By John J. Raspanti
WBA lightweight world champion Vasyl Lomachenko added the WBO title to his collection by knocking down and outworking former champion Jose Pedraza at the Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden in New York City Saturday night.
The scores were 117-109 (twice) and 119-107, all for Lomachenko.
Maxboxing also scored the fight 117-109 for Lomachenko-who captured his fourth world title in 13 fights.
“He did a very good job,” said Lomachenko after the bout. “I’m happy. I’m a little closer to my dream. I want to thank all the people who came out. I want two more belts.”
Lomachenko (12-1, 9 KOs) had to deal with Pedreza’s (25-2, 12 KOs) six-inch advantage in reach. He solved it with superior hand and foot speed.
In the opening stanza, Lomachenko, a southpaw, probed with his right. Near the end of the round, he connected with two left hands. Pedraza found Lomachenko with a hook and a right.
In rounds two and three, Lomachenko, fighting for the first time since shoulder surgery a few months ago, bounced and moved to his left. Pedraza went to the body. Lomachenko, a native of Ukraine, connected with a lead left hand. He worked his way inside and found Pedraza with jabs and sneaky lefts. Pedraza wasn’t winning, but he was hanging in there.
Pedraza, of Puerto Rico, came out punching in round four. He switched between southpaw and orthodox.
Lomachenko,30, consistently worked his jab. He also landed a three-punch combination. Two lefts at the end of the round bothered Pedraza. Lomachenko tagged Pedraza with a solid right in round five.
Pedraza,29, came back with a pretty good combination. Lomachenko landed three punches near the end, but Pedraza’s busy hands likely won him the round. Lomachenko cracked Pedraza with two hard left hands in the next heat. Pedraza, was moving and punching, but mostly caught air.
Lomachenko had won four of the first six rounds on this writer’s scorecard. He upped the ante in round seven. He came out punching--landing a sweet uppercut, and seconds later, a three-punch combination. Pedraza connected with a looping left.
Pedraza tried to force the fight in round eight, but ate another left He worked the body. Lomachenko came back with shots upstairs and down. Pedraza backed Lomachenko up with punches, but nothing really landed. Lomachenko kept up the pressure in round nine. He jabbed and moved, looking for the correct angle to fire. Pedraza kept working the body. Lomachenko connected with jolting uppercut that knocked Pedraza back a step. Lomachenko continued to work his jab. Pedraza landed a couple of solid body shots. He also snapped Lomachenko’s head back with a jab. It appeared that Pedraza had won his first jab in a while.
Pedraza, winner of three fights in a row after losing his super featherweight title to Gervanta Davis last year, did pretty well for the first two minutes of round 11. Then Lomachenko, as if deciding that it was time to go home, went to work.
A uppercut got things going.
As Pedraza moved away, Lomachenko unleased shot after shot to the body and head - until Pedraza went down on all fours. The former champion got up—seconds later another left floored him. Lomachenko chased after Pedraza in the 12th and final round. He wanted the knock out. He hurt Pedraza with a left to the liver and a short right to the chin, but Pedraza, in survial mode, stayed upright