Featherweight titlist Vasyl Lomachenko, the brilliant two-time Ukranian Olympic gold medalist regarded by many as the best amateur fighter in boxing history, is making quite a name for himself as a professional.
Lomachenko, who won a world title in only his third professional fight, made his first defense against Chonlatarn Piriyapinyo and cruised to a one-sided, unanimous decision on Saturday night at the Venetian Macao's Cotai Arena in Macau, China, (Sunday morning Macau time) on the Manny Pacquiao-Chris Algieri undercard.
Lomachenko, despite suffering a left hand injury in the sixth round, won by shutout, 120-107 on all three scorecards. ESPN.com also had Lomachenko winning 120-107.
"I had a lot of pain in my (left) wrist beginning in the sixth round but battled though it," Lomachenko said through a translator.
The victory keeps an eventual title unification fight with Jamaica's Nicholas Walters (25-0, 21 KOs), who knocked out Nonito Donaire on Oct. 18, on course. Top Rank chairman Bob Arum, who promotes both fighters, has designs on the two appearing together on a doubleheader in early 2015 and then squaring off in a very attractive fight next summer.
"I want to fight Walters and from there fight all the champions and clean up the division," Lomachenko said. "I want all of the belts."
Lomachenko, a southpaw, dominated Piriyapinyo, his mandatory challenger from Thailand, despite the injury. Lomachenko stopped throwing the left for several rounds after hurting his hand with a head shot and only occasionally throwing a few half-hearted lefts just to show it in the later rounds. Instead, he beat Piriyapinyo using only his powerful right jab, hooks and lateral movement. His defense was also outstanding.
According to CompuBox statistics, Lomachenko landed 368 of 1,006 (37 percent), while Piriyapinyo was limited to only 86 of 471 (18 percent).
Before the injury, Lomachenko hit him with everything, including numerous hard, right jabs that snapped his head back. But Lomachenko is so adept at switching stances that he did it often in the first half of the fight, and Piriyapinyo (52-2, 33 KOs), 29, seemed confused as to where the punches were coming from.
Lomachenko (3-1, 1 KO), 26, who won his title in June with a masterpiece against then-unbeaten 2008 U.S. Olympian Gary Russell Jr., unleashed a sustained flurry punctuated by a nasty overhand left to drop Piriyapinyo late in the fourth round of an increasingly one-sided fight.
Piriyapinyo was getting his second world title shot. He lost a lopsided decision to then-featherweight titleholder Chris John in John's native Indonesia in November 2012.
Zou dominates OnesongchaiGym
Chinese flyweight star Zou Shiming, the fighter responsible for big-time boxing coming to Macau, scored four knockdowns and thoroughly dominated Kwanpichit OnesongchaiGym in a one-sided decision win in a world title elimination fight.
Two judges had Zou winning 119-106, and the third had it a 120-103 shutout. ESPN.com also had Zou winning 120-103.
Zou (6-0, 1 KO), not known as a powerful puncher, hammered OnesongchaiGym in the second round and dropped him hard twice, both with flush right hands. OnesongchaiGym survived but was in huge trouble, as Zou continued to pound him until the bell rang.
Zou, 33, trained by Freddie Roach, continued to dominate Onesongchaigym (27-1-2, 12 KOs), 33, of Thailand, a Pacquiao look-a-like, landing all kinds of clean shots throughout the fight.
OnesongchaiGym's offense consisted mainly of low blows, for which referee Danrex Tapdasan gave him a hard warning for in the fourth round and told him he would take a point for him next time. Indeed, when OnesongchaiGym landed three consecutive low blows in the sixth round, Tapdasan took a point. Moments later, Zou, whose left eye was mildly swollen, dropped OnesongchaiGym with a right hand.
An accidental head-butt opened a cut over Zou's left eye in the eighth round -- the first cut of his pro career.
Zou punctuated his victory with another knockdown on a right hand in the final seconds of the fight.
The bout was an eliminator to become the mandatory challenger for 112-pound titleholder Juan Estrada of Mexico, though Top Rank will more likely look to match Zou with titlist Amnat Ruenroeng of Thailand in the main event of a card in February in Macau.
Zou won three Olympic medals, bronze in 2004 and back-to-back golds in 2008 and 2012. He also won gold at three world amateur championships in 2005, 2007 and 2011.
Vargas wins decision against DeMarco
Jessie Vargas, in his first bout with former pound-for-pound king and four-division titleholder Roy Jones Jr. serving as his trainer, won a unanimous decision against Antonio DeMarco in a grueling fight to retain his secondary junior welterweight title.
Vargas, whom Top Rank promoter Bob Arum has mentioned as a possible Pacquiao opponent, retained his belt for the second time by winning 116-112 on all three judges' scorecards. ESPN.com had Vargas winning 117-111.
An accidental head-butt opened a cut on Vargas' left cheek, but it did not play into the fight, which Vargas (26-0, 9 KOs), 25, of Las Vegas, dominated.
Vargas' straight right hand, his best punch, was on point. He used it to snap DeMarco's head back in the fourth round and then battered him with it in a big fifth round. He landed four in a row, as DeMarco's head bounced all over the place.
DeMarco (31-4-1, 23 KOs), 28, a southpaw from Mexico, was game and had his moments, especially with a good body attack in the seventh round and some hurtful left hands to the head in the ninth round, but he could never put together the kind of combination that would do any serious damage to Vargas.
In the fight, Vargas landed 263 of 654 punches (40 percent), according to CompuBox statistics, and DeMarco connected on 179 of 491 (36 percent).
DeMarco trained with Roach in Pacquiao's camp but came into the fight with thoughts of his 13-year-old sister, Mariana. DeMarco had been in camp for about a week when he found out she had been diagnosed with bone cancer in her shoulder and will go through chemotherapy.
DeMarco's three-fight win streak since he lost his lightweight belt by eighth-round knockout to Adrien Broner in November 2012 came to an end.