Vasiliy Lomachenko floored Richard Commey in a masterful points victory that kept the Ukrainian star in contention for another world lightweight title fight.
Lomachenko dropped Commey heavily in the seventh round and even tried to persuade his opponent’s corner to halt the fight before he sealed a dominant win with scores of 117-110, 119-108 and 119-108 at Madison Square Garden in New York.
The former unified champion is now expected to become mandatory challenger for George Kambosos Jnr, who ripped the WBA, IBF and WBO belts from Teofimo Lopez with an upset win last month.
Lomachenko’s early caution was justified when Commey clipped him with a sharp right hand in the opening round.
But it was Lomachenko’s turn to show his speed and precision in the second as he staggered Commey with a hurtful combination.
A lightning counter left hand from Lomachenko caught Commey in the third round, while the three-weight king pumped out more blurring punches in the fourth.
Lashing in a straight left, Lomachenko continued his stinging assault in the fifth, although Commey hit back with thudding hooks in the sixth.
But Lomachenko cut short Commey’s thoughts of a fightback in the seventh as a left hand dropped the Ghanaian heavily by the ropes.
In a show of compassion, Lomachenko gestured for Commey’s corner to prevent further punishment but the former IBF champion staggered through the remainder of the round.
Lomachenko slightly eased his assault, probing his dazed opponent with precise shots in the eighth, while Commey tried to land looping hooks in the ninth.
A crunching counter was shrugged off by Lomachenko, who replied with a dazzling cluster of punches in the 10th.
With a commanding lead on the scorecards, Lomachenko cruised through the final two rounds as he easily avoided Commey’s desperate attempts to land a fight-changing blow.