Boxing: Lomachenko wins unanimous decision; Braekhus, Shields win decisions on HBO’s last boxing show
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.
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.
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, but Lomachenko dominated from there.
Braekhus, Shields win decisions on HBO’s last boxing show
Cecilia Braekhus defended her welterweight titles with a dominant unanimous decision over Aleksandra Magdziak-Lopes on Saturday night in the final fight of the last HBO boxing telecast.
Two-time Olympic gold medalist Claressa Shields also defended her middleweight titles with a dominant unanimous decision over Belgium’s Femke Hermans, winning every round on every scorecard to improve to 8-0 in her two-year pro career.
A small, chilly crowd at the famed outdoor arena at StubHub Center south of downtown Los Angeles witnessed the final show in the 45-year history of HBO’s boxing coverage. The premium cable network has been a driving financial force behind the sport for decades, but its management has decided to bow out of the game amid stiff competition from Showtime, ESPN and new streaming service DAZN.
Braekhus (35-0, 9 KOs) was the star of the first women’s fight on HBO earlier this year, and the Norwegian champion closed out the network’s boxing coverage with another dominant victory. Braekhus was rarely tested by Magdziak-Lopes (18-5-3), winning 100-90 on two scorecards and 99-91 on the third.
“Maybe I got a little bit excited, but this was a really big night,” Braekhus said. “
The 37-year-old Braekhus was born in the Dominican Republic but raised in Norway by her adoptive parents. She developed a passion for boxing while the sport was banned in Norway, and her stardom played a role in the nation’s decision to lift the ban in 2016.
Braekhus fought four times in Norway after boxing returned to its arenas, but she has a growing international profile in the past year after nearly 12 years as a professional.
Just three weeks after winning a decision over Hannah Rankin, Shields never appeared to be in any trouble during her fourth consecutive decision victory. The groundbreaking Olympic star used her power and athleticism to keep Hermans (9-2) away through all 10 rounds.
Shields also never appeared close to a knockout, although she finally staggered Hermans with a few big punches late in the final round.
Shields’ next bout is expected to be in in the spring against Christina Hammer, the undefeated Kazakh-born German slugger. Shields would like to fight Braekhus in a 154-pound bout next year, but Braekhus said she is also interested in fighting UFC champion Cris “Cyborg” Justino, who has expressed a desire to start a boxing career.
Justino watched the fights at ringside with Halle Berry and other aficionados of the women’s sport, which has grown as a professional business in recent years.
Juan Francisco Estrada (38-3, 26 KOs) stopped junior featherweight Victor Mendez (28-4-2) after seven rounds in the penultimate bout. The card was scheduled to feature the return of former pound-for-pound champion Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez against Pedro Guevara, but the Nicaraguan star bowed out with a knee injury two weeks ago.
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