The Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden was the venue for the long-awaited return of former unified lightweight world champion Vasiliy Lomachenko (17-2, 11 KOs). He returned from active duty in Ukraine and had a hard-fought win over Jamaine Ortiz (16-1-1,8 KOs) by unanimous decision. The final scorecards were 115-113, 116-112, and 117-111, all in favor of Lomachenko in a fight in which Ortiz started strong but faded late.
It wasn't an easy return for Lomachenko as he was peppered early in the fight, causing a welp under his right eye after the opening round. The ESPN+ streamed card noted the slow starts and “downloading information” for Lomachenko. If he was downloading information, it was on dial-up and wasn't finished until halfway in the third round when he finally started to put punches together. Ortiz, however, was bringing constant pressure and was not backing down from the former champ but was using a lot of energy early on. The fifth round was the best for Lomachencko as he used his footwork to land quick lefts on Ortiz.
— Top Rank Boxing (@trboxing) October 30, 2022
At the start of the sixth round, Lomachenko applied more pressure to Ortiz, who wasn't firing as much as he was in the opening. Ortiz's left eye was beginning to close shut. It was the target he was aiming at all round. The crowd seemed to cheer for whichever side was visibly winning, and at that point, chants of “Loma! Loma!” smattered around. Ortiz would rally back in the eighth round as he went back to applying pressure on Lomachenko inside.
As the championship rounds started, Lomachenko only landed at a 22% rate and looked like a fighter who was about to fall as a 12 to 1 favorite. That percent clip would be the final once this went the distance. One shot that seemed to land for Lomachenko was this jab that Ortiz couldn't seem to catch coming in. The output from Ortiz slowed as this was uncharted waters for him as this was the 1st 12 rounder of his career. It's shown late as he had nothing much in return fire but was still looking to at least press Lomachenko like before in what was a very entertaining fight.
Robeisy Ramirez Stops Romero In Nine
The co-main event featured Robeisy Ramirez (11-1,7 KOs), who systematically stopped Jose Matias Romero (26-3, 9 KOs) over nine rounds. Romero took the contest on ten days' notice and was greeted with knockdowns from Ramirez in the first round and relentless pressure throughout. Early in the fight, ESPN Analyst Tim Bradley said that “Romero has two chances. Slim and None,” and that was the case. Being out landed at almost a 3 to 1 ratio, Romero still hung around despite providing nothing more than professional resistance.
This bout sucked any life that remained in the building up to this point. As the fight marched on, the action slowed, leading to a lot of posing and maneuvering by both. That was until the ninth round when Ramirez finally caught Romero, stunned him against the ropes started by a left hook before the referee stepped in as he'd seen enough slow one-way traffic. 2:20 of the ninth round was the time of the stoppage. Announced on the broadcast, what's next for Ramirez was a contest in early 2023 against Issac Dogboe for the vacant WBO title at 126 pounds. The stoppage for Ramirez was his first one past six rounds, though everyone watching wished this was.
What's next, we all are thinking, is a bout with undisputed champion Devin Haney, who was on site for the fight. When asked during the broadcast if Haney wanted this fight next, Haney stated, “I don't know, we'll see what happens next.”
2023 and this matchup is one many in boxing will pencil in once it comes down.
The Rest of the Lomachenko vs. Ortiz Undercard
The rest of the undercard for the night was a showcase of their up-and-coming prospect in graduated step-up fights. As expected, all students passed their respective in-ring tests. Some were even graded on a curve with help from the judge's scorecards.
Despite some poor referee work from Arthur Mercante, Richard Torrez Jr. improved to 4-0, stopping the outgunned Ahmed Hefny in three rounds. Mercante made himself involved early, annoyingly, and often to almost catching a punch from Torrez intended for Hefny. He avoided that, and this was mercifully over at 2:32 of round three.
Duke Ragan got by tough Luis Lebron by a unanimous decision. However, the crowd registered displeasure with questionable scorecards following wide readings of 79-73,78-74, and 77-75 in favor of Ragan. Ragan spent most of the fight on the defensive, numerously spitting out his mouthpiece but somehow, despite this and the action in the ring, he improved to 8-0.
Nico Ali Walsh (7-0, 6KOs) defeated Billy Wagner by unanimous decision in what essentially was the night's story. Top Rank prospects overcame whatever was present to them in the ring and made the adjustment for victory. Same story for Troy Isley (8-0,4 KOs), Haven Brady Jr. (8-0, 4 KOs), and Tiger Johnson (6-0, 4 KOs) as they all cruised to decision victories. The lone stoppage on the preliminary action was a fourth-round stoppage over Angel Barerra.
— Top Rank Boxing (@trboxing) October 29, 2022