Robert Garcia of Oxnard became the first world champion from Ventura County when he beat Harold Warren by unanimous decision Friday night for the vacant International Boxing Federation junior-lightweight championship at Miccosukee Indian Gaming Reservation in Miami.
Garcia, 23, outpointed the 37-year-old Warren with effective lead rights and left-right combinations to the head.
In another bout, 1996 U.S. Olympian Fernando Vargas of Oxnard stopped Dan Connolly of Pittsburgh 40 seconds into the second round.
Garcia (30-0), who trains at La Colonia Youth Boxing Club under the direction of his father, Eduardo Garcia, was given a 116-112 decision by judges John Stewart and Gerald Maltz, while Ric Bays favored him, 119-109.
"This feels great," Garcia said. "It's one of the greatest feelings I've ever had."
In the final three rounds, Garcia used his footwork to avoid Warren (38-10) and scored with left jabs and chopping rights to the head.
"Robert is a bit of a runner, and he stayed away from my shots," said Warren, from Corpus Christi, Texas. "I wasn't able to get close. He's a world champion and I give my hat to him."
Garcia said he knew Warren would be a formidable foe.
"I knew it was going to be a difficult fight," Garcia said. "We trained hard for over two months. We came and we fought perfectly."