Ryan Garcia showcased a return to form in the ring as he secured a knockout victory over Oscar Duarte in the eighth round of their scheduled 12-round bout at Toyota Center in Houston.
This performance marked a crucial rebound for the 140-pound contender, especially considering recent challenges. Following his first career loss against Gervonta Davis in April, Garcia made significant changes. He parted ways with trainer Joe Goossen, relocated from Los Angeles to Dallas to work with Derrick James, and dealt with ongoing drama with his promoter, Golden Boy Promotions, just days before the fight.
Despite these hurdles, Garcia fought with the same intensity that earned him recognition in pre-Davis bouts against Luke Campbell and Javier Fortuna.
Employing a blend of effective stick-and-move boxing and powerful punches, Garcia controlled the fight against Duarte, a tough Mexican fighter with limited skills. Using his jab as a range finder, Garcia unleashed quick and precise power shots, including impressive uppercuts, often frustrating his opponent.
While Duarte found some success in Rounds 5 and 6 when Garcia became less mobile, Garcia returned to his elusive movement in Round 7, leaving Duarte unable to capitalize.
Despite Duarte's durability and ability to withstand numerous hard punches, a left hook to the temple in the eighth round proved decisive. Garcia followed up with a flurry of punches, prompting Duarte to take a knee. Although Duarte rose before the ten count, referee James Green halted the fight.
Post-victory, Garcia credited his "killer instinct" and the basic technical execution of countering with a left hook. Expressing gratitude to trainer Derrick James, Garcia sees this win as a starting point for a new chapter in his career.
Looking ahead, Garcia called out WBA titleholder Rolando Romero, expressing readiness for the challenge. However, he emphasized the importance of taking gradual steps and building on the victory before targeting fighters like Devin Haney in the competitive junior welterweight division.
With his massive following generating considerable interest, Garcia's impressive comeback positions him as an attractive opponent for top fighters in his weight class.