Frampton vs Santa Cruz II: Mikey Garcia knocks out Dejan Zlaticanin in third round

Mikey Garcia produced a 'Knockout of the Year' contender as he stopped Dejan Zlaticanin with a thunderous right hand

Mikey Garcia became a three-weight world champion by ripping the WBC lightweight title from Dejan Zlaticanin with a sensational third-round knockout.

The hard-hitting Californian produced a brutal finish, a right uppercut, leaving the champion open for a trademark right to send him down.

Referee Tony Weeks didn't even need to count and initially Zlaticanin lay motionless under the ropes but thankfully recovered and eventually got up, to the relief of the new WBC champion at 135lbs and the MGM Grand crowd.

Garcia was expected to struggle against the unbeaten southpaw but made light of Zlaticanin's early pressure, happy to stay behind the jab on the back foot.

Mikey Garcia (R) knocks out Dejan Zlaticanin with a right in the third round of their WBC lightweight title fight at MGM Grand
Image: Garcia (right) knocks out Zlaticanin with a right in the third round

A lovely right counter set the tone within seconds of the opening bell and by the end of the opening round, the champion's face was reddened with constant shots landing.

Zlaticanin tried to respond in the second, but with the left working up and down and Garcia's fearsome right permanently cocked, as soon as he landed one of his power-shots flush, the coveted WBC belt looked to be staying in America.

Referee Tony Weeks checks on Dejan Zlaticanin after he was knocked out by Mikey Garcia (R) in the third round
Image: Referee Tony Weeks checks on Zlaticanin after the vicious knockout

Garcia's jab led the way and as Zlaticanin hustled in midway through the third, the 29-year-old span him round, launched a right uppercut through the guard that had him in immediate trouble.

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The man from Montenegro stumbled forward but before he could get away, a simple left cuff from Garcia set up the right to finish him off.

Garcia refused to celebrate until he knew Zlaticanin was okay, but was soon being hailed as American's latest three-weight world champion having held titles at feather and super-featherweight before the two-and-a-half year spell out of the game.

Mikey Garcia (R) poses with referee Tony Weeks after knocking out Dejan Zlaticanin in the third round to win the WBC lightweight
Image: Garcia is now a three-weight world champion

"I am glad my opponent is okay," he said.

"I never wish anything bad happens to anyone in the sport and I am glad he has recovered, could get up and is okay.

Mikey Garcia knocked out Dejan Zlaticanin in the third round to become the WBC lightweight champion.

"I think it was a great performance. I fought smart, I kept the distance and controlled the range and we had a game-plan to stick to my jab and my left was going to be key."

WBA champion Jorge Linares was ringside watching on, with Garcia already looking for a unification fight against the winner of his March rematch with Manchester's Anthony Crolla.

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