Lomachenko wins unanimous decision for 2nd lightweight belt
NEW YORK (AP) — Vasiliy Lomachenko picked up his second lightweight title Saturday night, wearing down Jose Pedraza and winning a unanimous decision.
Lomachenko (12-1) knocked down Pedraza twice in the 11th round and though he couldn’t finish him, won easily to add the WBO title to the WBA belt he picked up in May during his first fight at 135 pounds.
The three-division champion unified titles within a division for the first time, after moving up to lightweight in May when he knocked out Jorge Linares in the 10th round.
“It was my dream to unify titles,” Lomachenko said. “It was my next goal. I can now focus on my next chapter.”
Lomachenko won one card by a 119-107 rout, while two judges scored it 117-109, as did The Associated Press.
It ended his streak of eight straight victories by stoppage but he came close in the 11th, when Pedraza went to a knee to stop an onslaught of punches with about a half-minute left in the round and then went down again after Lomachenko caught him with a body shot.
In his first fight since right shoulder surgery, Lomachenko started cautiously before finding the range with a flurry of combinations in the latter half of the fight to pull away. He tore the labrum in the second round against Linares but said he had no problems with the shoulder Saturday, even though he threw far more lefts.
“I’m healthy,” he said. “One hundred percent.”
He certainly looked it for much of the fight and is halfway to owning all four major belts at 135 pounds. One of them is vacant and the other is owned by unbeaten Mikey Garcia, who won’t be defending that any time soon while he moves to challenge welterweight champion Errol Spence in March.
But Lomachenko isn’t giving up on the idea of what would be the marquee fight in the division.
“Maybe next year, we can make a fight with Mikey Garcia,” he said.
Pedraza (25-2) was making the first defense of the belt he won from Ray Beltran in August and had some good moments, including in the 10th round when he landed some good body shots and won the round on all three judges’ cards. But Lomachenko dominated from there.
“I went 12 rounds with the best fighter in the world,” Pedraza said. “I knew what we were going up against. I thought it was a close fight until the knockdowns. At the end of the day, I am proud of what I did.”