LAS VEGAS -- Vasiliy Lomachenko didn't officially return to any lightweight throne on Saturday, but he sure looked like a lightweight king.
Lomachenko (15-2, 11 KOs) delivered a masterful performance in a ninth-round knockout of Masayoshi Nakatani (19-2, 13 KOs) on Saturday inside The Theater at Virgin Hotel. It was his first appearance since relinquishing the title of undisputed champion to Teofimo Lopez in October -- and reasserted him as one of the best 135-pounders in the world.
The finish came at 1:48 of the ninth, as referee Celestino Ruiz intervened during a prolonged flurry in the middle of the ring. Nakatani, who survived an earlier knockdown in the fifth, was essentially out on his feet. He attempted to tie Lomachenko up to stop the barrage, but Lomachenko consistently created space and landed at will.
In Atlanta: Davis turns it up late, stops Barrios to win 140-pound title
ATLANTA -- Gervonta Davis climbed to the top rope, jumped back and backflipped toward the center of the ring. The sellout crowd inside the State Farm Arena, cell phones up to record the occasion, roared.
It had been more intermittent cheers throughout the 10 rounds prior, when Davis was in a much more difficult fight than anticipated with WBA "regular" junior welterweight champion Mario Barrios. Barrios had used his height and reach advantage to keep Davis at bay.
But in the 11th round, it didn't matter. Davis knocked Barrios down for the third time and was about to do so for the fourth time when referee Thomas Taylor stepped in to stop the fight and give Davis another win in another weight class along with the WBA "regular" title.
The junior welterweight title -- the WBA's "regular" belt -- is not considered the main belt as Josh Taylor holds the WBA "Super" junior welterweight belt along with all the other junior welterweight titles. It is Davis' third division in which he has held a title belt.
"It was, I made it tough," Davis said on Showtime after the fight. "I could have made it easier, but it is what it is."
In Atlanta: Lubin stops Rosario in WBC junior middleweight title eliminator
Jeison Rosario might be a former world champion, but on this night against Erickson Lubin, he looked nothing like it.
Instead, the 25-year-old Lubin attacked from the beginning, landing with the power and consistency of a fighter who was clearly making a statement on a pay-per-view stage.
Lubin (24-1, 17 KO) staggered Rosario (20-3-1, 14 KO) in Round 3, withstood the former junior middleweight world titlist's only flurry in the fourth round. Then Lubin finished him off in the fifth round with two knockdowns, including a right hook to the body followed by a straight right to his head to knock Rosario down -- part of a dominant performance that ended the fight with a knockout with 1:42 left in the sixth round.
"I knew I was able to hurt him with the body," Lubin said postfight on Showtime. Lubin said he used the jab to set up the body shots -- and Rosario was grabbing his side by the end of the fight.
Lubin, from West Palm Beach, Florida, said he would like a title fight next and "everybody at 154 pounds." Lubin said he doesn't want tuneup fights -- he just wants to fight the best in the division.
It was an impressive performance for Lubin in a WBC junior middleweight title eliminator, who landed 28% of his punches compared to 19% for Rosario. After he knocked down Rosario the second time, he stomped his feet a little bit and then ran to celebrate, getting hugs from his team.
It was the second straight defeat for Rosario, who's from the Dominican Republic, after losing to Jermell Charlo in 2020 in a WBA, IBF, WBC and The Ring junior middleweight title fight.
In Mexico: Julio Cesar Martinez defeated Joel Cordova by sixth-round TKO. Martinez retained his WBC flyweight world title in the main event of a DAZN card in Guadalajara, Mexico, on Saturday.
In Las Vegas: Alimkhanuly overwhelms former champ Brant, scores TKO
Kazakhstan middleweight Janibek Alimkhanuly (10-0, 6 KOs) breezed to an eighth-round TKO of Rob Brant (26-3, 18 KOs) after Brant's corner determined he could not answer the bell for the start of the ninth.
It was a merciful conclusion to a one-sided rout for Alimkhanuly. The 28-year-old southpaw hurt Brant at the end of the fifth round and knocked him down moments later at the start of the sixth. Brant pushed on after the knockdown, but his offense was nonexistent.
Alimkhanuly continued to land power punches from the left side, occasionally smiling at Brant as he did. He rarely threw in combinations, but he didn't have to. He was efficient with his movements and pressure and just generally sharper than Brant.
Adames stops Salazar in Round 3
Carlos Adames had Alexis Salazar against the ropes. He came at him from behind and in front. And eventually, at 2:59 into the third round, with a left hook to Salazar's face, Adames knocked him out.
Adames, clearly the superior and more aggressive fighter, had been setting it up since the start of the fight.
"I was in control [the entire fight]," Adames said in the ring on the Showtime telecast after the fight.
Adames said he was working the jab to set up the left hook that ended the fight. Salazar (23-4, 9 KO), from Mexico, tried to get up -- but then he staggered backward. Twice. It was then the referee finally called off the bout, giving Adames (20-1, 16 KO), from the Dominican Republic his second straight win in a span of a little over three months, after a layoff of almost two years.
The only flaw in Adames' night were the multiple instances when he got behind Salazar and then tried to come from behind to hit him -- a move the referee eventually disciplined Adames for after one such instance when Salazar turned his back to him.
Daniel Matellon defeated Jose Argumedo by unanimous decision. With the victory, Matellon defends his WBA interim junior flyweight title. He has won 10 consecutive fights since back-to-back draws in 2016 and 1017.
