A roundup of the past week's notable boxing results from around the world:
Saturday at New York
Vasyl Lomachenko KO5 Roman "Rocky" Martinez
Wins a junior lightweight title
Records: Lomachenko (6-1, 4 KOs); Martinez (29-3-3, 17 KOs)
Rafael's remarks: Despite only seven professional bouts, it is very clear that Lomachenko, a 28-year-old southpaw from Ukraine, is one of the best pound-for-pound fighters in the world. The two-time Olympic gold medalist and two-time world amateur champion does everything exceptionally well and would be the favorite against anyone in the world from junior lightweight and below. And he would probably beat a lot of lightweights, as well.
He was absolutely brilliant against Martinez, 33, of Puerto Rico, the big crowd favorite on the eve of the annual Puerto Rican Day parade in New York. But as expected, Lomachenko, in his first HBO main event, ruined the night for the Puerto Rican fans in a dominant performance against Martinez, a three-time junior lightweight titleholder who was making the second defense of his current reign. He simply could not deal with Lomachenko's speed, accuracy, angles, movement or power.
"I couldn't see his hands," Martinez lamented about Lomachenko's hand speed.
Lomachenko was in command all the way before scoring a nasty, nasty knockout that will be in the conversation for knockout of the year. He landed a short left uppercut and then exploded a right hook on Martinez's chin, dropping him flat on his back as referee Danny Schiavone counted him out at 1 minute, 9 seconds, in the fifth round. According to CompuBox punch statistics, Lomachenko landed 87 of 202 punches (43 percent), while Martinez connected with only 34 of 178 blows (19 percent). Lomachenko also landed 58 percent of his power shots, a very high percentage.
Lomachenko came into the fight as a reigning featherweight titleholder and now has 10 days to decide which division he will keep his belt in, although he almost certainly will stay at junior lightweight. Lomachenko won his featherweight belt in only his third pro fight, tying the record for fewest fights needed to win a world title. And he made history again on Saturday, setting the record for fewest fights needed to win a title in two weight classes. He beat the mark established by Japan's Naoya Inoue, a reigning junior bantamweight titleholder, who took eight fights to win titles in a second division.
"Muhammad Ali is the greatest of all time," Top Rank promoter Bob Arum said. "We have a lot of great champions at Top Rank, but Vasyl Lomachenko is the greatest in our time. What a spectacular performance."
Felix Verdejo TKO5 Juan Jose Martinez
Records: Verdejo (22-0, 15 KOs); Martinez (25-3, 17 KOs)
Rafael's remarks: Puerto Rico's Verdejo, 23, the 2014 ESPN.com prospect of the year, was the big crowd favorite on the eve of the annual Puerto Rican Day parade in New York, and he gave the fans what they wanted -- a knockout victory against heavy underdog Martinez, 30, of Mexico, whose six-fight winning streak came to an end.
Verdejo, viewed by many as his island's heir apparent to Miguel Cotto, came into the fight needing an impressive performance following rather pedestrian outings in three decisions in his previous four bouts. But he delivered a better performance this time, even if the quality of his opposition has been very weak, especially considering he has been fighting on HBO, where the standards are supposed to be higher.
Verdejo took advantage of Martinez's aggressiveness by countering him almost at will in a one-sided fight. He rocked Martinez with a left hook in the second round, cut and swelled his right eye by the end of the third round and then ended the fight in the fifth round. Verdejo caught Martinez with a heavy right hand that rocked him and Verdejo continued to assault him with an unanswered barrage of punches. Martinez was on the ropes and not punching back or defending himself, which forced referee Michael Ortega to wave off the bout at 2 minutes, 40 seconds.
According to CompuBox punch statistics, Verdejo landed 90 of 261 punches (35 percent), and Martinez connected on only 36 of 128 blows (28 percent). Verdejo closed the show landing 24 of 40 power shots in the fifth round and landed 51 percent of his power shots overall.
"My career was on the line and that's why I worked so hard and wanted to win this one so much," Verdejo said of the need for a good performance, although overstating things. "We needed a big win and we got it."
Zou Shiming W10 Jozsef Ajtai
Scores: 100-89 (three times)
Records: Shiming (8-1, 2 KOs); Ajtai (15-3, 10 KOs)
Rafael's remarks: Zou Shiming, 35, the three-time Chinese Olympic medalist (gold in 2012 and 2008) and his country's most popular fighter, made his United States debut in a forgettable fight against unwilling participant Ajtai, 19, of Hungary. Zou won every round in hideously boring fight, mainly because Ajtai refused to engage and ran round after round.
"This wasn't how I envisioned my U.S. debut," Zou said. "I apologize to my fans. He just didn't want to fight."
Zou, who lost a decision to then-world titleholder Amnat Ruenroeng in March 2015, won his second fight in a row since. If Hall of Fame trainer Freddie Roach, who trains Zou, has his way, the next fight will be another world title opportunity against unified titlist Juan Francisco Estrada (33-2, 24 KOs) of Mexico.
Saturday at Verona, N.Y.
