Lamont Roach claimed the WBA super featherweight title with a split decision victory over Hector Luis Garcia. The thrilling bout unfolded as the opening spectacle on the Showtime Pay-Per-View's undercard featuring David Benavidez and Demetrius Andrade.
Roach (24-1-1, 9 KOs), in his second attempt at a 130-pound world title, emerged victorious after a closely contested battle against the Dominican southpaw Garcia (16-2-1, 10 KOs, 3 NC). The 28-year-old from Upper Marlboro, Maryland, showcased resilience and determination to secure the biggest triumph of his career.
The fight, which took place on Saturday night, saw Roach hurting Garcia in the 11th round and earning a questionable knockdown in the 12th round. The judges' scorecards reflected the intensity of the bout, with Max De Luca scoring it 114-113 and Robert Hoyle scoring it 116-111 in favor of Roach. However, Judge Tim Cheatham scored the fight 114-113 for Garcia.
The bout had the potential to end in a split draw, but Roach's credited knockdown in the 12th round tipped the scales in his favor. Roach's victory marked a significant redemption, especially considering his loss in his first title fight four years ago against Jamel Herring. Garcia, a former champion, faced his second consecutive defeat, having previously been stopped by Gervonta Davis earlier this year. Despite the outcome, the competitive nature of the fight showcased the resilience of both fighters.
In the latter rounds, Roach strategically landed effective blows, including a right hand that rocked Garcia in the 11th round. The drama continued in the 12th round, with Roach scoring a debatable knockdown, eliciting controversy and discussions about the fairness of the call. Lamont Roach now eyes his reign as the WBA super featherweight champion, marking a triumphant chapter in his boxing journey.