Vasiliy Lomachenko earns WBA lightweight title with TKO of Jorge Linares


Vasiliy Lomachenko earns WBA lightweight title with TKO of Jorge Linares

What ensued proved why he is the best pound for pound fighter in the world today after he came back firing at Linares, showing him that he was not finished.

Despite being sent to the canvas in round six of his lightweight debut, Lomachenko recovered and earned the stoppage after Linares was unable to recover from a powerful flurry of body punches in the 10th.

Lomachenko landed a left uppercut just before the halfway point of the fifth round. Set up by the Jab, Linares was content to get up close to let his hands go.

Linares was coming forward at the start of the seventh. Judge Julie Lederman had scored the fight an 85-85 draw while Robin Taylor had Linares ahead on his scorecard 86-84 and Steve Weisfeld has Lomachenko up 86-84 on his scorecard.

He was fast-tracked into a world title shot in just his second fight, taking on Mexican veteran Orlando Salido for the WBO featherweight strap. Linares' frustration with trying to connect became evident when they clinched in the fourth and he hit Lomachenko behind the head, drawing a warning from Gonzalez.

According to CompuBox, Lomachenko barely outlanded Linares 213 to 207 in total punches but was more accurate with Lomachenko landing 34 percent of his punches and Linares landed 28 percent of his punches. He commanded the fight from a tactical standpoint, getting into a middle distance where he was able to get his punches off and blunt Linares' reach advantage.

"Going into this fight, we knew Loma was a huge talent", said Lomachenko's promoter, Bob Arum of Top Rank.

Said Linares: "The knockout punch was perfectly landed".

In the sixth, Lomachenko got too cocky near the end of the round.

The third saw Linares score with his telling right hooks which has been the main part of his arsenal throughout his career. Lomachenko connected with a quick combination to Linares' head about 10 seconds before the second round ended. Lomachenko was focusing on that cut throughout the remainder of the eighth round as momentum swung back in his favor.

Lomachenko regrouped to win the eighth but Linares responded with a strong ninth, landing a solid combination that seemed to momentarily hurt Lomachenko. "It doesn't bother me if I stop him, if he quits or if it's a judges' decision - I just want to win", said Lomachenko.

The 30-year-old decorated amateur was making his lightweight debut after campaigning at 130lbs. Those four victories over previously undefeated Nicholas Walters, Jason Sosa, Miguel Marriaga and then-unbeaten Guillermo Rigondeaux came in fights contested at the super featherweight limit of 130 pounds.



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