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Jose Pedraza wants unification bouts with Vasyl Lomachenko and Mikey Garcia after claiming WBO lightweight crown

Anthony Cocks

Australian-based boxing journalist Anthony Cocks has been covering the sport for over 15 years for various print and online publications. He refuses to believe that Roberto Duran ever lost to Tommy Hearns and says that Jeff Fenech would destroy Chuck Norris, Bruce Lee and Muhammad Ali on the same night.

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New WBO lightweight champion Jose ‘The Sniper’ Pedraza 25-1 (12) believes he has the style to defeat WBA counterpart and pound-for-pound level fighter Vasyl Lomachenko 11-1 (9) if the two meet in a unification bout later this year.

The 29-year-old Puerto Rican impressively outpointed reigning WBO 135-pound champion Raymundo Beltran 35-8-1 (21) at Gila River Arena in Phoenix, Arizona on Saturday night, dropping the 37-year-old Mexican veteran in the 11th round to win a unanimous decision 117-110, 117-110 and 115-112.

“Now I can talk about the future. I want to unify the division. I want to battle against all the champions. I want the big names. Bring Lomachenko! I have the perfect style to beat him,” Pedraza said to ESPN.com.

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Pedraza had largely flown under the radar despite previously winning the IBF super featherweight title against Andrey Klimov in 2015. He defended the title twice before losing the belt to talented Gervonta ‘Tank’ Davis in January last year.

Top Rank boss Bob Arum was non-committal when asked about a potential Lomachenko-Pedraza match-up.

“What Pedraza says, and he may be right, is that he has the kind of style that is not a style ‘Loma’ is used to,” Arum said to ESPN.com. “He says, ‘My style is the one style that can beat Lomachenko.’ We’ll see.”

Pedraza said sticking to the game plan was critical to his success against Beltran.

“We followed the game plan and we didn’t deviate from that tonight,” Pedraza said. “We knew Beltran was tough. This fight was all about the focus, and that was a key tonight. It’s no secret now, and now it’s all about unifying this belt. I want all of the big names. I want Lomachenko; I want Mikey [Garcia].”

Former champion Beltran took the loss on the chin.

“I don’t want to make any excuses,” Beltran said post-fight. “Pedraza fought a good fight.”

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