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Ryan Garcia bounces back from first professional loss with knockout win over Oscar Duarte

Ryan Garcia (right) versus Oscar Duarte. Photo credit: Cris Esqueda/Golden Boy Promotions

Junior welterweight Ryan Garcia 24-1 (20) returned to the win column with an eighth-round knockout of Oscar Duarte 26-2 (21) in their 12-round 143-pound catchweight bout at the Toyota Center in Houston, Texas on Saturday night.

In his first fight back since April when he was stopped by a body shot from Gervonta ‘Tank’ Davis 29-0 (27) in the seventh round, Garcia was out to show what he had learned under the tutelage of new coach Derrick James.

Garcia was up on his toes for the first couple of rounds, circling the ring and landing hard shots from range. The 27-year-old Duarte followed him, but was rarely able to close the distance.

In the third and fourth Garcia was able to get the better of the action on the inside too. His defence largely consisted of covering up and ducking to his right, a poor imitation of the shoulder roll that left his back exposed to Duarte’s blows.

Duarte came on in the fifth and sixth, banging away at any part of Garcia’s body that was available. His volume dipped in the seventh and in the eighth a left hook followed by a right cross from Garcia had Duarte visibly hurt.

Never one to let an opponent off the hook, the 25-year-old Garcia unloaded on Duarte until he collapsed to the canvas.

Referee James Green administered the count and although Duarte was on his feet just before ten, the fight was waved off with little protest. The official time of the stoppage was 2:51 with Garcia leading on all three judges’ cards with scores of 69-64 and 68-65 and 68-65.

“I just had to slow his momentum down,” said Garcia. “He was building momentum, momentum and I was like, ‘Man, I gotta cut this off somehow’… He was a strong fighter. He took a good punch… I hit him with some hard shots and he just kept coming.

“It was tough. It was very tough… I have the killer instinct. Sometimes when I hurt somebody that bad, I just be cracking them.”

After the fight Garcia called out WBA junior welterweight titleholder Rolando ‘Rolly’ Romero 15-1 (13).

“I’m committing to becoming a world champion,” Garcia said. “If Rollys wants that, bring it on Rollys. I know you talk a lot. Let’s get that going, Rollys. Where you at?”

He also took aim at Romero’s last opponent, 40-year-old Venezuelan southpaw Ismael Barroso 24-4-2 (22), who he fought for the vacant belt in his last bout in May. It proved to be a tougher than expected fight with Romero trailing on all three judges’ cards by scores of 75-76, 74-77 and 73-78 at the time of the ninth-round stoppage.

“You got beat up by that old dude,” Garcia said. “We know what happened. Don’t be trying to fake it.”