Vasyl Lomachenko draws comparisons with Muhammad Ali in knockout victory over Miguel Marriaga

The Ukrainian showcased his technical skill and athletic prowess in yet another one-sided victory, this time over the underdog Marriaga 

Sunday 06 August 2017 10:44
Lomechenko celebrates his knockout victory in Las Vegas
Lomechenko celebrates his knockout victory in Las Vegas

Ukraine’s Vasyl Lomachenko defended his WBO super-featherweight crown by knocking out challenger Miguel Marriaga, in a flawless performance that drew comparisons with the late Muhammad Ali.

Marriaga's corner stopped the bout after seven rounds Saturday night, and Lomachenko defended his WBO 130-pound title for the third time in nine months.

Lomachenko (9-1, 7 KOs), the two-time Olympic gold medallist, showcased his virtuosic technical skill and athletic prowess in another one-sided victory. He knocked down Marriaga (25-3) in the third round and systematically took control with precise punching and graceful footwork in the ensuing rounds.

Lomachenko floored Marriaga again in the waning seconds of the seventh, and the challenger's corner had finally seen enough.

“It was very hard to open his defense," Lomachenko said. "He was always looking down. I was happy when I finally got it.”

The promoter Bob Arum meanwhile compared Lomachenko – regarded as the greatest amateur boxer of his generation with a record of 396-1 – to The Greatest.

“I never saw anything like this. He's unbelievable,” Arum told ESPN after the fight.

“Not only does he have the knowledge, he has the skill set that I've never seen before. Fast, reflexes, everything and he really entertains. Who else did that? Muhammad Ali.”

The Ukrainian taunting his opponent

Lomachenko started to land big shots in the second round, and he sent Marriaga sprawling backward onto the canvas with a straight left hand in the third. He also put on a show, backing into a neutral corner and confidently beckoning Marriaga toward him with a flair that recalled his similar gesture to Russian amateur world champion Albert Selimov in his dynamite first fight at the Beijing Olympics.

A clash of heads left a cut near Lomachenko's left eye in the fourth, but the champion shrugged it off and kept slugging. He hurt Marriaga noticeably in the fifth and sixth rounds, and Marriaga finally couldn't keep his feet.

“For one round, I could just see out of one eye,” Lomachenko said. “Other than that, I did everything by the plan.”

Lomachenko had few problems against underdog Marriaga

Lomachenko enjoyed gold medal victories in Beijing and London. He turned pro in 2013 and rocketed to the top, winning a 126-pound belt in his third fight in 2014.

He moved up to 130 pounds in 2016 and immediately claimed a junior lightweight title. After three defenses, he could move up to lightweight soon — or he could continue to show off his skills against all comers at 130 pounds.

Lomachenko was fighting for only the second time in Southern California, where he has set up training camp since turning pro. He lives and works 90 minutes west of Los Angeles in Ventura County, and his wife and children were at the Microsoft Theater to watch.

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