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Three-weight world champion Lomachenko unifies lightweight belts with explosive finish

The Ukrainian knocked down Jose Pedraza twice in the 11th round before clinching a unanimous decision win.

Vasiliy Lomachenko after his second knock down of Jose Pedraza.
Vasiliy Lomachenko after his second knock down of Jose Pedraza.
Image: Howard Simmons

VASILIY LOMACHENKO ADDED the World Boxing Organization lightweight world title to his World Boxing Association belt with a unanimous 12-round decision over Jose Pedraza on Saturday.

Ukraine’s Lomachenko, a three-weight world champion who had never before unified two titles in the same class, knocked down Pedraza twice in an explosive 11th round.

Two judges saw it 117-109 for Lomachenko while a third made it 119-107 for the 30-year-old who was fighting for the first time since having shoulder surgery in the wake of his 10th-round technical knockout of Jorge Linares on 12 May.

“Everything is good — I’m healthy 100 percent,” Lomachenko declared after wrapping up the victory to improve to 12-1 with nine wins inside the distance.

“I am happy,” he said. “I (moved) a little closer to my dream, to my goal.”

That’s to unify all of the major lightweight belts.

“Two more belts, and maybe we can make in the next year a fight with Mikey Garcia,” he said.

Garcia is the unbeaten World Boxing Council 135-pound champion.

Lomachenko Pedraza Boxing Vasiliy Lomachenko poses with his belts alongside promoter Bob Arum. Source: Howard Simmons

Pedraza, making his first defense of the WBO title he won with a unanimous decision over Ray Beltran on 25 August, was the first fighter to go the distance against Lomachenko since Suriya Tatakhun in a featherweight world title bout in 2014.

Lomachenko had stopped eight fighters inside the distance since then.

“He did a very good job,” Lomachenko said of Pedraza’s staying power. “I respect Pedraza, the Pedraza team — very good job.”

On the undercard, Mexico’s Emanuel Navarrete battered previously unbeaten Isaac Dogboe to seize Dogboe’s World Boxing Organization super bantamweight world title.

Navarrete rocked Dogboe in the 10th round and dominated the rest of the way with two judges awarding him the fight by scores of 116-112 and a third making it 115-113.

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Navarrete, an underdog against the London-based Ghanaian champion, made the most of his height and reach advantage.

Dogboe, his face bloodied and swollen, had to dig deep to avoid a knockout over the final two rounds.

“It was a great fight, and Emanuel Navarrete fought like a true Mexican warrior,” said Dogboe, who fell to 20-1 with 14 knockouts.

He was making the second defense of the title he won with an 11th-round knockout of Jessie Magdaleno on April 28. On 25 August in Arizona he stopped Japan’s Hidenori Otake.

Navarrete, 23, improved to 26-1 with 22 knockouts.

He hasn’t lost since dropping a four-round unanimous decision to Daniel Argueta in his fourth pro bout six years ago.

“Hearing those words was the culmination of a dream,” Navarrete said of hearing his name announced as world champion. “This world championship represents every day that I was working away from my family. This title represents sacrifice.”

© AFP 2018 

Murray Kinsella, Gavan Casey and Andy Dunne preview a big weekend of Heineken Cup action and dissect the week’s main talking points.


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