Fast-rising teenager Elijah Garcia (14-0, 12 KOs) rose to the occasion in a massive step-up fight, dropping and stopping previously undefeated middleweight contender Amilcar Vidal, Jr. (16-1, 12 KOs) with a barrage of punches at 2:17 of the fourth round.
From the opening bell, Garcia initiated a two-way action fight that came to a sudden end when Vidal was stunned by a right hand to the head and retreated against the ropes in search of cover. The 19-year-old Garcia sensed he had hurt his opponent and pounced, unleashing a flurry of punches that dropped Vidal and forced referee Jack Reiss to stop the fight.
“This is what everyone dreams of, so this isn’t a surprise,” said Phoenix’s Garcia, who has now stopped six of his last seven opponents. “This is what I worked for since I turned pro so we’re going to keep moving forward one step at a time.”
Through just three-and-a-half rounds of a back-and-forth affair, both fighters were bloodied and combined for 189 punches landed and 593 punches thrown. The power punches were the difference in the fight as Garcia landed 54 percent of his power punches to Vidal’s 46 percent. In the fourth round, Garcia landed 62 percent of his power punches including the all-decisive final blows.
“I stay ready and mentally I’m strong,” Garcia continued. “I know mentally I might have lost the first couple of rounds, but I was breaking him down. He started backing up. He’s a great opponent. No disrespect to him. I caught him and I finished him. I’m not sure what I hurt him with, but I know I hurt him and for me being 19 I have the maturity to tell if they’re hurt or not.”
After emphatically announcing himself to the boxing world in his national television debut, Garcia promised that his newly earned fans would be seeing plenty more of him.
“I might become a champion before I’m 21 or 22,” he said. “I might be ahead of schedule."