Lomachenko (11-1) became the fastest ever to win world titles in three weight divisions with his victory at Madison Square Garden in NY. And now history is his once again.
His second attempt proved more fruitful, as he outpointed Gary Russell Jr to claim the WBO belt left vacant after Salido missed weight during his win over Loma. Linares was more than willing to be Lomachenko's first challenge at 135 pounds, plotting a showdown with the 2008 and 2012 Gold Medal victor by fighting southpaws in his two previous bouts. The bigger and taller Venezuelan boxer, owns the WBA belt and will be the toughest test of Lomachenko's boxing career.
"I'm very happy and I want to say thank you to all of the fans who came out to MSG and Jorge Linares", Lomachenko said after the fight. He fought at mid-distance where he was comfortable and was landing fast shots that swelled Linares' left eye almost closed by the middle of the fight. He commanded the fight from a tactical standpoint, getting into a middle distance where he was able to get his punches off and blunt Linares' reach advantage. Linares was to land a straight right on Lomachenko snapping the head back before Vasyl tried to fire back with some success.
Lomachenko finished off the tightly contested bout with a fierce burst in the 10th, capped by a vicious left to the body that sent Linares down. Although there's not much in it, just a bit more snap behind the shots from Linares. "That right hand [from Linares], it was a great punch".
After suffering a flash knockdown during the sixth round, Lomachenko seemed to fight the seventh round on steady legs. "That's why I came to this weight class".
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It was a left hook to the ribs that crumpled Linares at 2:08 of the 10th round.
Said Linares: "The knockout punch was perfectly landed".
But Lomachenko won't be facing Garcia right away.
Lomachenko, whose storied amateur career included two Olympic gold medals, improved to 11-1 with nine knockouts. The WBO has given him 10 days from Saturday night to decide whether he'll move back down to 130 pounds for a fifth title defense or remain at lightweight to defend his WBA 135-pound championship in his next fight. During the press conference of Survival Instinct: Matira Matibay that will be held Sunday afternoon at the SM Skydome in Quezon City, ESPN5.com talked to IBF super flyweight champion Jerwin Ancajas, 2012 London Olympian Mark Anthony Barriga, and former world title challengers AJ Banal and Genesis Servania to get their take on this intriguing match-up.