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Lomachenko Retires Marriaga/Beltran Slips Past Vasquez


Marriaga and Lomachencko face off
Marriaga and Lomachencko face off

By Derek Bonnett

Vasyl Lomachenko put his WBO 130-pound title on the line against Miguel Marriaga at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles, California, USA. The match-up, shown live on ESPN without a premium price tag, did little to inspire the imagination, but it did conjure my recollection of another boxer I had not thought of in some time: Jimmy Garcia. Garcia, in a span of six months during 1994 and 1995, twice fought for 130 pound titles. First, he was soundly defeated by Genaro Hernandez, without much of threat to take the title. Then, he contested for Gabriel Ruelas’ version of the title and similarly failed to be competitive against a world class foe. This time, Garcia died soon after the bout due to injuries sustained during the contest. Marriaga would face Lomachenko just four months removed from a failed 126-pound title bid against Oscar Valdez. As expected, the challenger’s limited skill-set proved no match for a fighter universally rated among the sport’s elite. Thankfully, Marriaga, defeated soundly and outclassed from bell one, walked away to fight another day. However, his performance was not much better than his ill-fated countryman and reminded boxing fans of the broken rankings systems in the sport.

 

Marriaga, 30, failed to win a round. Lomachenko’s smothering attack, even when in low gear, paralyzed the Colombian’s hands and had him posturing most of the first frame. The champion, in typical form, moved his punches from body to head and kept the heat up with multi-punch combinations and quick feet to close off all exits for escape for the Colombian in round two. Lomachenko, 29, produced the bout’s first knockdown in round three after landing a left hook. Marriaga had let his hands go more freely and instantly he became more vulnerable to the champion’s attack from every angle. Lomachenko taunted his hapless foe, but stopping the action to walk into a corner and tapping him on the head rapidly in the clinches. Neither action was reprimanded for poor sportsmanship.

 

The sparring session continued into the fourth round as Lomachenko landed with a spearing uppercut repeatedly breaking the guard of Marriaga. A right uppercut in particular connected with exceptional force. The champion resumed his systematic breakdown with a myriad of punches to the torso and head of his challenger, an impressive yet predictable display. A clash of heads cut Lomachenko on the edge of his left eye, prompting Teddy Atlas to call foul from ringside. However, the injury did nothing to stall Lomachenko’s attack and he remained dominant and disrespectful with repeated thumps to the top of Marriaga’s head to shame the fighter for being overmatched. Lomachenko landed at will in the sixth. In the seventh, Lomachenko nearly put a hole in Marriaga’s chest as he stayed in close to work the body and land with his left hook. Marriaga would hit the canvas again courtesy of a left hook late in the round. Like the fans, Marriaga’s corner had seen after seven one-sided rounds and retired their fighter on his stool.

 

Lomachenko notched his third world title defense at super featherweight and improved his dossier to 9-1-0 (7). Marriaga fell to 25-3-0 (21) with all of his losses coming in world title bouts.

On the undercard, Raymundo Beltran kept his regional lightweight titles with a close majority decision over seasoned veteran Bryan Vasquez of Costa Rica. Vasquez boxed well from the opening bell and used his feet to avoid much of the Mexican’s early thunder. Beltran came back to land the more telling blows midway in the fight, but the pair remained evenly matched throughout a nip and tuck bout. Vasquez’ awkward angles and defense held up well against Beltran’s heavy lefts to the body and the occasional overhand right. Officially, Beltran took home the victory by scores of 96-94 twice and one card level at 95-95. SecondsOut favored Vasquez 96-94. Beltran, 36, improved to 34-7-1 (21) and will likely secure another world title fight in the near future. Vasquez, 30, dipped to 34-3-0 (19).


Beltran victorious
Beltran victorious


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