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José Pedraza sees an advantage over Vasyl Lomachenko

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208   //    Timeless

•	Pedraza explained that he had made a glove with Rocky Martinez, who 2016 lost to Lomachenko (11-1, 9 KO's) (Xavier J. Araújo Berríos)
• Pedraza explained that he had made a glove with Rocky Martinez, who 2016 lost to Lomachenko (11-1, 9 KO's) (Xavier J. Araújo Berríos)

The Cidreño fighter studies his next opponent carefully for the fight in December. The World Boxing Organization's (WBO) 135-pound World Champion, Jose Pedraza, understands that he has an advantage over his next rival, the Ukrainian Vasyl Lomachenko: who is a natural lightweight.

"Of course! It is an advantage", said the cidreño fighter yesterday during a public training held at the municipal gym Félix Pagán Pintor, in Guaynabo.

Pedraza will unify titles against Lomachenko, champion of the World Boxing Association (WBA), next December 8 at the Hulu Theater of Madison Square Garden, in New York.

We saw him in the fight with (Jorge) Linares. Lomachenko comes from 126 pounds and climbed two divisions drastically. He did two or three fights in the 130 and then he went up to 135. And in the fight he saw the Linares fortress towards Lomachenko, added Pedraza, speaking about the last fight of the Ukrainian against the Venezuelan.

In that match, held on May 12, Lomachenko (11-1, 9 KO's) won by technical knockout in the tenth round to Linares. The Venezuelan had a brilliant moment and in the sixth round he knocked down his opponent. With this victory, Lomachenko won his third world title: the lightweight crown of the World Boxing Association (WBA).

For his part, Pedraza (25-1, 12 KO's) has made three successful fights in the 135 games against José Luis Rodríguez, Antonio· Morán and Raymundo Beltrán. It was in the latter, that he became the WBO lightweight champion.

Lomachenko will return to the "endagado" to face Pedraza, after an operation in the right shoulder at the end of last May. Since then he has not fought. Pedraza could also take advantage of this period of inactivity of the Ukrainian.

·In my opinion, he was not ready to fight in December. A shoulder operation takes more time, at least a year. But the doctors are the ones who decide.

In turn, Pedraza said he does not pay attention to the insistent signs of a future fight between Lomachenko and Mikey Garcia.

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Garcia has the lightweight belts of the World Boxing Council (WBC) and the International Boxing Federation (IBF). Since the European beat against Linares, specialized media have mentioned the possibility of a fight between the two. In fact, during a public training session in Lomachenko on Tuesday in California, they asked him about that possibility. The athlete indicated that his sights were on the Puerto Rican and that later "we can talk about fighting with Mikey".

Unification combat is the stellar fight of a billboard organized by the firm Top Rank in association with the Madison Square Gard. It can be seen live on ESPN and ESPN Report from 9:00 p.m.

The trainer of Pedraza, Luis Espada, meanwhile, was satisfied with the work of his pupil during the training and recognized that this fight is the most important that both have faced in their respective careers.

I see him very well, animated, focused, and with many vibes that let me know that his spirit and his intelligence are set for this fight. This is a big moment in his career and in mine as a coach and as a father. I know we're going to have a big victory on December 8 against one of the best pound-for-pound in the world, Espada said.

Knowing the importance of this fight, the veteran coach said he has made some adjustments in training, which includes reducing the use of weightlifting to prioritize repetitions so that the 29-year-old athlete develops more stamina and explosiveness.

In addition, Román Martínez has been used to glove. Martinez faced Lomachenko in 2016 and was defeated by knockout. We have to go win convincingly, and make it clear that we are winners, said Espada. Espada indicated that the boxer and his work group will leave tomorrow for Las Vegas for their training camp. Meanwhile, on December 3, they will move to New York.

Unification combat is the stellar fight of a billboard organized by the firm Top Rank in association with the Madison Square Gard. It can be seen live on ESPN and ESPN Report from 9:00 p.m.

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