Lomachenko (8-1, 6 KOs), of Bilhorod-Dnistrovskyi, Ukraine, will be making his second world title defense of 2017. On April 8, he stopped former WBA super featherweight world champion Jason “El Canito” Sosa in the ninth round. It was the second most viewed fight on premium cable for 2017. Last year saw Lomachenko named “Fighter of the Year” by several media outlets. The greatest amateur boxer of his era and arguably of all time, two-time Ukrainian Olympic gold medalist Lomachenko, started 2016 by becoming a two-division world champion just as he did with his first professional world title — winning world title No. 2 in a record least amount of fights — SEVEN! On June 11, 2016, he annihilated defending three-time WBO junior lightweight champion Roman “Rocky” Martinez via a cringe-worthy one-punch knockout in the fifth round. He followed that with his first defense of the WBO junior lightweight title, on Nov. 26, totally dominating Nicholas Walters. The previously undefeated former WBA featherweight world champion quit on his stool after the seventh round with his trainer and father Jobs Walters, telling referee Tony Weeks, ‘”No mas.” Not only was it a total domination but a boxing masterpiece painted on the canvas by Lomachenko. Lomachenko captured his first world title — the vacant WBO featherweight title — on June 21, 2014, winning a scintillating majority decision over the previously unbeaten Gary Russell Jr. It was Lomachenko’s third professional bout, tying him with Thailand’s Saensak Muangsurin for fewest fights to win a world title. Muangsurin won a junior welterweight title in 1975, also in his third professional fight. Lomachenko first gained international renown by winning gold medals in the 2008 Beijing Olympics and the 2012 London Games as a featherweight and a lightweight, respectively. He retired from the amateurs with a 396-1 record.
Marriaga (25-2, 21 KOs), from Arjona, Colombia, enters this fight having won 15 of his previous 20 fights by way of knockout. The only blemishes on his record, 12-round unanimous decision world title losses to WBO featherweight champion Óscar Valdez in a ferocious battle on April 22, and former WBA featherweight world champion Nicholas “Axe Man” Walters in 2015. Between those two world championship battles, Marriaga fashioned a five-bout winning streak, which included NABO featherweight title knockout victories against Guy Robb and Eduardo Montoya in 2016 to become the WBO’s No. 1 contender and mandatory challenger to Valdez.
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