Vasyl Lomachenko's rise up the boxing ranks continues after he scored a TKO victory over Nicholas Walters to retain the WBO junior lightweight title on Saturday.
After Lomachenko dominated the fight for the first seven rounds, Walters told the referee before the eighth round he didn't want to continue, via HBO Boxing:
ESPN.com's Dan Rafael was critical of the way Walters decided to end the fight:
Shakur Stevenson, who won an Olympic silver medal in boxing this summer, didn't mince words after Walters quit:
While the finish was rather unusual because Walters didn't appear close to being finished, Lomachenko was barely breaking a sweat to assert his will, via HBO Boxing:
Since turning pro in 2013, Lomachenko has been rolling over the competition. His lone loss was a controversial split decision in his second career match, against Orlando Salido.
The 28-year-old from Ukraine is certainly no stranger to the spotlight, despite having just eight career fights under his belt. Lomachenko has two Olympic gold medals on his resume, and ESPN.com has him ranked as the No. 7 pound-for-pound fighter in the world.
When the Lomachenko-Walters matchup was first announced, Top Rank promoter Bob Arum said the WBO champion wanted to establish his legacy by going against the best fighters in the world.
"He wants the best challengers, and for him, the titles mean everything," Arum said, per Rafael. "So if he goes up to lightweight, I'd have to match him with a champion. But right now, we're at the point where he has a top challenger in Walters."
Lomachenko didn't shy away from the top contenders in his first title defense. Walters entered this match 26-0-1, with 21 of those victories coming by knockout or TKO.
Showtime boxing analyst Paul Malignaggi offered this summation of what makes Lomachenko so good in the ring:
Walters didn't have any kind of response to Lomachenko's unique style in this fight. He's the future of the sport, and this was a one-sided destruction from start to finish.
Given his age, fighting style and seemingly limitless ceiling, Lomachenko won't need much more time before he is regarded as the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world. He's got the stamina to go 12 rounds with anyone, the power to stop a fight at any moment and the drive to keep pushing himself against elite competition.
Boxing is a unique sport because the competitors have all the say in who they fight. The best boxers don't shy away from anyone. Lomachenko has taken on all challengers thus far and made things look easy, with Saturday's win being his latest statement to put the rest of the sport on high alert.
Walters didn't hesitate to give Lomachenko credit for the display he put on during Saturday's bout in a post-fight interview with HBO's Max Kellerman (h/t Keith Idec of BoxingScene.com): "He's a great fighter. He hit me hard with a number of punches. I've never been hit like that before. He's very fast. He's a very good puncher. He got me with shots all over."
Lomachenko, though, continued to look ahead, per the Associated Press (via ABC News): "My goal is to be the No. 1 pound-for-pound fighter in the world."
However, he wasn't too impressed with Walters: "He's a good fighter, really strong. But he stood there and made it easy for me, then in the end he just quit."