In Atlanta: Akhmedov outpowers Mendez to earn TKO victory
Betyr Akhmedov had a cut open over his eye early on, but it didn't matter -- by the time it was done against Algenis Mendez, Akhmedov was the one who ended up jumping onto the ropes in the corner to celebrate.
Akhmedov methodically worked down Mendez on Saturday night to pick up a win in a WBA junior welterweight title eliminator, after Mendez suffered a hand injury in the eighth round.
"I started feeling [injured] in the second and third round," Mendez said. "My knuckles were broken and I couldn't throw a punch anymore after I cut him with my right hand in the first round."
Akhmedov (9-1, 8 KO) took over the fight in the later rounds against Mendez (25-7-3, 12 KO), who hasn't won a fight since 2018. Mendez, in that time, had two straight draws and then a pair of losses -- first to Richardson Hitchins, and now Akhmedov.
In Las Vegas: Santillan outpoints McCalla for unanimous decision
Giovani Santillan, 29, of San Diego, outworked Cecil McCalla, 36, of Randallstown, Maryland, over the course of eight welterweight rounds for a unanimous decision victory.
Santillan (27-0, 15 KOs) committed to a heavy pressure strategy, which simply overwhelmed McCalla (23-5, 10 KOs) all night. Santillan never really had McCalla hurt, but he bullied him around the ring one round after another, working the body and shoving him into the ropes.
Judges scored the bout 80-72, 79-73 and 78-74.
In Las Vegas: Saavedra dominates Rodriguez, wins unanimous decision
Luis Fernando Saavedra, 24, of Mexico, cruised to an easy decision win over Robert Rodriguez, 22, of San Antonio, in a six-round bantamweight fight.
Saavedra (9-6, 3 KOs) attacked Rodriguez (9-1-1, 5 KOs) to the body from start to finish, and Rodriguez had no answer. Saavedra employed that game plan early and wasn't forced to deviate. Rodriguez never looked comfortable with his jab or counter punches, and the judges' scorecards -- which read 60-54, 60-54 and 59-55 -- show that clearly.
In Mexico: Christian Alan Gomez Duran defeated Jorge Perez Sanchez by ninth-round KO. Gomez has won five consecutive fights, all by stoppage, since losing an eighth-round TKO to Daniel Echeverria in April 2019.
In Las Vegas: "Cash" Diaz dominates Jasso to stay unbeaten
It was a good night for the hometown kid, as 18-year-old Las Vegas prospect Floyd Diaz earned a clear decision over Jaime Jasso, 19, of Laredo, Texas, in a bantamweight fight.
Diaz (2-0, 0 KOs) proved to be quicker and more technical than Jasso (2-1, 0 KOs) over the course of four entertaining rounds. Jasso was not out of his league against Diaz, but he struggled to match his foot and hand speed. Diaz dropped his hands on multiple occasions, inviting Jasso to throw punches. He also didn't mind standing in the pocket at times, where his defense held up.
All three judges scored the bout a clean sweep for Diaz 40-36. He arguably did his best work in the third round, shortly after Jasso shook his head in his direction -- a gesture to indicate his punches were having little effect.
Diaz turned pro earlier this year inside the Top Rank bubble at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.
In Mexico: Diego Pacheco vs. Jesus Moroyoqui Palomares by sixth-round TKO. Pacheco dominated Palomares, and eventually a flurry of punches forced the referee to stop the fight in Round 6.
In Las Vegas: Vianello demolishes Williams in first-round TKO
Heavyweight Guido Vianello, 27, of Rome, made quick work of Marlon Williams, 37, of Lafayette, in the form of a first-round TKO stoppage.
Vianello (8-0-1, 8 KOs) simply took away Williams' will to fight. He dropped Williams at the 20-second mark with a right hand to the body, and even though Williams (6-2, 3 KOs) got to his feet and continued, the fight was over from that point on. Once action resumed, Vianello sprinted across the ring and forced Williams to a knee with a short burst of punches.
At the conclusion of the first round, Williams went to his corner and appeared ready to answer the bell for the second, but the referee ruled it a TKO and did not allow the second round to begin.
In Las Vegas: Murata makes successful debut
In his professional debut, Subaru Murata, 24, of Tokyo, knocked out Kevin Monroy, 21, of Stockton, California, with a vicious left hand at the 1:42 mark of the second round.
Monroy (1-2, 1 KO) immediately protested the stoppage, but it was easy to understand referee Russell Mora's decision. Murata landed a stiff three-punch combination leading up to the finish. The punches put Monroy's back against the ropes, and Murata pounced with a straight left. Monroy immediately went limp and fell awkwardly to the canvas, with his right leg tucked beneath him. Monroy did get back to his feet relatively quickly, but the junior featherweight bout had already been waved off.
Murata kicked off his pro career with a flourish, following an amateur career in which he went 4-4.
In Mexico: Gabriel Valenzuela defeats Juan Ocura by seventh-round TKO. Valenzuela hasn't lost since March 2017 and has a record of 21-0-1 since then.
In Las Vegas: Harris dominates Godoy in TKO win
DeMichael Harris, 24, of Cleveland, extended his perfect start in professional boxing with a third-round TKO of lightweight Jonatan Hernan Godoy.
Harris (4-0, 4 KOs) punished Godoy (5-9, 0 KOs), 29, of Buenos Aires, with left hands to the body before putting Godoy away with the right hand. He scored three knockdowns in the third round, starting with a left hook to the body with a minute left. Godoy took a knee twice more at the 30-second mark, and then right before the bell. His corner opted to call it before the fourth round began.