Ryan Garcia returned to the win column against Oscar Duarte in Houston.
Garcia needed a win after losing to Gervonta 'Tank' Davis in February. Fans and pundits were surprised that he agreed to face Duarte, who had won his previous 11 fights via stoppage.
In Round 1, Garcia started aggressively and kept his feet moving in an attempt to open up new angles.
He continued that trend throughout the fight, never staying in one spot for long.
The two fighters exchanged heavy blows for the first time in Round 3, with both Garcia and Duarte getting their share of shots in. Garcia leaned back on a few occasions which opened things up for Duarte, but Garcia was able to counter and never stayed on the back foot for long.
Duarte hit a ducking and turning Garcia in the back of the head with a forearm early in Round 4, for which the referee gave Duarte a warning. Things stalled for the next minute until the two exchanged brief combos late in the round.
Garcia kept moving all match long, and his punches landed heavily in Round 7 with a couple in the last 10 seconds of the round.
It was more of the same from Garcia to begin Round 8. Duarte began to look more tired and took more chances with his punches. Garcia took advantage of a risky Duarte jab by responding with a left-handed jab of his own, which started the final flurry of strikes with 30 seconds left in the round.
After that hard lefty jab, Garcia threw a flurry of punches to take Duarte near the corner. Another combo saw Duarte stumble backwards into the ropes, and that was it.
Garcia got a much-needed knockout win, and now the question is who he will face next. After the fight, he said he wants to become a champion and that he has WBA junior welterweight champion Rolando "Rolly" Romero on his radar.