Vasiliy Lomachenko survives knockdown to capture lightweight crown from Jorge Linares
Among a raucous crowd, clearly the Vasiliy Lomachenko, 11-1 (9), supporters outnumbered those of Jorge Linares, 44-4 (27). Madison Square Garden’s main room was far from a sell-out but the lower bowl was packed and ready to explode for a Lomachenko victory.
A highly tense first round kicked the action off with both fighters circling each other, trying to find their range. As they explored what each other had to offer in the speed and footwork departments, a left hook from Linares landed at the end of the round. One feeling out round was enough. Linares settled in to focus on the body Lomachenko, whose best moment of the round was a quick four-punch combination. Linares continued to work the body, as the round closed.
Lomachenko started to find some rhythm with his footwork, after a minute into the third. Linares was able to avoid the usual angle attack from Lomachenko that has destroyed the featherweight and junior lightweight divisions. That was until the fourth round, when Lomachenko exploded, by landing combinations off his footwork once he was on Linares’ inside. This continued into the fifth, as Lomachenko’s speed started to befuddle Linares, who wasn’t able to move his own back foot to avoid letting Lomachenko inside.
Halfway into the sixth round, Linares decided he wasn’t going to let Lomachenko pick him apart. Linares landed a four-punch combination that slowed Lomachenko down and the thudding body shots set up a straight right down the middle that dropped Lomachenko for the first time. Lomachenko got up but, as the round ended, it was clear this was not going to be an easy night for “Hi-Tech.”
A much more cautious Lomachenko moved forward to regain the momentum he had prior to the combination and knockdown in the sixth. He had success for most of the eighth round, controlling the distance and pace of the fight until, again, he was caught with a right hand from Linares. This time Lomachenko avoided pressing the action, as the round ended. In the ninth, Linares was back to making sure Lomachenko didn’t take complete control, when he landed a similar combination prior to the knockdown that stopped Lomachenko in his tracks. The rest of the round he controlled behind a good jab, defense and body attack.
In the 10th, Lomachenko didn’t allow Linares to take the control of the fight, as he decided to let his hands go, producing flowing combinations that stopped Linares in his tracks. Linares was unable to get out of the way and, as the round reached its second half, clearly revealed that those shots had taken a serious toll. A powerful left hand from Lomachenko landed around the guard of Linares and caused him to drop to his knees, after it slammed into his lower body. As referee Ricky Gonzalez counted, Linares rose to his feet and tried to shake it off but the fight was waved off at the 2:08 mark of the 10th round. With the win, Lomachenko secured THE RING Magazine/WBA lightweight championship.
Carlos Adames stays unbeaten with a tough 10-round win over Alejandro Barrera
After an opening feel-out round between Alejandro Barrera, 29-5 (18), and Carlos Adames, 14-0 (11), which saw Adames throw the only power shots, the two junior middleweights came out firing to open the second. They settled into a rhythm of trying to set up more shots, as the round continued but Adames would unload combinations, rocking Barrera as the second round came to an end.
Barrera responded in the third by moving but also connecting with some thudding punches to Adames’ body and head. Barrera was hit by Adames with some quality shots, as the two tapped gloves to end the close round. Adames seized control of the fight with a good one-two combination that rocked Barrera’s head back. Adames was also able to land effective shots behind good in-and-out movement, forcing Barrera to move around the perimeter of the ring in the fifth round. Adames patiently stalked, forcing Barrera to engage when he pleased, resulting in Adames landing yet another powerful one-two that rocked Barrera.
Rounds six and seven proved to go well for Barrera, as he wisely chose to not abandon his movement. He was able to land clean body shots on Adames and that continued till the last minute of the seventh, when the two decided exchanged power shots. Barrera closed his best six minutes with one final push that put him over the top in round seven.
Adames switched to the southpaw stance and started out being effective with it, since Barrera’s movement was giving him some problems. This worked until Barrera landed another counter shot that forced Adames back into the orthodox stance. With three minutes remaining in the bout, both fighters came out trying to prove they were the fighters in the lead. Again Adames was able to land good punches to the body and head early in the round, until Barrera used his movement to land his own set of punches.
As the two exchanged, a quick left uppercut from Adames popped Barrera’s head back. Barrera’s pressure and telling power punches clearly separated him from the good work with which Barrera responded. 96-94, 97-93 and 98-92 were the three official scores, all in favor of Carlos Adames.
2016 Irish Olympian and silver medalist Michael Conlan, 7-0 (5), took on Ibon Larrinaga, 10-2 (2), of Spain, in a featherweight bout. Conlan started landing power shots but Larrinaga proved to be sturdy. He even was able to land a return shot on Conlan to gain a measure of respect. As the fight moved into the second half of the scheduled eight rounds, it was clear that Conlan’s superior skill would pull him across the finish line.
Conlan tried to work his way in with head movement and behind a jab. As Larrinaga continued to move around the ring, after facing Conlan’s power earlier in the fight, the last three rounds turned out to be a rinse-and-repeat type of situation, with Conlan working his way toward landing a power shot or two, while Larrinaga moved away from engaging, as he tried to counter. All three judges scored the bout 80-72, in favor of Michael Conlan.
One round and one solid right hand to Vitor Jones Freitas’ head was all that was necessary for lightweight Teofimo Lopez Jr., 9-0 (7), to secure a victory. Freitas, 14-2 (8), was unable to get to his feet after being dropped and when he did try to get up, he slumped back down to the canvas, so the fight was waved off, at 1:04, by referee Tony Chiarantano.
Former 2016 American Olympian Mikaela Mayer, 5-0 (3), simply outclassed the game and tough Baby Nansen, 6-3-1, at lightweight. Mayer was more technically sound with her power punches and landed serious rights and left hooks that eventually busted Nansen’s nose in the fifth. All three judges scored the fight 60-54, in favor of Mayer.
United States Marine Jamel Herring, 17-2 (10), needed until the 1:28 mark of the fifth round to stop Juan Pablo Sanchez, 30-16 (14). Herring dominated the entire lightweight contest and, if it weren’t for Sanchez’s heart, things would have concluded much earlier. The fight was called off by referee Tony Chiarantano, when Herring pinned Sanchez on the ropes and blasted away.
In the opening bout of the evening, junior welterweight Fazliddin Gaibnazarov, 4-0 (2), stopped Jesus Silveyra, 8-6-2 (3), at the 2:05 mark of the fourth round. The 2016 Olympian needed some time to warm up before landing his powerful left hand at will. After the first knockdown, Gaibnazarov closed the show with one last left hand.
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