(Reuters) - Ukraine’s Vasyl Lomachenko recovered from a flash knockdown to register a 10th round knockout of Jorge Linares to enhance his pound-for-pound reputation by claiming the World Boxing Association lightweight title in New York on Saturday.
A straight right in the sixth from the Venezuelan floored Lomachenko, who recovered to stun Linares with a body shot to win his third world title in as many weight classes in only his 12th professional bout at Madison Square Garden.
“I relaxed a little bit,” the two-time Olympic champion Lomachenko said after suffering the first knockdown of his professional career.
“He used his speed and he was throwing a lot of counter-punches, but I thought I already did what I needed to do. I was wrong and he caught me.”
Defending champion Linares tried to keep the fight close in the early rounds but Lomachenko used his nifty footwork and hand speed to dart in and out of his opponent’s range until he was caught on the chin in the sixth.
Lomachenko (11-1-0) lifted himself off the canvas and circled the ring to buy some time before hitting back in the eighth round with effective combinations, opening a cut over his opponent’s left eye in the process.
Despite blood dripping into his eye, Linares put up some dogged resistance before Lomachenko wrapped up victory with a superbly timed left hook to the Venezuelan’s liver.
Linares managed to get back up onto his feet but referee Ricky Gonzalez waved off the contest at the 2:08 mark.
“Linares is a great champion and the fight was good for the fans and everybody. It was a great fight,” Lomachenko said after becoming the fastest boxer to win three titles in different divisions, beating the previous mark of 20 by eight bouts.
Reporting by Amlan Chakraborty in New Delhi; Editing by John O'Brien