Vasiliy Lomachenko targets Kambosos and titles after brushing aside Commey | Boxing

Vasiliy Lomachenko made his pitch for a lightweight title shot with a masterclass performance that showed why for years he was regarded as boxing’s pound-for-pound best.

The two-time Olympic gold medalist and three-weight champion from Ukraine won nearly every round against Richard Commey on Saturday night, dropping the hard-hitting Ghanian in the seventh before cruising to a unanimous-decision win by scores of 117-110, 119-108 and 119-108. (The Guardian had it 119-108.)

Lomachenko (16-2, 11 KOs) raced out to an early lead as the gulf in hand speed, footwork and overall ringcraft between the fighters was apparent from the start of the second round after a feeling-out first.

Commey (30-4, 27 KOs), a former lightweight titleholder, used the jab to keep his opponent’s attacks at bay, but was sent reeling backward into the ropes by a blinding combination near the end of the second that ignited the crowd of 8,555 that filled the lower bowl of Madison Square Garden’s big room.

Lomachenko continued to heat up in the third and fourth, finding angles with balletic footwork and landing crisp combinations to the head and body. The overhand left in particular found a home with alarming frequency as the blows took their toll and Commey’s workrate began to wane.

The audience buzzed in anticipation in the sixth when Lomachenko trapped Commey in a neutral corner and battered away, looking to close the show with a knockout. But the Ghanian fought back valiantly, bringing the fight to the center of the ring and landing body shots until the bell.

Then came the seventh, when Lomachenko badly mistreated his opponent with shots to the head and body thrown from all angles, pouring on the punishment until he finally dumped his foe to the canvas with a concussive left hook. After Commey beat the count and the referee permitted him to continue, Lomachenko twice urged his opponent’s corner to stop the fight from the center of the ring before the end of the round.

“I saw his situation,” Lomachenko said. “It was very hard for him. That’s why I said: ‘Hey, stop the fight.’ He is a true warrior. He has a big heart and we continue and we show for people 12 great rounds.”

With Commey fighting on sheer grit and not much else, the only question over the closing frames was whether Lomachenko could finish matters inside the distance. The Ghanian did make it to the final bell, but only after spendng the 12th round in full-blown survival mode, clinching and wrapping up and generally holding on for dear life.

The Compubox punch statistics gave quantitative context to Lomachenko’s dominance: he landed 248 of 554 total punches (45%) including 188 of 323 power shots (58%). Commey connected on just 73 of 614 blows (12%).

The 33-year-old Lomachenko is looking to fight his way back into the lightweight championship picture after losing his IBF, WBA and WBO title belts to Teófimo López last year by an uncontroversial unanimous decision in Las Vegas. López’s reign proved short-lived as the 24-year-old Brooklyn native lost the belts on his first defense in a major upset to Australia’s George Kambosos Jr last month.

After Saturday’s fight, Lomachenko said he would happily travel to Australia if it meant a shot at Kambosos and a chance to resume the pursuit of his long-held goal: unifying all four major belts at 135lbs.

“I will go anywhere I need to go to fight him,” Lomachenko said. “I need this chance. And if God gives me this chance I’ll take it.”

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