Decorated amateur Vasyl Lomachenko, who came up short in his first bid for a title, got it right Saturday night at the StubHub Center in Carson, Calif., by outworking Gary Russell Jr. down the stretch to capture a majority decision and the vacant WBO featherweight championship.
Lomachenko (2-1-1 KO), a southpaw, won the fight by committing his attack to the body. Russell Jr. countered with quickness in the opening rounds. His double jab landed, but Lomachenko would find him with thudding shots.
Russell Jr. (24-1, 14 KOs) did well when he was the aggressor, but he paid a painful price. His lightening quick combinations landed. Lomachenko bobbed and weaved and stayed on his toes. His plan was to stay close and work the midsection. His heavy shots began to hurt Russell Jr., 26, in round five. The Washington, DC native fought back in the next few heats, but it was obvious that Lomachenko was winning the battle of wills.
Russell Jr., also fighting out of the southpaw stance, started to slow down in the last few rounds. Lomachenko, 26, moved his attack upstairs. A number of hard punches landed. Russell Jr. showed a good chin by absorbing the shots. In the last minute of round 12, Lomachenko cemented his victory by hurting Russell Jr. with vicious blows to the head and body.
Somehow Russell Jr. remained standing.
"I was just working hard. I landed a lot of punches to the body and head,” said new champion Lomachenko in the ring.
The bout was televised live on Showtime Championship Boxing