by Rick Reeno
MGM Grand, Las Vegas - Mikey Garcia (36-0, 30 KOs) secured a brutal third round knockout of previously undefeated Dejan Zlaticanin (announced as 18-1, 11 KOs in the arena, but 22-1, 15 KOs on boxrec) to capture the WBC lightweight title.
Garcia now becomes a three division world champion, with titles previously captured at featherweight and super featherweight.
Coming into this fight, Dejan was riding a streak of good wins - including decisions over Petr Petrov, Ricky Burns, Alex Bone, and a knockout of then unbeaten Ivan Redkach.
For Garcia, this was only his second fight since January of 2014. After finishing a long legal battle with former promoter Top Rank, Garcia returned to the ring last July and stopped former champion Elio Rojas in five rounds.
When the first round began on Saturday night, Garcia was working well behind the jab and allowing Dejan to come forward and picked him off with counters. Garcia continued to land good shots on Dejan as he came forward in the second. Garcia's jab was setting up the punches and he was able to break through Dejan's defense with his straight shots.
Dejan was staying very cautious at the start of the third. During the action, a huge uppercut that was followed by a hook put Dejan down and full out cold. The referee quickly waved off the fight.