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Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 21 January 2019

Vasyl Lomachenko beats Jose Pedraza to unify lightweight belts

Two judges saw it 117-109 for Lomachenko while a third made it 119-107 for the 30-year-old Ukrainian

Vasyl Lomachenko, of Ukraine, added the WBO belt to his WBA lightweight championship with a unanimous decision over Puerto Rico's Jose Pedraza. AP Photo
Vasyl Lomachenko, of Ukraine, added the WBO belt to his WBA lightweight championship with a unanimous decision over Puerto Rico's Jose Pedraza. AP Photo

Vasyl Lomachenko added the World Boxing Organization lightweight world title to his World Boxing Association belt with a unanimous 12-round decision over Jose Pedraza on Saturday.

Lomachenko, a three-weight world champion who had never before unified two titles in the same division, knocked down Pedraza twice in an explosive 11th round.

Two judges saw it 117-109 for Lomachenko while a third made it 119-107 for the 30-year-old Ukrainian who was fighting for the first time since having shoulder surgery in the wake of his 10th-round technical knockout of Jorge Linares on May 12.

"Everything is good; I'm healthy 100 per cent," Lomachenko declared after wrapping up the victory to improve to 12-1 with nine wins inside the distance.

"I am happy," he said. "I [moved] a little closer to my dream, to my goal."

That dream is to unify all of the major lightweight belts.

"Two more belts, and maybe we can make in the next year a fight with Mikey Garcia," he said.

Garcia is the unbeaten World Boxing Council 135-pound champion.

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Pedraza, making his first defense of the WBO title he won with a unanimous decision over Ray Beltran on August 25, was the first fighter to go the distance against Lomachenko since Suriya Tatakhun in a featherweight world title bout in 2014.

Lomachenko had stopped eight fighters inside the distance since then.

"He did a very good job," Lomachenko said of Pedraza's staying power. "I respect Pedraza, the Pedraza team [did a] very good job."

On the undercard, Mexico's Emanuel Navarrete battered previously unbeaten Isaac Dogboe to seize Dogboe's WBO super bantamweight world title.

Navarrete rocked Dogboe in the 10th round and dominated the rest of the way with two judges awarding him the fight by scores of 116-112 and a third making it 115-113.

Navarrete, an underdog against the London-based Ghanaian champion, made the most of his height and reach advantage.

Dogboe, his face bloodied and swollen, had to dig deep to avoid a knockout over the final two rounds.

"It was a great fight, and Emanuel Navarrete fought like a true Mexican warrior," said Dogboe, who fell to 20-1 with 14 knockouts.

He was making the second defence of the title he won with an 11th-round knockout of Jessie Magdaleno on April 28. On August 25 in Arizona he stopped Japan's Hidenori Otake.

Navarrete, 23, improved to 26-1 with 22 knockouts.

He hasn't lost since dropping a four-round unanimous decision to Daniel Argueta in his fourth pro bout six years ago.

"Hearing those words was the culmination of a dream," Navarrete said of hearing his name announced as world champion. "This world championship represents every day that I was working away from my family. This title represents sacrifice."

Kell Brook, right, laboured to a unanimous decision over Michael Zerafa in Sheffield. Reuters
Kell Brook, right, laboured to a unanimous decision over Michael Zerafa in Sheffield. Reuters

Elsewhere, Kell Brook looked far from convincing as he recorded a unanimous points victory over Australia's Michael Zerafa in a super-welterweight fight in Sheffield.

Having spent the build-up to the fight taunting Amir Khan over what he claimed was the Bolton man's reluctance to fight him, the 32-year-old Englishman produced a performance which would hardly have had his compatriot running scared.

Despite a fast start in the opening round, the Yorkshireman was well below his best, looking laboured and allowing his unheralded opponent to land with far too many shots.

However, he was still too good for Zerafa, winning the final eliminator for the WBA super-welterweight world title by 118-110, 119-109 and 117-111 on the judges' scorecards.

Brook admitted after the fight, his first since March, he had felt "rusty" and "flat" before again turning his attention to Khan.

"I've got the buzz again, I'm reborn," Brook told Sky Sports. "Next year, 2019, I'm coming for them big boys. It's now or never. Amir, I'm ready, I'm hungry, I'm fit."

Khan appears more likely to pursue a fight against American welterweight Terence Crawford than focus on an all-British super-fight, but promoter Eddie Hearn admitted Brook's latest performance might prompt a change of heart.

"If I was Amir Khan I would be on the phone now to take this fight," he said.

Updated: December 9, 2018 10:53 AM

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