jermall Charlo and Jermell Charlo. It was PBC‘s first major event since the COVID-19 shutdown.

Marlen Esparza to Fight Lucia Nunez in March

Marlen Esparzais ready to rumble…

The 30-year-old Mexican American boxer will box on Golden Boy Promotions’ “Thursday Night Fights” series (DAZN/RingTV.com, 10:00 pm ET) on March 19 at the Avalon in Hollywood, California.

Marlen Esparza

Esparza joins a card that includes Joet Gonzalezand Lamont Roach, all coming off decision losses in world title bouts.

Esparza (7-1, 1 KO), who was a 2012 U.S. Olympicbronze medalist, will face Lucia Nunez(7-10), 29, of Mexico, in a six-round, women’s junior bantamweight bout.

In Esparza’s last fight, on November 2 in Las Vegas on the Canelo AlvarezSergey Kovalevundercard, she lost a ninth-round technical decision because of a bad cut from an accidental head-butt against rival Seniesa Estradafor a vacant interim women’s flyweight title.

“I’m ready to get back in the ring,” Esparza said. “There were multiple factors that made this last fight a real learning experience, but this next round of professional boxing is just the beginning of much more. I’m looking forward to coming out with the new strategies that I’ve been learning and switching up my game a bit.”

Gonzalez (23-1, 14 KOs), 26, of Glendora, California, will square off with former world title challenger Chris Avalos (27-7, 20 KOs), 30, of Lancaster, California, in a 10-round featherweight fight.

Gonzalez will be fighting for the first time since he faced bitter rival Shakur Stevenson for a vacant featherweight world title on October 26 in Reno, Nevada, and lost a near-shutout decision.

“I can’t wait to step back into the ring,” Gonzalez said. “I fought for a world title, so I know what it’s like to be at that level. Now, I’ll be coming back with an even stronger desire to become a world champion. This March 19, I will not disappoint.”

Avalos has lost two fights in a row but has vast experience, including in losses in world title bouts to Carl Frampton and Leo Santa Cruz and to Oscar Valdezin a nontitle bout.

“We’re coming to win,” Avalos said. “We’re back on track. The old Chris Avalos is back. (Gonzalez) may think I’m a joke. You may think I’m washed up. But I’m coming to kick your ass. Keep your hands (up) or you will see what happens.”

Roach (19-1-1, 7 KOs), 24, of Washington, will face Neil John Tabanao(17-7, 11 KOs), 25, of the Philippines, in a 10-round junior lightweight bout in the co-feature.

Roach will be in the ring for the first time since he lost a competitive unanimous decision as the mandatory challenger for 130-pound world titlist Jamel Herringon November 9 in Fresno, California.

“I’ve been itching to get back in that square to show that I’m the best at 130,” Roach said. “My last fight was just a glimpse, but this year it’s all the way up with me.”

Tabanao is coming off three 10-round decision losses in a row, all against undefeated fighters.

“I’m looking forward to this fight against Lamont Roach Jr.,” Tabanao said. “I know that he’s coming off his first loss and that he wants to fight for a world title again. However, I more experience than he, and I know how to score an upset.”

Leo Santa Cruz to Vie for a Belt in a Fourth Weight Division Against Miguel Flores

Leo Santa Cruz is looking for a fourth world title…

Premier Boxing Champions has announced that the 31-year-old Mexican professional boxer and featherweight world titlist will go for a belt in a fourth weight division when he moves up to junior lightweight to face Miguel Flores for a vacant 130-pound title.

Leo Santa Cruz

Santa Cruz (36-1-1, 19 KOs), who has won world titles at bantamweight, junior featherweight and featherweight, will leave behind the featherweight division having had two title reigns and having made three defenses in his current reign, but not having had the major fight he could have had: a title unification bout against fellow PBCfighter Gary Russell Jr.

“When I first started boxing my dream was to be a world champion, and I’ve been fortunate to win three different world championships in three different divisions,” Santa Cruz said. “I couldn’t imagine winning championships in four divisions. It’s something I never really dreamed of, and I’m very happy about this opportunity.

“I know Flores is another tough Mexican boxer like me. He always comes forward, so it’s going to be a fun fight for the fans. I’m really looking forward to fighting again in Las Vegas at MGM Grand.”

Santa Cruz was supposed to defend his featherweight belt against Flores (24-2, 12 KOs), 27, of Houston, on February 16 in Los Angeles, but Flores suffered an ankle injury and withdrew, and Santa Cruz instead outpointed Rafael Rivera in a one-sided fight.

