"After this fight, we know now that he's a fighter". His skills and two gold medals have proven that.
Lomachenko's rise has been so good he could go on to become one of the greatest fighters ever.
Despite blood dripping into his eye, Linares put up some dogged resistance before Lomachenko wrapped up victory with a superbly timed left hook to the Venezuelan's liver.
"I knew about this punch", southpaw Lomachenko said. Having been in the Pro game for a significantly longer period of time, Linares will've picked up a lot of rough-house tactics which could help him break down Lomachenko. Linares though was accurate with his counter punches in the first and landed a good lead left hook at the end of the round.
Lomachenko was moving up to the 135-pound class to challenge a champion who came in with a 13-fight winning streak, including seven title defenses.
Victory would have seen Lomachenko break Saensak Muangsurin's record for the fewest fights to win a world title but he was famously "old-manned" by his 33-year-old opponent, losing a split-decision during a gruelling affair in San Antonio, Texas, US.
When the stoppage came in the tenth one judge had Linares ahead whilst another had the fight level.
The fight was competitive at times.
Lomachenko is already scheduled to return on 25 August, although a rematch with Linares looks unlikely for then.
Three inches taller and almost 10 pounds heavier after hydrating, Linares tried to impose his will by muscling Lomachenko when he could. He added that he injured his hand in the second round. As if to exact revenge, Lomachenko ended the fifth round with a brilliant combination of five or six head shots and returned to his corner talking back over his shoulder to Linares.
A surprised Lomachenko got right to his feet, but he made sure to move away from Linares until the bell sounded. Lomachenko continued to stay on the attack in the fourth round.
Halfway through nine, Linares had outlanded Loma 112-83 in power shots, and he might have levelled the scorecards, too, in a stanza which saw him buzz the lighter man with razor-like attacks. Linares got up but the referee called the bout at 2:08 of the round.
This was an incredibly hard one to decide upon, but from what I've seen I have to give the Venezuelan fighter the slight edge on speed. I wanted to continue.
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