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Berinchyk upsets Navarrete for vacant WBO lightweight title

Future Publishing / Getty

Denys Berinchyk defeated Emanuel Navarrete via split decision (115-113, 112-116, 116-112) to claim the vacant WBO lightweight title Saturday night at Pechanga Arena in San Diego.

Berinchyk was the second Ukrainian fighter to win a championship boxing match Saturday after Oleksandr Usyk defeated Tyson Fury to become the undisputed heavyweight champion in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Also, countryman Vasiliy Lomachenko beat George Kambosos Jr. last weekend to capture the vacant IBF lightweight belt.

Berinchyk entered the fight against Navarrete as a 4-1 underdog but left with his first world title.

The bout was very competitive and at times sloppy, but Berinchyk picked apart Navarrete in the middle rounds to seal the deal on two of three judges' scorecards. Navarrete edged out Berinchyk 128-127 in total punches and 98-84 in power shots.

The vacant WBO title was up for grabs after Devin Haney relinquished all four lightweight belts last November to focus on a move up to junior welterweight.

Berinchyk joins Lomachenko, Gervonta "Tank" Davis, and Shakur Stevenson as the four current world champions in the wide-open 135-pound division.

Berinchyk, 36, remains undefeated and lifted his professional record to 19-0 with nine knockouts. He earned a crack at the title with a unanimous decision win over Anthony Yigit last August in Poland.

Navarrete, the reigning WBO junior lightweight champion, moved up in weight to challenge for a title in a fourth weight class. The 29-year-old Mexican is a former WBO champion at featherweight and junior featherweight. Navarrete was coming off a majority draw against Robson Conceicao last November in his second 130-pound title defense.

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