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.”

Raul Curiel Earns TKO Win Over Ramses Agaton

Raul Curiel is celebrating a strong performance…

The 25-year-old Mexican professional boxer came out of the gate fast and never relented, battering Ramses Agaton for four-plus minutes on his way to a one-sided, second-round TKO victory.

Raul Curiel

Curiel (9-0, 7 KOs) focused on the body early on, and a left hook to the liver buckled Agaton, who fell to his knee in frustration.

The fight appeared to be on the brink of a stoppage at the end of Round 1 after a flurry of punches against the ropes, but Agaton (22-13-3, 12 KOs) lasted long enough to hear the bell at the end of the round.

The aggression didn’t stop with the start of Round 2, though, as a perpetual barrage of right hooks and left uppercuts from Curiel landed consistently. Agaton, whose right eye swelled shut, was unable to protect himself and his corner threw in the towel at 1:16.

According to CompuBox data, Curiel outlanded Agaton 43-10 despite throwing virtually the same number of punches (108 for Curiel, 107 for Agaton).

UFC’s Dominick Cruz to Fight Casey Kenney in March

Dominick Cruz is heading back to the Octagon

The 35-year-old Mexican American professional mixed martial artist and former UFC bantamweight champion (22-3) has agreed to fight up-and-comer Casey Kenney (16-2-1) at UFC 259 on March 6, according to ESPN.

Dominick Cruz

The fight will mark Cruz’s first non-title bout in more than six years. He last fought in May, when he lost to then-bantamweight champion Henry Cejudo via second-round TKO.

That was Cruz’s first fight in 3 1/2 years. His last victory came in June 2016 at UFC 199 versus rival Urijah Faber.

Cruz, a former WEC 135-pound champion as well, has been dealing with a litany of leg and upper body injuries for almost 10 years.

Kenney, 29, has won three fights in a row and five of six in the UFC. He most recently defeated Nathaniel Wood via unanimous decision in October.

The event doesn’t have a headliner just yet, nor does it have a confirmed location.

Julio Cesar Martinez to Defend His WBC Flyweight World Title Against Francisco Rodriguez Jr.

Julio Cesar Martinez is going on the defensive yet again…

The 25-year-old Mexican professional boxer and WBC flyweight world titleholder will defend his belt against Francisco Rodriguez Jr. on the Canelo AlvarezCallum Smith undercard on December 19 at the Alamodome in San Antonio.

Julio Cesar Martinez

Martinez (17-1, 13 KOs) won the title in a ninth-round TKO victory over Cristofer Rosales in December 2019. He defended the belt twice this year, a unanimous decision victory against Jay Harris in February and a second-round TKO of Moises Calleros in October.

Martinez, who lost his pro debut in 2015, has gone 17-0 with one no-contest since then. He’s trained by Eddy Reynoso, who also trains Alvarez.

Rodriguez Jr. (33-4-1, 24 KOs) is a former strawweight world titlist. After losing back-to-back decisions against Donnie Nietes and Moises Fuentes in 2015, Rodriguez, 27, has won 14 straight bouts, 12 by stoppage.

Also on the undercard, super middleweight blue-chip prospect Diego Pacheco (10-0, 8 KOs) will face Rodolfo Gomez Jr. (14-4-1, 10 KOs) in an eight-round battle.

Canelo Alvarez to Fight Callum Smith Next Month in Texas

Canelo Alvarez is heading back to the ring…

Following months of conflict between the 30-year-old Mexican boxer, his promoters and his broadcast partners, Alvarez is finally ready to rumble.

Canelo Alvarez

Alvarez will meet Callum Smith in Texas this December to unify WBA super middleweight titles, according to ESPN. This will be Alvarez’s first appearance since his 11th-round TKO victory over Sergey Kovalev in November 2019.

The target dates for the fight are December 18, 19 or 20.

Alvarez (53-1-2, 36 KOs) faces “Mundo” Smith (27-0, 19 KOs) after he announced himself as a free agent last week. His first business partner will be Eddie Hearn of Matchroom Boxing. It’s very possible that DAZN, the broadcaster partner Alvarez was working with before severing ties with longtime promoter Golden Boy Promotions, could carry the fight in the U.S.

