LOS ANGELES-Vasyl “High Tech” Lomachenko bedazzled the technically challenged Miguel Marriaga to win by technical knockout and retain the WBO junior lightweight world title on Saturday before an adoring crowd.
Lomachenko (9-1, 7 KOs) defused Colombia’s Marriaga (25-3, 21 KOs) with his speed, dabbing and assortment of blows that sometimes connected with a thud and mostly tapped. But it was enough to keep entertaining the 4,102 in attendance at the Microsoft Theater.
Though Marriaga tried in vain with a defense first strategy, it was nullified easily by the Ukrainian southpaw like an electrician pulling a plug.
“You always got to think about your defense and how to open up his defense,” said Lomachenko.
An exchange of words by both fighters ignited a furious exchange and ended with Marriaga sent down with a well-placed left cross in the third round.
The fight continued with Marriaga back in a pure defensive mode and Lomachenko increasing the tempo of his attack. Another well-timed left cross in the seventh round sent Marriaga down again but he beat the count.
“He basically overwhelmed me with pressure,” said Marriaga.
At the end of the seventh round Marriaga’s corner stopped the fight.
Who is next?
“Doesn’t matter,” said Lomachenko. “It’s not my job.”
Chatter in social media has continued about a possible showdown with Cuba’s undefeated Guillermo Rigondeaux.
“I think it is more like the same as Marriaga with (Rigondeaux),” said Lomachenko.
The crowd seemed to be pleased by the results as was Top Rank’s Bob Arum. “He entertains while he fights,”said Arum. “The other guy who entertained while he fought was Muhammad Ali.”
Ray Beltran (34-7-1, 21 KOs) edged Costa Rica’s Bryan Vasquez (36-3, 19 KOs) by majority decision to retain the NABO and NABF lightweight titles that showed off both fighter’s defensive prowess.
It was close but no blue ribbon for Vasquez who stunned Beltran with two left hooks at the final seconds of the 10th and final round. But it was not enough according to the judges who scored it 95-95, 96-94 twice for Beltran.
“I was a little surprised that it was that close,” said Beltran. He did hurt me a little in the last round because I couldn’t see the punches because of the blood.”
A clash of heads caused a large gash along Beltran’s eye in the 10th round but Vasquez could not land that telling blow to end the fight.
“No one gave me a chance but I busted him up,” said Vasquez. “I came up to this weight to beat this guy and get a chance at (Vasyl) Lomachenko.”
Former American Olympian Mikaela Mayer opened up with jabs and ended the fight quickly with a right to the body of Widnelly Figueroa (0-2) to end the fight at 1:15 of the first round of their lightweight match. It was the highly decorated amateur fighter’s first fight as a professional after more than six years as an amateur seeking Olympic gold.
“She started with the jab and because the other girl was short then she went for the body,” said trainer Al Mitchell. “She hits harder than I did as a pro.”
Mayer showed speed and boxing presence against Figueroa whose only pro fight ended in a majority loss. With the taller and sharp punching Mayer dictating the pace, Figueroa tried to fight inside and ran into the jab and right to the body. The referee stopped the fight.
“I wasn’t nervous,” said Mayer.
South El Monte’s Arnold Barboza (17-0, 6 KOs) was cruising along especially after knocking down Jonathan Chicas (15-3, 7 KOs) with a slick counter left cross. But then came the fifth round and the San Francisco super lightweight found the mark for his overhand right and down went Barboza. A suddenly listless fight erupted to a sudden jolt of excitement and a real fight ignited. Chicas fired looping right hands and occasional found a home, but Barboza covered up well and managed some well-placed rights of his own to win by unanimous decision 76-74, 77-73, 78-72 on the three judge’s cards.
Brazil’s Esquiva Falcao (18-0) dealt punishment to Mexico’s Norberto Gonzalez (24-10, 14 Kos) for eight straight rounds never could put the finishing touch on the rugged fighter. The former Olympic silver medalist Falcao won by unanimous decision in the middleweight match.
Maxim Dadashev (8-0, 7 Kos) stopped Arizona’s Jose Marrufo (9-7-2) at 1:32 of the eighth and final round of their super lightweight clash. Although Dadashev won every round, it was never easy as Marrufo did what he always does and that’s bang and bang some more despite the incoming fire. When referee Zack Young stopped the fight it brought on a chorus of boos. But it was a safe move to make.
Erick De Leon (17-0, 10 KOs) dominated with steadiness over Filipino super featherweight AdonesAguelo (27-15-2, 18 KOs) for six rounds. No knockdowns were scored but the southpaw De Leon was able to score at will against the slow pace Aguelo. Two judges scored it 59-55 and another 60-54 all for De Leon.
Andy Vences (19-0, 11 KOs) of San Jose, Calif. started quickly and floored Mexico’s Eliseo Cruz (11-4-1) in the second round with a right and left. Cruz landed on the edge of the floor hard with the back of his head but somehow got up and fought on. He was nearly dropped again in the same round. In the third round a left-right combination by Vences crumbled Cruz at 2:21. Referee Zach Thomas stopped the fight.
After a rough three rounds Artemio Reyes (25-2, 20 KOs) of San Bernardino found the mark for a left hook to the body of Steve Marquez (16-19-2, 10 KOs) to end the fight at 1:54 of the frame. It was Reyes second fight after more than two years away from the ring.
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