LAS VEGAS (May 20, 2023) — Devin Haney (30-0, 15 KOs) retained his undisputed lightweight crown with a razor-thin unanimous decision victory against Ukraine’s three-division world champion Vasiliy Lomachenko (17-3, 11 KOs) Saturday night at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.
The fight began with an aggressive start from Lomachenko, who used his signature combination of feints, footwork and head movement to close the distance against Haney.
On the inside, Lomachenko had success in landing combination punches, but on the outside, Haney was able to land jabs and hooks to the body. In the later rounds, Lomachenko had more success as his combinations became more frequent.
Haney, on his part, appeared to be hurt by Lomachenko’s combos, but he fought back strongly in the final round and managed to lessen Lomachenko’s aggression with additional body punches.
Haney made the second defense of his undisputed title with scores of 115-113 2x and 116-112.
Haney said, “Lomachenko is a future Hall of Famer. It was a blessing. He was my toughest opponent by far. He is very crafty, and we put on a great fight for the fans.
“He’s a crafty fighter. He turns it up in the championship rounds. I just have to take my hat off to him. He’s a great fighter.
“This is all experience. Me and my team are going to go back to the house, watch the fight and reflect on it. I’ve been at 135 for a long, long time. This is my 30th fight. I’ve been here at 135 since I was 16 years old. We’re going to go back to the lab and figure out what’s next.”
Loma said,”I don’t want to talk about [the decision]. All the people saw what happened today.
“Before, I thought he would be better. He’s a tough fighter. He’s a good fighter. But he’s not a pound-for-pound fighter.
“I think I showed that I can still be in boxing. I’m in good shape now. And see you next time.
“Right now I want to go back home and support my country and support my Ukrainian orthodox church.”
Valdez Repeats Victory against Lopez
After more than one year of inactivity, Oscar Valdez made a successful ring return with a 10-round unanimous decision win in a rematch against Adam Lopez.
Valdez (31-1, 23 KOs) pushed the action early, using the head movement he polished under head trainer Eddy Reynoso. The pride of Nogales, Sonora, Mexico, had success in hurting Lopez in the third and fourth rounds, but Lopez (16-5, 6 KOs) began landing punches of his own in the following rounds.
However, in the later rounds, Valdez’s constant pressure began to take a clear toll as he nearly stopped Lopez in the final round. Scores: 98-92, 98-91 and 97-93.
Valdez said, “I was trying to be the better fighter. With someone with his speed, you can’t get too confident. I was just trying to be the better and smarter fighter.
“We all want Emanuel Navarrete. Nothing but respect for him. He’s a great champion. The whole world wants to see that fight. Let’s make it happen now.”
Muratalla Stops Nakathila in Two Rounds
Raymond Muratalla wanted to make a statement, and that’s exactly what he did as he scored a brutal second-round TKO over Namibian puncher Jeremia Nakathila.
Muratalla (18-0, 15 KOs) entered the fight cautiously as he was aware of Nakathila’s power, but after studying him in the first round, he began to land his punches in the second.
A right hand from Muratalla wobbled Nakathila (23-3, 19 KOs) and sent him reeling towards the corner, where Muratalla unleashed a nonstop attack that forced referee Robert Hoyle to end the fight at 2:48.
Muratalla said, “I was so prepared for this fight. I’ve been training for this fight. I’ve been so dedicated. I’m so focused, and I’m ready for anybody.
“I think I sent a big message to the lightweight division. Nobody has ever stopped Nakathila. I just stopped him in the second round. I think that’s a huge statement.
“I want the winner of the main event. That’s who I want.”
Nakatani Captures WBO Title with KO over Moloney
Junto Nakatani (25-0, 19 KOs) is now a two-division world champion. The fighting pride of Sagamihara, Japan, captured the WBO junior bantamweight world title with a scintillating 12th-round knockout over Andrew Moloney (25-3, 16 KOs).
After adjusting to Moloney’s offense in the first round, Nakatani landed a right uppercut that dropped Moloney. The Australian former former world champion was undeterred, even as they clashed heads in the third round, causing a cut over Nakatani’s left eye and one over Moloney’s right eye.
As the rounds progressed, Nakatani’s dominance increased. Moloney rallied late with short punches on the inside, but those left him vulnerable to straight left hand that dropped him in the eleventh round and an overland left in the twelfth that ended the fight. Time of stoppage: 2:42.
Nakatani said.”I was very pleased and satisfied to have a good knockout. I was ready for him and his style. I knew he would fight that way and we adjusted to that.
“I think this win opens up a big road for me. I want unification fights. It can be against anybody. It can be with [Juan Francisco] Estrada or anybody.”
Ali Walsh and Rosenberger Fight to Draw
Nico Ali Walsh (8-0-1, 5 KOs) wanted to deliver another victory for the fans of his adopted hometown of Las Vegas, but tonight he encountered a stylistic challenge in Danny Rosenberger (13-9-5, 4 KOs) with whom he fought to a split draw after eight rounds of middleweight action.
Ali Walsh worked from a high guard where he tried to pepper Rosenberger with quick jabs and right hands to the body, but Rosenberger used his footwork to prevent Ali Walsh from establishing his offense. Ali Walsh attempted to work on the inside, but Rosenberger would tie him up before finding the center of the ring and continuing to box on the outside. Scores: 77-75 Ali Walsh, 77-75 Rosenberger and 76-76.
Lightweights: Emiliano Fernando Vargas (5-0, 4 KOs) defeated Rafael Jasso (3-1, 1 KO) via second-round knockout. The 19-year-old prodigy worked off a quick jab and lead left hook before landing hard counter punches. After finding his rhythm, Vargas switched to southpaw and a left hook to the body to stop Jasso. Time of stoppage: 1:41.
Junior Featherweights: Floyd Diaz (9-0, 3 KOs) overcame a relentless attack from Mexican warrior Luis Fernando Saavedra (9-9, 3 KOs) en route to a six-round unanimous decision victory. Diaz fought off his back foot for the entire fight, using short counterpunches to land in between Saavedra’s wide punches. Scores: 80-72 2x and 79-73
Lightweights: Abdullah Mason (8-0, 7 KOs) earned his fourth straight stoppage with a TKO over Desmond Lyons (8-3, 2 KOs) at :32 of the sixth round. The Cleveland southpaw’s relentless offense was too much for Lyons, who had stopped responding to Mason’s punishing shots in the final round, forcing referee Robert Hoyle to call a halt to the fight.
Middleweights: Amari Jones (9-0, 8 KOs) opened the night of action with a sixth-round TKO against Pachino Hill (8-3-1, 6 KOs). Time of stoppage: 1:16.