John Molina Jr. W12 Ruslan Provodnikov
Scores: 117-111, 116-112, 115-113
Records: Molina Jr. (29-6, 23 KOs); Provodnikov (25-5, 18 KOs)
Rafael's remarks: It did not turn into the raging fight-of-the-year contender many expected, but it was still a very good, competitive fight, one in which Molina pulled the upset by doing the seemingly impossible, as he used a heretofore unseen excellent jab and boxed more than usual to score a big win.
Provodnikov, 32, of Russia, a former junior welterweight world titleholder, was fighting his first bout since signing an exclusive contract with Showtime and was expected to win a rumble and move onto a bigger fight, possibly against Adrien Broner in the fall. But that is now in question after Molina's excellent performance.
Molina credited new trainer Shadeed Suluki for providing him with the blueprint and keeping him focused during the fight, which had plenty of action. That was no surprise, considering Molina, a former lightweight world title challenger, and Provodnikov are known for the exciting bouts and because both were half of a recent fight of the year -- Provodnikov in a close decision loss in a welterweight title bout against Timothy Bradley Jr. in the 2013 consensus fight of the year and Molina in an 11th-round knockout loss to Lucas Matthysse in the 2014 Boxing Writers Association of America fight of the year.
Molina not only outboxed the usually relentless Provodnikov, he also outfought him, including opening a cut over his left eye in the seventh round. Molina landed 377 of 1,092 punches (35 percent), while Provodnikov connected on 283 of 705 shots (40 percent), according to CompuBox punch statistics.
Provodnikov, 3-4 in his past seven fights, did not complain about the decision and gave Molina, 33, of West Covina, California, plenty of credit for his performance. He questioned whether he still had the fire to fight after so many rough battles in his career.
Molina, who won his second fight in a row after a three-fight losing streak and is poised for bigger business.
Demetrius Andrade TKO12 Willie Nelson
Junior middleweight - Title eliminator
Records: Andrade (23-0, 16 KOs); Nelson (25-3-1, 15 KOs)
Rafael's remarks: Andrade, a 2008 U.S. Olympian and former world amateur champion, had won a world title, made one dominant defense and was on his way to big things when he got sideways with his co-promoters, Artie Pelullo of Banner Promotions and Joe DeGuardia of Star Boxing. He turned down fights for career money and flirted with trying to leave to sign with Roc Nation Sports. It all led to a long layoff and the stripping of his belt for inactivity. But he finally repaired his relationship with the promoters and now seems to be back on track after looking sensational in only his second fight since June 2014.
A southpaw, Andrade, 28, of Providence, Rhode Island, displayed all the skills in the world. He showed speed, defense and power as he dropped Nelson four times in the best performance of his career. And it was an important victory, as it put him in position to be a mandatory challenger for newly crowned titleholder Jermell Charlo (28-0, 13 KOs), who won a vacant belt by eighth-round knockout of John Jackson on May 21. Charlo likely will have to make two mandatory defenses, with Charles Hatley (26-1-1, 18 KOs) first in line before Andrade.
Nelson, 29, of Cleveland, showed immense heart to take the beating he did, as Andrade hammered him repeatedly with combinations and dropped him in the first round, 11th round and twice more in the 12th round before referee Richard Pakozdi waved it off at 1 minute, 38 seconds. Andrade had won every round on all three scorecards at the time of the stoppage, as Nelson suffered the most one-sided defeat of his career.
Andrade is on his way to bigger fights but said that he wants anyone "whose name starts with 'C' and ends with 'O' -- meaning Charlo, Canelo Alvarez or Miguel Cotto.
Dejan Zlaticanin TKO3 Franklin Mamani
Wins a vacant lightweight title
Records: Zlaticanin (18-0, 11 KOs); Mamani (21-3-1, 12 KOs)
Rafael's remarks: Last June, Zlaticanin, a 32-year-old southpaw, burst on the world scene with a fourth-round upset knockout win against heavily hyped Ivan Redkach in a title eliminator. One year later, Zlaticanin won a world title in most impressive fashion, as he destroyed a totally overmatched Mamani, 29, of Bolivia. Zlaticanin, fighting for the first time since he blasted Redkach, was supposed to challenge Jorge Linares for his 135-pound world title in April, but that fight was called off (and Linares was stripped of the belt) when he fractured his hand. So Zlaticanin was lined up to face Italy's Emiliano Marsili, and then he withdrew a week before the fight because of a stomach ailment. That opened the spot for Mamani, who showed he had no business being in a world title bout.
Zlaticanin did as he pleased before badly hurting him with a left hand in the third round. A slew of blows followed, including a hard straight left hand that sent Mamani staggering into the ropes, which caused referee Charlie Fitch to stop the fight at 54 seconds.
Zlaticanin became the first world titleholder from Montenegro, while Mamani's 10-fight winning streak (against awful opposition) came to an end. When Linares -- the so-called titleholder "in recess" -- returns from his injury, he can get an immediate title shot against Zlaticanin.
Zlaticanin's dominance is illustrated by the overwhelming advantages he had in the CompuBox punch statistics. He landed 67 of 157 punches (43 percent), while Mamani landed only 19 of 119 shots (16 percent). Mamani also did not land a single of his 45 jabs, and Zlaticanin connected with 52 percent of his power shots.
