Vasyl Lomachenko beats Jose Pedraza in New York to claim WBO lightweight title
VASYL LOMACHENKO produced a dominant display to beat Jose Pedraza in New York and claim the WBO lightweight world title.
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The Ukrainian now has two of the major belts and his sights firmly set on unifying the division next year.
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He beat the Puerto Rican on a unanimous points decision at Madison Square Garden, with one judge even scoring the fight 119-107 emphasises just how dominant Lomachenko was.
Two knockdowns in a brilliant 11th round put him on the brink of victory but Pedraza refused to be beaten without a fight.
It was the first time in four years that Lomachenko went the distance to a points decision – the last tiem was when he beat Gary Russell Jr in 2014.
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He could not retaliate and was ultimately undone, though, losing the belt he won in August at his first defence.
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For Lomachenko, from just two fights at 135lbs, he has claimed two world titles after beating Jorge Linares in May to land the WBA belt.
He now has his eyes on a showdown with Mikey Garcia who holds the WBC title.
But the American’s next fight is against Errol Spence Jr at welterweight so the Ukrainian must be patient for now.
Lomachenko’s dream is to be the unified champion of the world and he is well on the way.
He said: “I am happy. I (moved) a little closer to my dream, to my goal.
“Two more belts, and maybe we can make in the next year a fight with Mikey Garcia.”
The fight was a tentative affair from the outset with Pedraza’s elusive style difficult to cope with.
Neither boxer was able to land the big blows to knock their opponent out and rounds were generally won by flashes of the Lomachenko left hand.
Pedraza said: “I went 12 rounds with the best fighter in the world. I knew what we were going up against.
“I thought it was a close fight until the knockdowns. At the end of the day, I am proud of what I did.”