Scorecard: Lomachenko vs Linares
Luke G. Williams
On Saturday night, Vasyl Lomachenko became the fastest man to win world titles in three weight classes by stopping WBA lightweight champion Jorge Linares in ten. Here's how Luke G. Williams saw the contest...
R1: Linares is clearly and strikingly the bigger, bulkier man as the bout begins. What follows is a 'feeling out' round; Loma ducks and dodges, having some success to the Venezuelan's body, but Linares lands the most striking shot - a stinging left - and just edges the round on my card. 10-9 Linares
R2: Linares is sharp early on, scoring to Loma's body several times. Loma replies with a rapid combo to body and head. Linares stands his ground well and is countering sharply. However Loma finds his rhythm towards the end of the round and sneaks it. Loma's corner complain about low blows and rabbit punches after the bell rings. 10-9 Lomachenko
R3: Lomachenko is now in his balletic, fleet footed groove, raining rapid shots through Linares' defence. Linares lands a good uppercut but Loma ends the round on top. 10-9 Lomachenko
R4: Linares is beginning to look a little befuddled by Lomachenko's movement and mastery of angles. His jab can't keep the Ukrainian at bay and he is punished repeatedly by Loma. The Venezuelan also receives a warning for flagrant rabbit punches that betray a touch of desperation. Linares lands a decent right late on but it's too little too late in this round. 10-9 Lomachenko
R5: Linares periodically lands some good shots, but Lomachenko is gradually picking his defence apart with hurtful and precise combinations, including a dazzling series of punches at the end of the round that hurt Linares and leave him looking a bit bedraggled. 10-9 Lomachenko
R6: Sensational! Just as Lomachenko was looking in full command, with the area around Linares' right eye swelling up, the Venezuelan tags him with a beautiful short right through the middle which lands on the Ukrainian's chin, depositing him on the canvas! Lomachenko is up straight away but was a bit shaken and gets on his bike for the remaining 14 or so seconds of the round! That's only the second time in over 400 fights (pro and amateur) that Loma has been knocked down! 10-8 Linares
R7: Linares is a man renewed, he gets to work on the body of a more cautious Lomachenko and edges the round. The Ukrainian also complains about a low blow - is he now the one becoming frustrated? 10-9 Linares
R8: The tide shifts back to Lomachenko, who lands with regularity and precision, opening a cut over Linares' right eye in the process. The Venezuelan is still firing back and dangerous though. 10-9 Lomachenko
R9: Great effort from Linares, who weathers punishment in order to give it back, landing a hurtful combination mid-round. The Venezuelan also has success with the jab and takes the round. 10-9 Linares
R10: Lomachenko proves he has a champion's mindset. He takes control of the round and then, just before the final minute, punctuates another quickfire combination with a lightning fast and vicious left to Linares' liver which sends him writhing in agony to the canvas. Linares is up before the count reaches ten but is clearly still in extreme pain and the referee rightly waves off a thrilling contest.
Verdict: I had the two men tied at 85-85 going into the tenth round of a spirited and top quality contest. Props to Lomachenko, who was much the smaller man, for finding a stupendous shot and stopping a wily and accomplished foe. Linares, meanwhile, deserves huge respect for refusing to be cowed by Loma's reputation. As to be expected, Lomachenko will be vulnerable at lightweight against naturally bigger men, which makes it even more intriguing to see how his spell at 135lbs unfolds.