By Keith Idec
Vasyl Lomachenko demoralized another contender and made him quit Saturday night.
Way behind on the scorecards and obviously overmatched, Colombia’s Miguel Marriaga decided seven discouraging rounds against Lomachenko was more than enough. Ukraine’s Lomachenko (9-1, 7 KOs) won their ESPN main event by technical knockout and made a third impressive defense of his WBO super featherweight title at Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles.
The uniquely skilled southpaw made a third straight opponent quit between rounds. Former champions Jason Sosa (20-2-4, 15 KOs) and Nicholas Walters (26-1-1, 21 KOs) also declined to continue in their respective fights against Lomachenko on April 8 and November 26.
The heavily favored Lomachenko began battering Marriaga (25-3, 21 KOs) with body shots and uppercuts during the middle portion of the seventh round. He dropped Marriaga for the second time in the fight when his left hand to the head sent Marriaga to the canvas with one second to go in the seventh.
Marriaga reached his feet and walked to his corner, but Jack Reiss waved an end to the scheduled 12-round fight several seconds later.
Marriaga remained reluctant to engage during the sixth round. Lomachenko landed several hard body shots in that round, as well as a right uppercut.
Lomachenko complained to referee Jack Reiss in the fifth round about Marriaga hitting him low and head-butting him.
An accidental clash of heads with just over a minute left in the fourth round caused a cut near the corner of Lomachenko’s left eye. Their heads came together just after Lomachenko landed a right uppercut.
Lomachenko also had a mark under his right eye by that point in the fight.
Lomachenko floored an off-balance Marriaga with a straight left hand with 37 seconds to go in the third round, after their legs got tangled. Marriaga didn’t seem to be hurt badly and got up quickly.
Once the action resumed, Lomachenko backed into a neutral corner and demonstratively waved Marriaga forward, so that they could exchange punches from close quarters.
Marriaga usually is a stronger starter, but he was tentative from the beginning against a left-handed opponent who has faster hands and better footwork. Mostly moving backward, Marriaga allowed Lomachenko to come forward and land at will during the first two rounds.
Marriaga landed a right hand apiece in the first two rounds, but not much else as Lomachenko landed lots of jabs and straight left hands.
Lomachenko has won eight straight fights since suffering his lone loss, a 12-round split decision to Mexico’s Orlando Salido (44-13-4, 31 KOs, 1 NC), in March 2014. Salido roughed up Lomachenko in just the second professional fight for the former amateur star and edged him on two of the three scorecards that night in San Antonio (116-112, 115-113, 113-115).
The two-time Olympic gold medalist also won a sixth consecutive bout by knockout or technical knockout.
Marriaga, 30, lost a second straight bout. Mexico’s Oscar Valdez (22-0, 19 KOs) defeated Marriaga by unanimous decision in their 12-round fight for Valdez’s WBO featherweight title April 22 in Carson, California.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.