LOS ANGELES - Two-time Olympic boxing gold medalist Vasyl Lomachenko won a world title in just his third pro fight on Saturday with an impressive majority decision over Gary Russell.
Ukraine's Lomachenko improved to 2-1 with one knockout in his pro career as he captured the vacant World Boxing Organisation featherweight world title with the victory over the previously unbeaten Russell.
By claiming the belt, Lomachenko matched the record of Thailand's Saensak Muangsurin in winning a world title in only his third bout as a professional.
Lomachenko's ambitious bid to win a world title in his second pro bout ended with a split decision defeat to Orlando Salido in San Antonio, Texas, on March 1.
But while Lomachenko didn't take Salido's belt that night, Salido didn't keep it as he was stripped of the title for failing to make weight.
That opened the door for Lomachenko to have a second chance to claim the vacant crown against Russell.
"I'm very, very happy, very excited to be a world champion," said Lomachenko, who ended a glittering amateur career with a record of 396-1 and two Olympic gold medals.
Lomachenko displayed an array of angles and punches, speed and solid defence in an impressive performance against a fighter considered by many to be a future US star.
Russell was active, but Lomachenko successfully blocked many of his punches. The Ukrainian dominated the later rounds with punishing blows and was pummelling Russell at the final bell.
Two judges awarded the Ukrainian the decision by a score of 116-112, while the third judge saw it even, 114-114.
"I thought it was a fair decision," said Russell, who fell to 24-1 with 14 knockouts. "I didn't stick to my game plan like I should have." On the same card in an outdoor ring at the StubHub centre in the Los Angeles suburb of Carson, California's Robert Guerrero won furious 12-round battle with Japan's Yoshihiro Kamegai.
Guerrero, a former four-division world champion, was fighting for the first time since losing by unanimous decision to unbeaten Floyd Mayweather in May of 2013.
He gained the victory in an exciting slugfest, improving to 32-2-1 with 18 knockouts.
By the end of the bout Guerrero had a cut over his left eye, which was nearly swollen shut courtesy of a Kamegai uppercut in the sixth round.
But Guerrero, who did plenty of damage himself with bruising combinations, was given the decision by a score of 117-111 by two judges, while a third saw it 116-112 for the American.
Kamegai, fighting outside of Japan for just the fourth time, fell to 24-2-1, with 21 knockouts.