Flores has won two fights in a row, both in the junior lightweight division.

“I’m extremely excited to be getting this opportunity once again to fight Leo Santa Cruz and win a world title,” Flores said. “This is a dream come true for me, and I’m going to take advantage of the situation.

“This moment in my life is something I’ve envisioned since I was a kid. On November 23, you will see the best version of myself as I plan to be in the best shape of my life, with the goal of becoming a world champion, and what better way to do it than in Las Vegas at MGM Grand. Leo and I are going to put on a great show, that you can guarantee.”

Santa Cruz to Defend His WBC Super Bantamweight Title Against Jesus Ruiz

Leo Santa Cruz is ready to repeat-peat-peat-peat…

The 26-year-old Mexican boxer, the reigning WBC Super Bantamweight champion, will be making his fourth title defense against Jesus Ruiz later this month, according to Golden Boy Promotions.

Leo Santa Cruz

The fight will take place on January 17 (Showtime, 10:00 pm ET) at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.

Santa Cruz, who won the IBF Bantamweight title in 2012 and defended it three times before vacating it to move up in weight, where he claimed another title, will be facing his second low-level opponent in a row. But he’s hoping to move on to bigger bouts after disposing of Ruiz.

“I feel great about my upcoming fight with Ruiz. He is a strong fighter, undefeated in the past two years and the kind of opponent I want to fight,” Santa Cruz said. “I want to put on a great show on January 17 and show boxing fans that I am a strong fighter ready to go to the next level and take on the top, tough fighters in the division: [unified champion] Guillermo Rigondeaux, [titleholder] Scott Quigg, [titleholder] Carl Frampton and [former titleholder] Abner Mares.”

Santa Cruz (28-0-1, 16 KOs), 26, who lives in Los Angeles, is coming off a one-sided, second-round blowout of journeyman Manuel Roman, his former sparring partner, in September.

Ruiz (33-5-5, 22 KOs), 25, also from Mexico, has won five fights in a row, but all against lesser opposition.

“I know many believe I have no chance, but I am well prepared and ready to give my all,” Ruiz said. “I am ready for war and ready to leave it all in the ring like a true Mexican warrior.”

Santa Cruz Defeats Manuel Roman to Retain His WBC World Super Bantamweight Title

Make that three in a row for Leo Santa Cruz

The 26-year-old Mexican professional boxer, the reigning WBC World Super Bantamweight Champion, retained his belt with little trouble on Saturday night at the MGM Grand as he defeated Manuel Roman with a single right hand in the second round.

Leo Santa Cruz

Santa Cruz (28-0-1, 16 KOs), a former bantamweight titlist before vacating that belt to move up in weight, retained his title for the third time.

Roman (17-3-3, 6 KOs) used to be one of Santa Cruz’s sparring partners and was not qualified to be in a world title fight. He was boxing in his first scheduled 12-round fight, has had only two 10-rounders and has been mainly fighting six- and eight-round fights.

“I threw the right and caught him just like we practiced,” Santa Cruz said. “I worked hard in the gym to make it easy in the ring.”

Santa Cruz made Roman look like he didn’t belong in the ring with him, winning the first round with a steady diet of hard punches and then dusting Roman with a right hand to the chin in the second round. Roman went down on his back and referee Robert Byrd counted him out at 55 seconds.

“I got caught cold with a right,” said Roman. “He just caught me. What can I say.”

Santa Cruz said he wants to fight a top opponent next and called out unified 122-pound champion Guillermo Rigondeaux.

“I did my job. That’s what I came for,” Santa Cruz said. “I’m not scared of anyone. I want Rigondeaux and I want my manager [Al Haymon] to make the fight to show I am the best.”

Santa Cruz Wins WBC World Super Bantamweight Championship

Leo Santa Cruz has earned his next boxing title…

The 25-year-old Mexican professional boxer stopped Victor Terrazas in the third round on Saturday night to win the WBC World Super Bantamweight Championship at the StubHub Center south of Hollywood.

Leo Santa Cruz

Santa Cruz (25-0-1, 15 KOs), the former IBF 118-pound champion picked up another impressive victory with a swift stoppage of Terrazas.

After controlling the first two rounds, Santa Cruz knocked his opponent down twice in the third round with a left hook and a big right hand. Terrazas got up both times, but referee Lou Moret stepped in with 51 seconds left in the third.

Terrazas (37-3-1), whose face was swollen after the first two rounds, won the vacant WBC title with a split decision over Cristian Mijares in April.

Santa Cruz has knocked out four of his last five opponents. He could be the next opponent for Abner Mares.