Two months ago, Romero Duno accused Ryan Garcia of ducking him after their last-minute negotiations fell apart. Last night, Garcia humbled Duno and silenced his detractors will an emphatic first-round knockout to move him in contention for a world title.
Fully exploiting his height and reach advantages, Garcia fought tall behind the jab as Duno searched for an opening to get inside. Garcia found distance quickly and Duno absorbed hard right hands for lingering at the mid-range. That fatal mistake set up the final sequence with Garcia strafing him with a 1-2 that caused a delayed knockdown.
Duno collapsed just in time to avoid a left hook and referee Tony Weeks saw he was in no condition to continue.
Before last night, Duno was ranked #4 in the WBO with Garcia listed at #6. The dominant win puts Garcia in consideration to become the #1 contender for current title-holder and Pound 4 Pound talent Vasyl Lomachenko.
While it’s conceivable that Garcia could become the WBO mandatory for Lomancheko’s belt sometime in the first half of 2020, that fight won’t be happening anytime soon, if ever.
Top Rank, who promotes Lomachenko’s fights exclusively through ESPN, has their own in-house fight in play with the winner of the eventual Richard Commey (IBF) vs. Teofimo Lopez fight getting a crack at Loma (Lopez is the current WBO #1 contender). Those two fights would carry us into next summer at the earliest and Lomachenko may then vacate for the 140 division.
So what does Garcia do in the meantime? The 21-year old has a myriad of options thanks to being ranked in the Top 10 of three sanctioning bodies (WBA, IBF, WBO) and Top 15 in the fourth (WBC).
While the rumblings are growing for Garcia to face his blue-chip rival Devin Haney, who holds the WBC regular strap, Garcia should next target the UK’s Lee Selby, who just scored a wide decision win over Ricky Burns last weekend. It’s a winnable fight for the younger and rangier Garcia and also expands his profile across the pond. If Selby’s PBC affiliation proves problematic at the negotiating table, Garcia’s team could look Lou DiBella fighter Emmanuel Tagoe.
Tagoe is presently ranked in the Top 5 of both the WBO and IBF, making him an ideal candidate to keep Garcia’s standing high while building to either a Haney and or Lomachenko showdown in late 2020.
Garcia threw other names in the hat during the post-fight presser, stating his preference for either Luke Campbell or Jorge Linares for his next bout.
While Garcia’s next few opponents aren’t set in stone, we do know we now have a bonafide contender and potential world champion in our midst with Ryan Garcia. Just ask Romero Duno…