Signature win for Lomachenko after Walters quits
Ukraine’s Vasyl Lomachenko retained his super featherweight title with a seven round demolition Saturday of Jamaican Nicholas Walters, whose corner threw in the towel in betweens rounds telling the referee “no mas.” The two-time Olympic gold medal winner Lomachenko registered the biggest victory of his career in dynamic fashion as it was the second defense of his World Boxing Organization title and just his eighth professional fight.
“He just stood there in one place which made it easy for me,” Lomachenko said of Walters.
He dominated the previously unbeaten Walters from the opening bell, scoring at will by landing hard punches in the final round of the beatdown at the Cosmopolitan in Las Vegas.
Walters’ face showed signs of the punishment, but it appeared that he could have continued if he chose to.
Before the start of the eighth round Walters shot out of his corner and told referee Tony Weeks, “I don’t want to continue.” The way the fight ended was reminiscent of the historic 1980 rematch between Panamanian Roberto Duran and American Sugar Ray Leonard, when Duran quit in the eighth round famously telling the referee “no mas” (“no more”).
This time it was Walters’ Panamanian trainer Celso Chavez uttering the words to Weeks. It was an embarrassing first defeat for Walters, as his decision to quit in the middle of the fight dropped his record to 26-1-1 with 21 knockouts.
Walters blamed his poor performance on taking a year off between fights. “It wasn’t about quitting,” he said. “In the last round he caught me with good shots. I was hanging on just to survive. It would be stupid to come out after the last round.” With his victory Lomachenko - who compiled an amateur record of 396-1 with Olympic gold medals in 2008 and 2012 - is now 7-1 as a professional.
Lomachenko captured his first world title in June of 2014, dominating former US Olympian Gary Russell to win his in his third pro bout. He matched Saensak Muangsurin’s record for fewest fights needed to win a world championship.
The only blemish on his pro record was a loss to Mexico’s Orlando Salido in Lomachenko’s second professional fight, when the vacant WBO featherweight title on the line. Lomachenko said after the bout that he next wants to fight WBC super featherweight champion Francisco Vargas. Manny Pacquiao has also been mentioned as a possible future opponent. —AFP