On Saturday, Jan. 28, Premier Boxing Champions and Showtime hosted Frampton vs. Santa Cruz from the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.
In the night’s co-main event, lightweight Mikey Garcia remained unbeaten with a “Knockout of the Year” contender over Dejan Zlaticanin. The fight ended at 2:21 of the third round. With the violent finish, Garcia catpured the WBC lightweight title.
“I’m very happy he’s ok and I’m glad he was able to recover from that. The natural response is to be celebrating and to be cheerful, but then concern does kick in when I saw he was still laying there for a few minutes. I’m glad he’s ok,” said Garcia post-fight.
“I was just getting ready to pick it up a little bit and I got between the ropes and then he hit me with a good, hard punch,” said the losing Zlaticanin.
Garcia is now a three-time world champion, holding the WBC lightweight, WBO junior lightweight and The Ring featherweight titles.
Garcia added more at the post-fight conference (click above to watch video), “I think it was a great performance. I fought smart and I kept the distance and controlled the range. We had a great game plan; to stick to my jab and my left hand was going to be key and I needed to follow through with my right hand. I was able to connect and hurt him.
“I was always in shape and I was always active. I think the layoff allowed me to reignite my fire and my passion and bring back that love for the sport. And in that two-and-a-half-year layoff I always had the support of my loyal fans. I really appreciate the love and support of all the fans.
“He kept coming in and I saw the opportunity for the uppercut. He was hurt. When he turned back to look at me I knew he was hurt and I went for the overhand right. He was really hurt there and I saw it in his eyes. It was just the perfect time and perfect distance.
“I’m available to unify any titles. If we can get the organizations to come together and unify titles we would love that. Maybe move up to 140 pounds by the end of the year.”
Below are photos shot by Amanda Armstrong for Combat Press. Click an image for a larger version.