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Man on a mission

Associated Press

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LOMACHENKO PREVAILS

NEW YORK — Two down, two to go.

Vasiliy Lomachenko is halfway to owning all the major lightweight titles after just two fights and he’s already eyeing the guy he needs to beat to get the next one.

It was my dream to unify titles. It was my next goal. I can now focus on my next chapter

“Of course, I want two more belts and maybe we can make next year a fight with Mikey Garcia,” Lomachenko said.

He picked up his second lightweight title Saturday night, wearing down Jose Pedraza and winning a unanimous decision at Madison Square Garden.

Lomachenko (12-1) knocked down Pedraza twice in the 11th round and though he couldn’t finish him, won easily to add the WBO title to the WBA belt he picked up in May during his first fight at 135 pounds.

The three-division champion unified titles within a division for the first time after moving up to lightweight in May when he knocked out Jorge Linares in the 10th round.

“It was my dream to unify titles. It was my next goal. I can now focus on my next chapter,” Lomachenko said.

Lomachenko won one card by a 119-107 rout while two judges scored it 117-109 as did The Associated Press.

It ended his streak of eight straight victories by stoppage but he came close in the 11th when Pedraza went to a knee to stop an onslaught of punches with about a half-minute left in the round and then went down again after Lomachenko caught him with a body shot.

In his first fight since a right shoulder surgery, Lomachenko started cautiously before finding the range with a flurry of combinations in the latter half of the fight to pull away.

He tore the labrum in the second round against Linares but said he had no problems with the shoulder Saturday, even though he threw far more lefts.

“I’m healthy,” he said. “One hundred percent.”

He certainly looked it for much of the fight and is halfway to a 135-pound sweep.

The IBF title is vacant and the WBC version is owned by the unbeaten Garcia, who won’t be defending that any time soon while he moves to challenge welterweight champion Errol Spence in March.

So Lomachenko will have to wait for what would be the marquee fight in the division.

Pedraza (25-2) was making the first defense of the belt he won from Ray Beltran in August and the Puerto Rican had some good moments, including in the 10th round when he landed some good body shots and won the round on all three judges’ cards. But Lomachenko dominated from there.

“I went 12 rounds with the best fighter in the world,” Pedraza said.

“I knew what we were going up against. I thought it was a close fight until the knockdowns. At the end of the day, I am proud of what I did.”

It was Lomachenko’s third straight fight at Madison Square Garden, this one in front of a sellout crowd of 5,312 in the smaller Theater that was filled with Ukrainian flags while the Knicks and Nets played upstairs in the main arena.

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