Lomachenko outpoints Russell to claim WBO title in third pro fight
Vasyl Lomachenko (2-1, 1 KO) scored a 12 round majority decision over previously undefeated Gary Russell Jr. (24-1, 14 KOs) to win the vacant WBO featherweight world championship on Saturday night at the outdoor StubHub Center in Carson, California.
The two-time Olympic gold medalist dropped a split decision to Orlando Salido in March but, after the Mexican fighter was stripped of his belt for failing to make the weight, Lomachenko was handed a second chance against Washington DC's Russell.
The American did manage to hit his opponent with quick combinations in the early rounds and was able to keep Lomachenko at bay at times with non-stop punching. However, the Ukrainian hurt Russell visibly in the fifth round with punches to the body and head, but Russell kept up his activity level.
Lomachenko punished Russell again in the seventh, staggering him back with combinations and power. Lomachenko was connecting with the bigger shots to the head and mostly to the body.
Lomachenko’s size and power advantage was the key in this fight. He wasn’t fighting someone with more size than him like he was in his last fight against Salido.
In the 12th, Lomachenko had Russell hurt in the last 20 seconds after tagging him with some really big punches to the head and body.
“I am very happy and excited to be a world champion,” stated Lomachenko. “The plan built by our team was great, I was trying to land the punches and I did. I landed punches very well. I started from the body and went to the head.”
Russell added: "It's definitely a little disappointing. But it's all good - we are gladiators, we are warriors. We need to go back to the drawing board. He had good movement and I take my hat off to him."
By winning a world title in his third professional fight, Lomachenko tied the record for fewest fights to win a world title, which was set by Thailand's Saensak Muangsurin, who won a junior welterweight world title in 1975, also in his third pro fight.
Also on the card, in a fight of the year candidate, Robert “The Ghost” Guerrero (32-2-1, 18 KO’s) defeated Yoshihiro Kamegai (24-2-1, 21 KO’s) over 12 rounds. Coming off his loss to Floyd Mayweather in May 2013, Guerrero engaged in a thrilling toe-to-toe slugfest with brawler Kamegai. “The Ghost” usually got the better of it, but a Kamegai uppercut in round six left Guerrero’s left eye closing rapidly. In the end, Guerrero’s better skills and combinations prevailed with the judges scoring 116-112, 117-111, 117-111.
Former two-division world champion Devon Alexander (26-2, 14 KOs) won an unanimous decision over Jesus Soto Karass (28-10-3, 18 KOs) after 10 entertaining rounds . Scores were 97-93, 99-91, 99-91 in a bout that featured fierce exchanges.
Former light heavyweight world champion “Bad Chad” Dawson (32-3, 18 KOs) easily won his first outing in 12 months with a KO over George “Honey Boy” Blades (23-6, 16 KOs) in the first round. Dawson came in at 202 pounds and dropped Blades twice. Blades was counted out at 2:35 of the round.
Other results on the card:
Dominic Breazeale W Devin Vargas TKO 3
Michael Hunter W Jerry Forrest UD 8
Sharif Bogere W Miguel Zamudio RTD 3
Vyacheslav Shabranskyy W Michael Gbenga UD 6
Fabian Andres Maidana W Eddie Diaz UD 4
Mark Anthony Hernandez W Donte Stower UD 4