Willie Monroe Jr. W10 John Thompson
Scores: 99-89, 96-92, 95-93
Records: Monroe Jr. (20-2, 6 KOs); Thompson (17-3, 6 KOs)
Rafael's remarks: Monroe, a 29-year-old southpaw, who had a big cheering section on hand from his hometown in nearby Rochester, New York, won the clear decision even if two of the scorecards appeared a bit closer than many thought. It was a match between former Boxcino tournament winners. Monroe won the 2014 middleweight tournament and Thompson won the 2015 junior middleweight tournament, but moved up in weight for the fight against Monroe.
After their Boxcino success, both fighters landed world title shots but both were coming off knockout losses in those title opportunities. Monroe got blitzed by Gennady Golovkin in six rounds of one-sided middleweight world title fight 13 months ago and was fighting for the first time since. Thompson, 27, of Newark, New Jersey, went to England to challenge Liam Smith on his turf for a vacant junior middleweight title in October. Thompson was ahead on one scorecard and even on the other two when Smith knocked him out in the seventh round.
Monroe proved to be the better man as he dropped the constantly off-balance Thompson twice en route to the decision. He dropped him with a left hand around the ear in the second round and again in the fifth round with jab to the face and appeared to dominate the fight.
Andrey Fedosov TKO6 Mario Heredia
Records: Fedosov (29-3, 24 KOs); Heredia (13-2, 11 KOs)
Rafael's remarks: After Fedosov, 30, a native of Russia who fights out of Los Angeles, won the 2015 Boxcino heavyweight tournament in May, he sat out the next 13 months, largely due to injuries, but his return from the layoff was impressive. After a slow first round to get in the groove was in the books, Fedosov cut through Heredia with ease even though Heredia, 23, of Mexico, had a big weight advantage on him - 286 to 225. It made no difference, however, as Fedosov scored six knockdowns in the bout and could not miss with his left hook.
Fedosov scored knockdowns in the third, fourth, fifth and sixth rounds, most by utilizing his powerful left hand. Fedosov also landed uppercuts and left Heredia with a bloody nose. He finished Heredia with - you guessed it -- a left hook, which sent him to his rear end in the sixth round. He beat the count but he had taken enough and referee Richard Pakozdi waved off the fight at 1 minute, 33 seconds.
Saturday at Windhoek, Namibia
Moises Flores W12 Paulus Ambunda
Retains an interim junior featherweight title
Scores: 115-110, 115-111, 114-111
Records: Flores (25-0, 17 KOs); Ambunda (24-2, 10 KOs)
Rafael's remarks: Flores, 29, of Mexico, retained his interim belt for the second time, doing so in the hometown of Ambunda, 35, of Namibia, who is a former bantamweight world titleholder.
Flores, who is the mandatory challenger for full titleholder Guillermo Rigondeaux (a fight that could happen later this year), scored three knockdowns, sending Ambunda to the mat in the first round, the sixth round and the seventh round.
"It's never an easy task going into someone's hometown and getting the victory," said Flores, who ended Ambunda's four-fight winning streak. "I had complete faith in myself, as did my team, fighting Ambunda in his hometown. We knew we had to dominate the fight to win on the judges' scorecards. He's a durable fighter with a lot of heart but I was not going to be denied. I want to be recognized as the next great fighter from Mexico. I want Guillermo Rigondeaux next."
Saturday at Trelew, Argentina
Omar Narvaez W10 Breilor Teran
Records: Narvaez (46-2-2, 24 KOs); Teran (15-14-1, 8 KOs)
Rafael's remarks: Narvaez, 40, of Argentina, is a former long-reigning flyweight and junior bantamweight titleholder looking to make another run at a junior bantamweight title. Narvaez won his third fight in a row since losing his junior bantamweight belt by one-sided second-round knockout to Japanese prodigy Naoya Inoue in December 2014.
Narvaez rolled past Teran, 31, of Venezuela, with ease, winning by shutout on all three scorecards. As if Teran, who dropped to 2-5 in his last seven fights, wasn't in a deep enough hole referee Felipe Zabala penalized him one point for landing a low blow in the seventh round.
Friday at London
Dmytro Kucher TKO1 Enzo Maccarinelli
Records: Kucher (24-1-1, 18 KOs); Maccarinelli (41-8, 33 KOs)
Rafael's remarks: Sometimes you're the windshield and sometimes you're the bug. Maccarinelli, 35, of Wales, is former cruiserweight world titleholder and a huge puncher, but he also has no chin. In December, he was the windshield to Roy Jones' bug when he scored an absolutely crushing knockout of Jones in the fourth round.
But against Kucher, 31, of Ukraine, Maccarinelli was the bug as he got obliterated in short order, his chin betraying him yet again; he has been stopped in all eight of his losses and many of them of in brutal fashion.
Kucher badly hurt Maccarinelli with a left hook to the chin and then followed with a right hand and another hammering left hook that dropped him hard. Maccarinelli barely beat the count but was in horrible shape and referee Giuseppe Quartarone waved off the fight at 2 minutes, 48 seconds as Maccarinelli trainer Gary Lockett was throwing in the towel.