Vasyl Lomachenko overcomes knockdown to win world title in third weight class


NEW YORK — In a a bout that had him taste the canvas for the first time in his professional career, Vasyl Lomachenko came back to make history in his stoppage win over WBA lightweight world champion Jorge Linares from the world’s most famous arena in Madison Square Garden.

Lomachenko, 30, gained a world title in his third weight division since beginning his professional career back in 2013. He is now the fastest to accomplish this feat at only 12 fights (the previous record was 20 fights).

Linares KD loma

Jorge Linares moments after knocking down Vasyl Lomachenko in the sixth round from New York. Photo: Mikey Williams/Top Rank

Linares (44-4, 27 KOs) remained competitive throughout the fight, and was able to patiently land a straight right hand in the sixth that dropped Lomachenko, of Ukraine, to the floor for the first time. Up until this point, Lomachenko was becoming increasingly confident and was starting to display his boxing skills as he has in his past bouts. However, Linares, who suffered a cut above his right eye but his corner was able to contain it, began finding openings in Lomachenko’s matrix before he got hit with a timed left hook to the liver that brought on the stoppage.

“He didn’t really surprise me in terms of his speed, but I did recognize the fact that he was moving well. But, nothing that I didn’t expect,” Linares said. “I was able to drop him with that overhand right and I got myself into this fight, and then he landed a body shot. I was able to withstand the first one, but the second one — it was perfectly landed.”

Linares gave Lomachenko one of his most technical and difficult tests, as the two-time Olympic gold medalist had to regain himself after the knockdown at the half way point of the matchup. At the time of the stoppage, both fighters were up on their own respective scorecard, with the third having it a draw. Linares stated that he could have continued after the body shot, but didn’t necessarily argue against referee Ricky Gonzales’ decision.

“I think about the last three rounds and I prepare for the last three rounds,” Lomachenko said about his final ending punch. “I have an exercise from my father and he told me, ‘you need to work on the body.’

Lomachenko (11-1, 9 KOs) now holds a major world title at 135 pounds and will likely remain at this weight. The other major world championships are held by Mikey Garcia and Robert Easter, Jr. — who have been rumored to square off this upcoming summer. Garcia (38-0, 30 KOs) would likely be the most competitive matchup for Lomachenko following this historic victory, assuming the politics can be set aside to make a unification event of this stature.

With Linares stepping up to defend his title against one of the best pound-for-pound fighters in Lomachenko, Easter, Jr. and Garcia will now have a chip on their shoulders to eventually make a fight with the guy who began as a ballet dancer as a child, and is now at the top of the boxing world with three divisional world titles in only 12 fights.

About Albert Baker

Writer/Producer/Director of the Under the Hand Wraps documentary series and owner of Albert Baker is currently based in Fresno, California and has been covering boxing since 2014.

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