The fight — targeted for AT&T Stadium, home of the Dallas Cowboys in Arlington, Texas, or the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas — will come a year after a meeting in Phoenix, Arizona, where Smith’s trainer, Joe Gallagher, spent a few minutes with Eddy Reynoso, Alvarez’s trainer, to tell him about his interest in an Alvarez-Smith fight.

Smith, 20, is seven inches taller than Alvarez and has about eight inches reach advantage. Smith, like Alvarez, hasn’t fought since last November when he scored a contested unanimous decision victory over John Ryder.

Smith is the WBA “super” super middleweight world titlist, and Alvarez has the WBA “regular” belt, but the fight could also be for the WBC super middleweight title that was left vacant when David Benavidez missed weight for his fight against Roamer Alexis Angulo in August and was stripped of the belt.

Alvarez starts a new era as his own promoter with a title fight against a legit opponent. Smith is considered one of the elite fighters in the division, and is ranked No. 1 by ESPN.

Felix Verdejo to Fight Masayoshi Nakatani in December

Felix Verdejo will be returning to the ring next month…

The 27-year-old Puerto Rican professional boxer and lightweight contender will fight Masayoshi Nakatani on December 12, Top Rank vice president Carl Moretti has told The Athletic.

Felix Verdejo

The fight will be the co-main event of a Top Rank card at the MGM Grand Conference Center in Las Vegas.

Verdejo (27-1, 17 KOs) was injured in a motorcycle accident in August 2016 but returned to the ring six months later and has a record of 5-1 since then, including an impressive first-round TKO victory over Will Madera in July.

Japan’s Nakatani (18-1, 12 KOs) made his U.S. debut in July 2019 and was the first fighter to take Teofimo Lopez the distance, losing a hard-fought unanimous decision at the MGM National Harbor in Oxon Hill, Maryland.

Top Rank is still looking for a replacement main event after Miguel Berchelt tested positive for COVID-19 and his fight against Oscar Valdez was postponed.

Former featherweight titlist Shakur Stevenson offered to step in for Berchelt and told ESPN on Tuesday that he had asked his team to inquire about the possibility of fighting Valdez on short notice.

Dominick Reyes In Talks to Fight Jiri Prochazka in a February UFC Fight Night Event

Dominick Reyes is thisclose to a headline fight…

The UFC is working on a light heavyweight fight between 30-year-old Mexican American mixed martial artist and Jiri Prochazka in February, according to UFC president Dana White.

Dominick Reyes

White tells ESPN the 205-pound contest will headline a UFC Fight Night on February 27. The UFC hasn’t yet announced an official venue for any of its events in 2021.

Reyes (12-2) nearly won the light heavyweight title twice this year. He came up just short in a decision loss to then-champion Jon Jones at UFC 247 in February in a five-round bout many felt Reyes won.

Reyes was granted another title shot after Jones vacated the belt this summer but suffered a TKO loss Jan Blachowicz.

Prochazka (27-3-1), a native of the Czech Republic, made a spectacular UFC debut in July on Yas Island in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, knocking out former title challenger Volkan Oezdemir in the second round at UFC 251. It was the 24th win by knockout in Prochazka’s professional career.

Juan Francisco Estrada Defeats Carlos Cuadras in 11th-round TKO

Juan Francisco Estrada is one step closer to a rematch…

The 30-year-old Mexican professional boxer and WBC junior flyweight world titleholder has done his part to get a rematch with Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez, who beat him in 2012, by defeating Carlos Cuadras in an 11th-round TKO Friday night at the TV Azteca Studio in Mexico City.

Juan Francisco Estrada

But it didn’t come easy, as Estrada had to recover from an early knockdown before stopping Cuadras late in the fight.

Estrada-Cuadras was itself a rematch of a 2017 bout that saw Estrada defeat Cuadras by a single point on all three of the judges’ cards in a 12-round fight, with the difference being a knockdown by Estrada in the 10th round.

