Michael Conlan makes it 5-0 at Madison Square Garden
Vasyl Lomachenko stops Guillermo Rigondeaux in disappointing end to super fight
Michael Conlan beat Argentina’s Luis Fernando Molina on points in New York. Photograph: Steven Ryan/Getty
Fighting on the undercard of Vasyl Lomachenko’s world super-featherweight title win against Guillermo Rigondeaux, Conlan was taken the distance for the first time in his pro career.
But the 26-year-old won cosily on the cards, receiving a unanimous 60-54 points decision from all three judges.
It was Conlan’s first professional fight over six rounds, and he was pleased to get all of them under his belt at Madison Square Garden.
He said: “I’m happy enough and I was happy to get the rounds. I thought I was going to get him out of there, but it wasn’t really unfortunate because I want to move up to eight rounds next time, so it was good to get the six in.
“I thought it was a nice and clean performance, I didn’t really take any shots. . . it was probably more like my style of fighting, on the back foot and slick boxing. I’m happy enough and looking forward to the next one.
“Sometimes I think I’m a better southpaw than orthodox! But I showed that I can switch it up and I can confuse opponents, so I think I did that tonight.
“I felt comfortable. I just needed to make sure I was getting ahead and I didn’t take any punishment or any shots that I shouldn’t be taking.
“It’s all a learning process at the end of the day and I need to keep learning to progress as a professional fighter. That’s six rounds in the bank now and we can move up to eight next and look forward to a big night on St Patrick’s night next year.”
Later on the card Lomachenko retained his WBO super-featherweight title with a sixth round technical knockout of Rigondeaux, the impressive Ukrainian handing the Cuban-born American his first professional defeat.
The highly-anticipated duel between a pair of double Olympic champions resulted in an anti-climatic finish, however, when Rigondeaux, citing a hand and wrist injury, told the referee that he did not want to continue prior to the seventh round.
All three judges had Rigondeaux, who moved up two weight divisions for the bout, behind when he quit in front of a disappointed Madison Square Garden crowd, making it the fourth consecutive Lomachenko fight in which his opponent has retired.
Lomachenko, the 29-year-old heavy pre-fight favourite, defended his title for a fourth time and improved his career record to 10-1 (eight TKOs), including seven knockouts.
The 37-year-old Rigondeaux (17-1), who was warned by the referee several times for foul play, began telling his trainer after the third round that his left hand and wrist hurt.
“This is not his weight so it’s not a big win for me,” said Lomachenko, who won gold medals at the Beijing and London Olympics. “But he’s a good fighter, he’s got great skills. I adjusted to his style, low blows and all.”