Picture: ISTOCK
Picture: ISTOCK

Los Angeles — US boxer Mikey Garcia unified the WBC and IBF lightweight titles late on Saturday by overpowering compatriot Robert Easter in a 12-round battle of undefeated champions.

The 30-year-old Garcia retained his WBC title and grabbed Easter’s IBF belt with a unanimous decision victory at Staples Center arena in downtown Los Angeles.

"It is a great accomplishment. Now we are back," said Garcia. "I prepared for the best.

"He gave a great fight but I was in control for most of the fight and I did what I had to do to win it."

Garcia seized control of the fight early on, flooring Easter in the third round with a left hook to the chin.

It was just the second time in his career that Easter had been knocked down.

"We wanted to land that right hand. It was a perfect punch around the chin," he said.

Easter recovered from the knockdown but failed to mount a sustained attack apart from using his jab, and was almost knocked down again in the ninth round.

Garcia is now 5-0 with two knockouts since returning from a 30-month exile from the sport due to a battle with promoter Top Rank.

The three judges scored it 118-109, 117-110 and 116-111 as Garcia improved to 39-0 overall after this fight, which marks a return to the lightweight division. He won a junior welterweight belt in February but had to vacate it to face Easter.

AFP