POUND-FOR-POUND STAR VASYL Lomachenko recovered from his first career knockdown as a professional to secure a sensational stoppage of Jorge Linares at Madison Square Garden, New York, on Saturday night. And now history is his once again.
Lomachenko, a former duel Olympic gold medalist in 2008 and 2012, started to pick Linares apart in the third round with solid lefts and rights to the body, and an uppercut.
Lomachenko previously won the WBO featherweight title and the WBO super featherweight championship.
This might be Lomachenko's most impressive victory.
In his third pro fight, Lomachenko toyed with Gary Russell Jr.to win a decision and featherweight world title, which allowed him to tie the record for fewest fights needed to claim a world title. Even with the odds are against him for the first time in his career, Linares is putting on a confident front when he says "When I win this fight, everything in my life, everything in my career, is different". He fought at mid-distance where he was comfortable and was landing fast shots that swelled Linares' left eye almost closed by the middle of the fight. He dropped Lomachenko with a straight right to the head.
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Lomachenko quickly pulled himself together, his hand and foot speed making the difference against his bigger opponent.
In the second round, Linares returned fire to Lomachenko's rib cage but was left worse the wear for it: Lomachenko popped him back before raising a roar from the electrifying crowd with a forceful combination to the body and through Linares' guard upstairs.
Lomachenko's left hook to Linares' liver was reminiscent to the punch Bernard Hopkins landed to defeat Oscar De La Hoya 14 years ago at the MGM Grand Garden Arena. "That's why I came to this weight class, [to fight Garcia] and that's [the fight] I will be looking forward to". His power shots came from his right hand, but he was still fluid and smooth in his southpaw stance. Linares' defended well, countering with single punches on the back foot.
Linares looked like the significantly bigger man in the ring and was able to land his straight left hand from his southpaw stance early on in the first round. Lomachenko took it well and fired punches back at Linares. Lomachenko connected with a multi punch combination to the head and ended it with a liver shot that sent Linares crumbling in pain to the mat.
Lomachenko moved up to 135 pounds to challenge Linares because he couldn't secure title unification fights at 130 pounds.