Turning the boxing canvas into a platform for his artistry, junior lightweight champion Vasyl Lomachenko twice deposited Miguel Marriaga onto the canvas Saturday night. Shortly after, he forced yet another opponent to quit.
Lomachenko (9-1, 7 KOs), firmly in the discussion of best boxer on the planet, very much looked the part in torching former two-time title challenger Miguel Marriaga via eighth-round TKO at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles.
In just his 10th pro fight, the native of Ukraine made the third defense of his WBO 130-pound title in his basic cable debut. Lomachenko, 29, brought out all the stops in showcasing his brand to a wider audience including flashy flurries, comedic taunting and even a post-fight interview in English.
In the end, it was Marriaga (25-3, 21 KOs) who could take no more and asked out of the fight in his corner before the start of Round 8.
"It was a very interesting fight for me," Lomachenko said. "This fight, I have more experience."
Lomachenko, a two-time Olympic gold medalist, toyed with Marriaga in the early rounds by tapping him on the head with soft combinations before loading up seconds later. In Round 3, Lomachenko taunted Marriaga for hiding behind his high guard before slipping in a left cross that sent him down to the canvas.
After Marriaga reached his feet, Lomachenko ran over to the corner and willingly pinned himself while waving his opponent in. Lomachenko continued to dance and slip punches as the partisan crowd cheered his name.
Relying on his unmatched footwork, Lomachenko constantly swarmed Marriaga throughout and never let him breathe. He outlanded the 30-year-old native of Colombia by a margin of 186 to 42, according to CompuBox, and provided the appearance he could end the fight whenever he pleased.
Instead of ending with clean punches, however, Lomachenko was almost more cruel by toying with Marriaga long enough that his opponent gave up out of frustration, shortly after Lomachenko scored a second knockdown on a sweeping left hand in Round 7.
The only damage Lomachenko occurred on his night was a cut to his left eye in Round 4 when he darted forward at an awkward angle to land a right uppercut and clashed heads with Marriaga.
"I need to train my defense, I need to work on my defense," Lomachenko said jokingly, while pointing to his cut. In reality, he limited Marriaga to just 18 percent landed overall.
Having already won his first world title in just his third pro fight before becoming the first boxer to win world titles in two divisions in just his seventh pro fight, Lomachenko continues to seek bigger challenges. He only fought Marriaga because Orlando Salido, who handed Lomachenko his only pro loss via controversial split decision in just his second fight, turned down a rematch despite being offered a career-high purse.
As far as which opponent he wanted next, Lomachenko was unwilling to commit to a single name.
"For me, it doesn't matter. Anybody, anybody," Lomachenko said. "I want to fight, I want to fight. I want to unify titles. For me, it doesn't matter."