Vasyl Lomachenko stops Guillermo Rigondeaux, who quits after six rounds
If his name’s too difficult to pronounce, Vasyl Lomachenko has a solution after forcing his fourth consecutive opponent to quit on his stool.
“I guess I should change my name to No-Mas-Chenko, ” Lomachenko said.
The World Boxing Organization super-featherweight champion from the Ukraine turned Saturday’s showdown at Madison Square Garden’s Theater into another one-sided display of his aggression and skill as Cuba’s Guillermo Rigondeaux retired after six rounds.
In the first world-title fight featuring two former two-time Olympic gold medalists, the pressure and talent of Lomachenko (10-1, eight knockouts) reduced Rigondeaux (17-1) to ducking for cover and holding often.
Rigondeaux and his corner mutually agreed to stop the fight, the recent super-bantamweight champ complaining that he believed he fractured an area near the top of his left hand/wrist in the second round.
It was his first loss since an amateur, in 2003.
Was it the hand or had he given up hope after taking a frequent pounding from the bigger man?
At the time, Lomachenko had swept all six rounds on one scorecard, winning five on the others, and referee Steve Willis grew so tired of Rigondeaux’s holding that he deducted one point in the sixth.
“This guy is superhuman,” veteran promoter Bob Arum said of his fighter.
“Rigondeaux is not a ham-and-egger. Nobody came close to beating him. But with Lomachenko, he had nothing. He was totally bewildered.
“He goes to the ground [to cover] and Lomachenko is there waiting [to hit him] on the other side … ”
Lomachenko, 29, began increasing his pressure on Rigondeaux in the second round, using a double jab and precise power punches to swell up the right side of Rigondeaux’s face.
When Rigondeaux showed reluctance to go toe to toe with the bigger man, Lomachenko pulled a page from Conor McGregor’s boxing book and promptly pounded Rigondeaux on the top of the head.
Lomachenko more than doubled Rigondeaux’s punch total in the final three rounds, finishing with a 339-179 margin. The punishment extended into the sixth, leading to the point deduction as Lomachenko shimmied back to his corner before learning it was over.
Lomachenko was low key after the triumph before 5,102.
“He’s a tough fighter, a king in boxing, but a king in his weight class,” the 130-pound Lomachenko said of Rigondeaux, who reigns as a 122-pounder. “It’s not a big win for me because of that.”
Arum said he’ll consider a slew of former or current champs for Lomachenko’s next fight, possibly in March, including lightweight champions Jorge Linares and Mikey Garcia.
“I’ve never seen anything like this,” Arum said. “You’re seeing something very special. I’ve seen great fighters … nothing like this. None of them.”
Rigondeaux at first blamed the injury, but was then met by boos from the fans and changed his story.
“He’s a very technical, quick, explosive fighter. He is an excellent boxer,” Rigon-deaux said.
His promoter, Dino Duva, credited Lomachenko for his talent, saying, “He frustrates them so bad they don’t know what to do.”
Duva said Rigondeaux’s hand pain worsened in the third round and he was hospitalized afterward for an examination.
“Where did he hurt his hand? He didn’t hit him with a punch,” Arum cracked after Rigondeaux never landed more than three punches in a round. “Where’d he hurt it, in the dressing room?”
The undercard included a convincing second-round technical-knockout victory by 2016 Olympic silver medalist Shakur Stevenson of nearby Newark, N.J., against mismatched Oscar Mendoza (4-3) of Santa Maria.
“Everything I threw was landing,” Stevenson (4-0, two KOs) said as Mendoza offered little resistance to the top prospect whose skill was sharpened by spending time in training camp with Lomachenko.
“There’s been a lot of talk about me holding. I’ve never been a fighter who holds. I’m a fighter. I learned a lot [from Lomachenko]. You still haven’t seen the best of me.”
Ireland’s Michael Conlan could say the same thing after he experimented with a southpaw stance and cruised to victory over Argentina’s Luis Fernando Molina (4-4-1).
Earlier, Los Angeles-trained 2016 U.S. Olympian Mikaela Mayer improved to 4-0 with a majority decision victory over New York’s Nydia Feliciano (9-9-3).
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