Olympic Gold Medalist Vasyl Lomachenko Faces Jorge Linares Tonight On ESPN

GETTY    
     Lomachenko could become a three-weight world champion in just his 12th professional fight

GETTY Lomachenko could become a three-weight world champion in just his 12th professional fight

This is going to be a fight for the purist and one that will showcase the dazzling skills of two elite world champions willing to put their reputations on the line in a bid to be called the best in the lightweight division.

Locked in a highly competitive, tense tactical battle with Linares, the heavily favored Lomachenko quickly uncorked a 10-punch combination to the head and finished Linares with a vicious left hook to the liver in the 10th round Saturday night at Madison Square Garden. Lomachenko came back with a left to Linares' body soon thereafter. Lomachenko scored another telling combination as the final minute mark came in the round.

Linares, a southpaw, thought the fight was stopped prematurely, but still credited Lomachenko for getting the win.

At the time of the stoppage, Lomachenko trailed on one scorecard.

However, Linares landed a much-needed blow in the sixth, a huge counter right hand flooring an overconfident Lomachenko.

According to CompuBox, Lomachenko barely outlanded Linares 213 to 207 in total punches but was more accurate with Lomachenko landing 34 percent of his punches and Linares landed 28 percent of his punches.

To the surprise of many at ringside and a partisan crowd, the judges had it as an even fight when it ended.

"The motivation of fighting the best gets me up in the morning, not only Lomachenko, but that is really motivating me because I'm fighting the best pound-for-pounder in boxing and I want to continue fighting the best", he said.

The 32-year-old accepted the richest purse of his career to fight Lomachenko, a minimum of $1.2m (£738k), thanks to the backing of ESPN, who will show the fight in the US.

The last four opponents to have stepped in the ring with the Ukrainian, all top level fighters in their own right, have each been made to quit by the dazzling footwork and hand speed of one of the most exciting fighters of the 21st century.

"For me, it's a big challenge because, before this fight, I fought against guys who were the same size or a little bit smaller than me", said Lomachenko, 30.

According to CompuBox punch statistics, Lomachenko landed 213 of 627 punches (34 percent) and Martirosyan and Linares connected on 207 of 739 (28 percent). Lomachenko took it well and fired punches back at Linares. Lomachenko had won another world title.

Since winning the belt in June 2014, the two-time Olympic gold medallist has beaten the likes of Suriya Tatakhun (51-1), Roman Martinez (29-2), Miguel Marriaga (25-2) and Guillermo Rigondeaux (17-0), winning and defending the super-featherweight title on multiple occasions. Now he's moving up to 135 and people say is this a bridge too far?

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