San Diego, Calif., December 8, 2018 – Number one pound for pound boxer Vasyl Lomachenko of Ukraine (12-1, 9 KOs) tested his repaired shoulder in a careful return to the ring, winning by decision against Jose Pedraza of Puerto Rico (25-1, 12 KOs). Lomachenko retains his WBA and Ring Magazine lightweight titles and won the WBO title from Pedraza, suffering his first defeat. Scorecards were 117-109 twice and 119-107 on the third card.
It wasn’t the highlight reel version of Lomachenko fans always hope to see. But he fought smart, and was never in any real danger from Pedraza, who gave a good effort and ended the fight on his feet, a moral victory against a champion who’s made many good fighters quit in the corner.
Lomachenko fought a steady, smart fight. As he eased into the later rounds, he threw more punches as he grew comfortable with his performance. In the 11th round, Lomachenko went after Pedraza with a barrage of power shots, although he relied heavily on the left hand versus his repaired right. He snapped Pedraza’s head with a left upper cut, and followed with hooks from both sides until Pedraza finally took a knee, a wise move. It allowed him to finish the fight on his feet.
It was a solid outing if not terribly thrilling. :He’s a true veteran,” said Lomachenko of Pedraza. “He did a very good job. I respect Pedraza and his team, a very good job.”
Lomachenko said his shoulder did not bother him at all during the fight. “Everything’s good. I don’t have a problem. I’m healthy 100 percent.”
Now that Lomachenko has acquired a second title, he said “I’m getting closer to my dream. Thank you to my team and all the people who come to support me. Of course I want two more belts. Maybe we can make a fight next year with Mikey Garcia.”
And the new: Navarrete upsets Dogboe to win WBO title
Isaac Dogboe had a rough night in New York courtesy of a determined challenger not originally expected to give him much trouble. Emanuel Navarrete of Mexico did his nation’s boxing tradition proud, taking the fight to Dogboe, roughing him up and breaking his nose in a wild fight, winning by unanimous decision. Scores were 116-112 X 2, and 115-113. Navarrete is now the WBO junior featherweight champion.
“Hearing those words was the culmination of a dream,” said Navarrete. “Everything I sacrificed to be here tonight.”
“It was a great fight, and Emanuel Navarrete fought like a true Mexican warrior,” said the gracious Dogboe. “Champions are supposed to keep going under any circumstance, but I just couldn’t get the victory. The best man won tonight.”
Navarrete (26-1, 22 KOs) got off to a strong start, the clear aggressor. Dogboe (20-1, 14 KOs) didn’t seem to know exactly what to do with the much taller fighter to fend him off. Dogboe struggled to win rounds through the middle of the fight, but he was not dominating the way most observers predicted.
Navarrete showed every minutes of the fight just how badly he wanted to win, inflicting damage any way he could. He landed an average of 10 more punches per round (67 to 57), and he landed 221 total punches to Dogboe’s 176. By the tenth round, Dogboe was losing his footing, and referee Benjy Esteves called at least one legitimate knockdown a slip.
In the final two rounds, Navarrete landed 54 punches in the last two rounds, Dogboe only nine. Dogboe was doing what he could to end the fight on his feet. There seemed so little point to letting him continue to take damage. His corner must have believed he was close on the cards. But these kind of fights can be career ending beatings, and it was so unnecessary. Due credit to Navarrete for scoring a tremendous upset victory over a fighter who had become a popular performer. Dogboe needs to take a long break, heal, and consider his future carefully. He is enrolled at Penn State and his studies should be his focus for a while.
Teofilo Lopez seals the deal for 2018 Prospect of the Year
Teofilo Lopez (11-0, 9 KOs) locked up 2018 Prospect of the Year honors with a showstopping knockout win over Mason Menard of Louisiana (34-4, 24 KOs). Menard, who had taken several tough opponents into later rounds, didn’t have a chance against Lopez. He started with energy from the opening bell as if he was late for a plane flight, ended the fight in the first round with an overhand right. When your opponent falls down face first, the fight is over. Unlike last week’s heavyweight fight, the referee didn’t bother to administer a count. Lopez is only two years into his professional career and it’s not an exaggeration to call the lightweight with the lively personality a shooting star.
Gayle Lynn Falkenthal, APR, is President/Owner of the Falcon Valley Group in San Diego, California. She is a veteran boxing observer covering the Sweet Science for Communities. Read more Ringside Seat in Communities Digital News. Follow Gayle on Facebook and on Twitter @PRProSanDiego.
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