Ryan Garcia had a startling revelation about his first fight following his lone career defeat.
The 25-year-old boxing star knocked out Mexico’s Oscar Duarte in the eighth round of their DAZN headliner this past Saturday from Toyota Center in Houston, Texas. The fight came more than seven months after Garcia was dropped twice and counted out in his April 22 blockbuster clash versus Gervonta ‘Tank’ Davis (29-0. 27KOs) in Las Vegas.
Still, Garcia found himself more startled by the power of the fighter he beat than the one who ruined his previously unblemished record.
“I’m not gonna lie, this was scarier than fighting Tank,” Garcia insisted during the post-fight press conference. “He had a hard punch. He punches hard. I don’t ever complain (in the ring) but he hit me so hard in the back of the head. I was actually more worried in this fight than in the Tank fight. The Tank fight was just like a boxing match, okay, he’s moving around.
“This fight, I was like oh shit he’s trying to beat my ass. He has the power to knock your ass out, so I had to be very cautious.”
Both fighters were warned for different fouls in their scheduled twelve-round bout above the junior welterweight limit. Duarte was issued two hard warnings for hitting behind the head, but Garcia used his legs and size advantage to get out of harm’s way long enough to avoid any significant damage.
His own power ultimately ended the fight. A left hook wobbled Duarte (26-2-1, 21KOs), who eventually fell after an assortment of power shots. Garcia (24-1, 20KOs) was tagged quite a few times with Duarte’s left hook prior to that point but never came close to touching the canvas and ultimately prevailed with his first win in 17 months.
“His power was strong but I was surprised by his chin,” admitted Garcia. “The first round I was catching him clean and he looked like he was just eating them. By the first and second round, I thought he would go by the third. Then the third, I knew I had to keep putting more pressure on him.
“I got to try to stop his momentum somehow. I knew he was tough. I had to fight with some grit and finally find the knockout.”
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. X (formerly Twitter): @JakeNDaBox