by Johnny Walker
Brooklyn’s Paulie “Magic Man” Malignaggi upset Vyacheslav Senchenko today, cutting him to ribbons over nine dominant rounds to win the WBA world welterweight championship at the Donbass Arena, Donetsk, Ukraine.
Malignaggi (31-4, 7 KOs) got off to a fast start, using his superior speed to strafe the soon to be ex-champion with crisp jabs to the face, also scoring with some well-placed body shots. By the second round, Senchenko’s left eye was already swollen, and things would not get much better for him the rest of the way.
Senchenko did get briefly on track in round four, hitting the Magic Man with some hard left hands, but Malignaggi stuck to his game plan, and Senchenko’s face was badly marked up and bloody by the end of round six.
By round eight, Senchenko’s left eye was worsening as the American tattooed it with jabs, and it seemed only a matter of time, as the now desperate champ, his vision impaired, was winging wild shots that Malignaggi deftly avoided.
Finally, when Malignaggi landed a hard right hand directly on Senchenko’s grotesquely swollen eye in round nine, referee Steve Smoger had seen enough, and waved off the fight, handing Senchenko (32-1, 21 KOs) his first loss and making Paulie Malignaggi the new WBA welterweight champion of the world.
“This is the happiest day of my life,” said an elated Malignaggi from his dressing room in Donetsk.
“I trained really hard for this fight and believed in myself. I don’t care what anyone says, I’m a two-division world champion. This is exactly why I signed with Golden Boy. I’m ready to fight any welterweight in the world.”
“Paulie went into the lion’s den and again showed everyone what he is all about,” said Golden Boy Promotions CEO Richard Schaefer.
“With his dominating performance, he put everyone at 147 lbs. on notice. Ever since he moved to the welterweight division, he has assembled one thrilling performance after another and now the crowning achievement…Welterweight World Champion! Brooklyn here we come!”