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Lomachenko retains belt after Rigondeaux trainers halt the fight, citing hand injury

Lance Pugmire, Los Angeles Times on

Published in Boxing

NEW YORK -- Aware, active and attacking, Vasyl Lomachenko put the shine on the brilliant beams that flash from his two Olympic gold medals and super-featherweight belt Saturday night by stopping Guillermo Rigondeaux.

Like Lomachenko's past three opponents, Cuba's Rigondeaux stopped on the stool -- this time after six rounds -- complaining that he believes he fractured his left hand/wrist in the second round.

That, or he had given up hope after taking a frequent pounding from the bigger Lomachenko (10-1, eight knockouts), whose pressure reduced Rigondeaux (17-1) to ducking for cover and holding often.

At the time, Lomachenko had swept all six rounds on one scorecard, winning five on the others, and referee Steve Willis grew so tired of Rigondeaux's holding, he deducted one point from the recent super-bantamweight champion in the sixth round.

"I guess I should change my name to No-Mas-Chenko," Lomachenko said.

Lomachenko, 29, began increasing his pressure on Rigondeaux in the second round, using a double jab and precise power punches to swell up the right side of Rigondeaux's face near the eye. Rigondeaux showed reluctance to go toe-to-toe with the bigger man, ducking down rather than risk accepting the damage. Lomachenko pulled a page from Conor McGregor's book and promptly pounded Rigondeaux on the top of the head.

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In the fifth, after Rigondeaux tried to hold before the bell, Lomachenko escaped and threw a punch while delivering a glare. The punishment extended into the sixth, leading to the one-point deduction for the holding as Lomachenko shimmied back to his corner before learning it was over.

Lomachenko, who doubled his foe's punching output in the final three rounds, was low key after the triumph before 5,102 at Madison Square Garden's Theater.

"He's a tough fighter, a king in boxing, but a king in his weight class," Loma-chenko said of Rigondeaux. "It's not a big win for me because of that."

Promoter Bob Arum said he'll consider a slew of former or current champions for Lomachenko's next fight, possibly in March, including lightweight champs Jorge Linares and Mikey Garcia.

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