NEW YORK – Vasiliy Lomachenko couldn’t finish off Richard Commey in the seventh round Saturday night, but he did more than enough to beat him.

Lomachenko knocked Commey to the canvas in the seventh round, landed the harder shots with more consistency and beat the former IBF lightweight champion by unanimous decision in the main event of a 10-fight card at Madison Square Garden. All three judges – Eric Marlinski (119-108), Tony Paolillo (117-110) and Tom Schreck (119-108) – scored an aggressive, accurate Lomachenko the winner of their 12-round lightweight bout.

The 33-year-old Lomachenko demonstrated his very reliable chin, too, during a physical fight in which he took numerous flush punches from the hard-hitting Commey. He stood his ground at times in trying to knock Commey out, yet also was elusive enough in many instances to make Commey miss.

The wide scoring notwithstanding, the 34-year-old Commey competed admirably, particularly after it appeared Lomachenko would knock him out in the seventh round of their entertaining encounter. A courageous Commey came back from that knockdown relatively early in the seventh round, made the final five rounds competitive and redeemed himself nearly two years after Teofimo Lopez stopped him in the second round of their IBF lightweight title fight at The Garden.

“I saw his situation [in the seventh round]. It was very hard for him,” Lomachenko said. “That’s why I said, ‘Hey, stop the fight.’ He is a true warrior. He has a big heart and we continue and we show [the] people 12 great rounds.”

Commey considered the knockdown the consequence of a brief lapse in concentration.

“I took my eye off him for a second and then boom,” Commey said. “I just took my eyes off him and then that’s it. It is what it is. He’s a great fighter. I did what I had to do. I’m good. I’m not hurt. Nothing happened to me.”

Ukraine’s Lomachenko (16-2, 11 KOs) won a second straight fight since losing the WBA “super,” WBC “franchise” and WBO lightweight titles to Lopez in October 2020 at MGM Grand Conference Center in Las Vegas. In his first fight following that 12-round, unanimous-decision defeat to Lopez, Lomachenko dominated Japan’s Masayoshi Nakatani (19-2, 13 KOs) on his way to a ninth-round, technical-knockout victory.

The three-division champion and two-time Olympic gold medalist is already ranked number one among lightweight contenders rated by the WBC and WBO. Bob Arum, Lomachenko’s promoter, said prior to their fight that he expects the WBC and the WBO to declare Lomachenko the mandatory challenger for newly crowned champion George Kambosos Jr.

Ghana’s Commey (30-4, 27 KOs) was the second straight opponent Lomachenko fought that had previously lost to Lopez.

Brooklyn’s Lopez (16-1, 12 KOs) out-pointed Nakatani by unanimous decision in a 12-rounder that took place in July 2019 at MGM National Harbor in Oxon Hill, Maryland. Lopez, who lost his titles to Kambosos (20-0, 10 KOs) on November 27 at Madison Square Garden’s Hulu Theater, stopped Commey in the second round of their December 2019 fight at Madison Square Garden.

Commey, meanwhile, lost for the second time in his past three fights. Between his losses to Lopez and Lomachenko, he knocked out the Dominican Republic’s Jackson Marinez (19-2, 7 KOs) in the sixth round February 13 at MGM Grand Conference Center.

Commey and Lomachenko traded hard head shots for much of the 12th round. A straight left by Lomachenko seemed to impact Commey, who moved into the ropes with about 20 seconds left in their fight.

Lomachenko connected with the more effective punches during the 11th round, yet Commey came back at times with hard right hands that kept Lomachenko honest. It seemed by then that Commey would go the distance with Lomachenko.

Lomachenko backed up Commey with a right hand about 45 seconds into the 10th round. Lomachenko landed a right to the body and then a left up top with just under a minute to go in the 10th round.

Commey continued to take Lomachenko’s power well in the 10th round, though he clearly faced a significant deficit on the scorecards.

Commey connected with multiple right hands during a flurry early in the ninth round. Lomachenko landed a left just after the halfway point of the ninth round, but Commey came right back with a right hand of his own.

Willis warned Lomachenko for holding and hitting Commey with about 40 seconds to go in the ninth round.

After absorbing an absolute beating during the seventh round, Commey competed on strong legs during the eighth round and never appeared hurt during those three minutes. A ringside physician examined Commey before allowing the eighth round to begin.

Back-to-back left hands by Lomachenko stunned Commey with just over two minutes to go in the seventh round. Several seconds later, Lomachenko’s left hand knocked COmmey flat on his back.

Commey answered Willis’ count and the action continued, despite Lomachenko’s objection. Commey seemed out on his feet at one point, which prompted Lomachenko to signal to Commey’s corner for his trainers, Andre Rozier and Gary Stark Jr., to stop the fight.

Willis quickly instructed Lomachenko to fully focus on the fight. Lomachenko promptly unleashed a barrage of power punches to Commey’s head, but a remarkably resilient Commey took Lomachenko’s best shots and made it to the end of the seventh round.

Lomachenko landed a left to Commey’s body and then a combination up top in the first minute of the sixth round. Commey and Lomachenko banged it out in a neutral corner before the midway mark of the sixth round, when each fighter landed his fair share of punches.

Commey cracked Lomachenko with a right hand in the final minute of the sixth round, but Lomachenko took it well.

A little less than 20 seconds into the fifth round, Commey nailed Lomachenko with a right hand that got his attention. Commey connected with a right to Lomachenko’s body with just over a minute to go in the fifth round.

Approximately 10 seconds later, Lomachenko landed a left hand to moved Commey backward.

A left hand by Lomachenko made Commey take a step backward with just under 1:10 to go in the fourth round. Commey enjoyed some success on the inside earlier in the fourth round and landed a right to Lomachenko’s body with about 25 seconds to go in that round.

Much of the fourth round was fought at a close distance, which enabled each boxer to do some damaging work.

About 30 seconds into the third round, Commey caught Lomachenko with a short right hand inside that made Lomachenko reset his feet. Willis warned Commey for holding with just over 1:40 to go in the third round.

Lomachenko caught Commey with an array of head and body shots during the final minute of the third round. He snapped back Commey’s head with a left hand that connected with approximately 15 seconds remaining in the third round.

Lomachenko landed a left and Commey came back with a right with just under 2:20 to go in the second round. They then traded on the inside for much of the ensuing 40 seconds.

Lomachenko connected with two straight left hands with just over a minute to go in the second round. Commey clipped Lomachenko with two right hands with just under a minute on the clock in the second round.

A straight left hand by Lomachenko just before the second round ended knocked Commey backward, into the ropes. Lomachenko motioned for Commey to walk back to his corner once Commey regained his balance.

Lomachenko landed a left to Commey’s body with just under a minute to go in the first round. Several seconds later, Commey took advantage of Lomachenko’s vulnerable position and landed a right to the side of his head that made Lomachenko retreat.

Lomachenko connected with a straight left hand just before the first round ended.

Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.