Lomachenko outclasses Marriaga to retain WBO crown

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Los Angeles

Ukrainian southpaw Vasyl Lomachenko retained his WBO junior lightweight title, flooring challenger Miguel Marriaga with one second left in the seventh round en route to a technical knockout victory.
The 29-year-old Lomachenko outclassed Marriaga from the opening bell, scoring two knockdowns in making the third defense of his 130-pound title.
“It was an interesting fight,” Lomachenko said. “I have more experience now.”
This was just Lomachenko’s 10th professional fight after he fashioned together one of the greatest amateur careers of all-time. The two-time Olympic gold medalist compiled a 391-1 record as an amateur and is now 9-1 as a pro with seven knockouts.
After outfoxing Marriaga in a sorry mismatch, Lomachenko was asked who he wants to fight next: “That is always the question I hear. For me it doesn’t matter. I want to win titles.”
The Colombian landed very few punches but he did cut Lomachenko over the left eye with a head butt in the fourth round of the world title fight Saturday night at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angles.
The round earlier Lomachenko floored the challenger for the first time in the fight. With 34 seconds left in the third Lomachenko landed a straight left hand that sent Marriaga sailing backwards across the ring.
Lomachenko sealed the victory with a looping left to the right temple with one second left in the seventh round. It wasn’t a damaging punch but it caught Marriaga at the right time, reminding him from the seat of his pants that there was no point in continuing to embarrass himself.
His corner called over the referee before the start of the next round and threw in the towel.
It was the second straight lopsided loss for the 30-year-old Marriaga, who dropped to 25-3, with 21 knockouts.
Marriaga, who moved up in weight to take the fight, wasn’t the kind of challenger that will help Lomachenko earn the title of best pound-for-pound fighter in the world.
He needs wins over other elite fighters to climb his way to the top. In fairness to Lomachenko he has had trouble getting the top ranked boxers in his division to fight him.
Lomachenko turned professional in 2013 after winning Olympic gold medals for Ukraine in 2008 and 2012.—AFP