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Lomachenko stops Rodriguez in round nine, retains featherweight title

(Photo © Chris Farina / Top Rank)
(Photo © Chris Farina / Top Rank)

By John J. Raspanti


This guy is good.
 
Super-talented Vasyl Lomachenko (4-1, 2 KOs) retained his WBO featherweight championship by stopping overwhelmed Gamalier Rodriguez (25-3-3, 17 KOs) in round nine at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada last Saturday night.

The bout started slowly.
 
Lomanchecko, a southpaw, worked off his jab. Rodriguez, slightly taller, went to the body. Lomachenko connected with a hard left in round two, Rodriguez, who flashed a lot of confidence at the weigh-in, found Lomachenko with a right to the rib cage.

In rounds three and four, Lomachenko, a 27-year-old two-time Olympic gold medalist, began utilizing his superior footwork to create openings. His feints kept Rodriguez off-balance. The 28-year-old contender from Puerto Rico stalked but did little less. He did land a right to the head that didn’t bother Lomachenko.

Lomachenko fired combinations from numerous angles in rounds five and six. He’d throw a punch, deftly step to his right and dig a shot to Rodriguez’s midsection.


Rodriguez connected with his own blow to the belly, but Lomachenko kept outworking him on a consistent basis. He popped his jab and moved side-to-side.

 

In round seven, a combination to the midsection forced Rodriguez to take a knee. He got up but looked discouraged. He resembled a balloon with a slow leak, but instead of losing air it was his confidence.

 

The game Rodriguez came out for more in round eight, but quickly ran into numerous blows.

 

 

Lomachenko found a home for his uppercut. He snapped Rodriguez head back repeatably.

 

Lomachenko ended matters in round nine. He went right back to work, pummeling Rodriguez with shots to the head and body. A combination put Rodriguez down for the second time. The challenger was unable to beat the count of 10.

 

The time was 50 seconds into round nine.

 

’’Anyone with a title belt in my division, that’s who I want to fight,’’ said Lomachenko. ’’I agree that I have to fight someone notable next.’’



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