On Friday, Estrada (40-3, 28 KOs) hit the deck in the third round when he was clipped by a right uppercut-left hook combination from Cuadras (40-4, 27 KOs). But Estrada was able to get up and control the next several rounds with precise punching, accuracy and power.

Cuadras had his moments, but he simply couldn’t match the power of Estrada’s thumping shots to the body. At times you could see Estrada hurting Cuadras with attacks to the body. To his credit, though, Cuadras mustered up enough offense to take Round 10 on the scorecards.

But at the beginning of the 11th, a three-punch combination by Estrada sent Cuadras crumbling to the floor. While it was obvious that he was on his last legs, Cuadras was able to continue and attempted to trade punches with Estrada again, and Estrada responded by hitting Cuadras again with a straight right hand that knocked Cuadras down for the second time in the round. It looked as if the fight was over, but somehow Cuadras got back to his feet once more, and showed incredible courage in letting his hands go and exchanging blows with Estrada.

Cuadras landed a few of his punches, but they simply lacked the steam and velocity in response to what was coming back his way. Finally, a right hand that snapped Cuadras’ head back forced the referee to stopped the fight at 2:22 of Round 11.

And with that, Estrada looks forward to a long-awaited rematch with Gonzalez.

Marlon Moraes to Reportedly Fight Rob Font at Final UFC Fight Night of the Year

Marlon Moraes is hoping to prove the comeback is bigger than the setback…

The 32-year-old Brazilian mixed martial artist, a former UFC bantamweight title challenger, will take on Rob Font at a UFC Fight Night event in Las Vegas on December 19.

Marlon Moraes 

The UFC hasn’t officially announced the 135-pound bout, but ESPN sources confirmed have confirmed that both sides have agreed to it. MMAJunkie first reported the matchup and date.

It’s a quick turnaround for Moraes (23-7-1), who just suffered a second-round knockout loss to Cory Sandhagen in the main event of a UFC event October 10 on “Fight Island.”

Moraes fought for the UFC title in June 2019, but came up short in a TKO loss to Henry Cejudo. He is 2-1 in his past three bouts, with the win coming against Jose Aldo via split decision.

Font (14-4), of Boston, will be looking for the biggest win of his career. He has been a mainstay in the UFC’s rankings for a while, but has come up short in key matchups against John LinekerPedro Munhoz and Raphael Assuncao. He is 7-3 overall in the UFC.

The UFC hasn’t yet announced a main event for the UFC Fight Night, which will mark the final UFC event of 2020.

Dusty Hernández-Harrison to Fight WBO Middleweight Champ Demetrius Andrade in November

Dusty Hernández-Harrison is taking on a champ…

The 26-year-old Puerto Rican professional boxer will fight WBO middleweight champ Demetrius Andrade in a 10-round non-title fight on November 27 at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood, Florida.

Dusty Hernández-Harrison

The card, which also features former two-time titlist Daniel Jacobs vs. Gabe Rosado, will take place without fans in attendance due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Andrade (29-0, 18 KOs) is fighting for the first time since he stopped Luke Keeler with a ninth-round TKO in January.

The undefeated Harrison (34-0-1, 20 KOs) sees this as a chance to stamp himself as a world-class fighter.

“This is the opportunity I have been waiting for my entire life,” Harrison said. “This is why I started boxing. All of the time I have dedicated to this sport, I finally get my opportunity to show the world who I am and what I am capable of. … Demetrius talks a big game and says he is the boogeyman of the division, but who has he fought?”

Harrison said he isn’t impressed by Andrade.

“He goes out, fights whoever it is, runs around the ring, picks up a win and goes back to running his mouth,” Harrison said. “He says that he is one of the best pound-for-pound fighters in the world. OK, so be it. On November 27, I take his spot.

“I know that people are going to doubt me going into this fight, and that is fine. That fuels my energy. Keep doubting me. Andrade doesn’t know what he got himself into. He better be ready when we step into that ring because I’m coming for him.”