Emanuel Navarrete (38-2-1, 31 KOs) was outboxed by 2012 Olympic silver medalist Denys Berinchyk (23-0, 9 KOs), losing a 12-round split decision in a fight for the vacant WBO lightweight crown at the Pechanga Arena in San Diego, California.

(Photo credit: Top Rank)

The wild unorthodox style that usually works well for Navarrete was useless against Berinchyk, who made him miss and countered him all night. Navarrete looked helpless to land more of a small trickle of punches.

The judges’ scores were 115-113, 116-112 for Berinchyk, and 116-112 for Navarrete.

Tonight’s defeat for the 29-year-old Navarrete was his first in 12 years since 2012, and it was obviously a big disappointment. But Navarrete was making his debut at 135, and his power didn’t carry up to this division. He never had Berinchyk in trouble with the shots he landed, and he couldn’t do anything with him.

Berinchyk: The Lomachenko Clone

Berinchyk, the 2012 Olympic silver medalist looked like a clone of fellow countryman Vasily Lomachenko, dancing around Navarrete, using angles to attack and escape.

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Berinchyk took the pro-Navarrete crowd completely out of it, leaving them quiet for the most part, and sounding restless by the tenth when it was clear that their fighter was on his way to losing.

Navarrete tried hard to land his big punches, but that played into Berinchyk’s hands, as he was able to make him miss and counter him.

It would have been better if Navarrete weren’t loading up on his punches, but that’s the way he fights. He wasn’t going to take some zip of his punches to improve his accuracy.

Navarrete’s Frustration Reaches Boiling Point

By the tenth round, Navarrete looked angry, like he wanted to quit in between rounds because of his failure to land any significant shots. Every move Navarrete made, Berinchyk would make him miss, causing him to fall off balance awkwardly.

What made it worse for Navarrete is that when he’d miss, Berinchyk was countering him with shots. Even though the punches didn’t look powerful from Berinchyk, they still had enough pop on them to sting and embarrass Navarrete. He made to look bad and was obviously embarrassing.

Navarrete looked like a charging bull and was unable to reach the bullfighter. The judges’ scores don’t reflect how thoroughly Berinchyk dominated Navarrete because it was not a close fight.

What’s Next for Navarrete?

Navarrete needs to decide whether he’s going to return to super featherweight and resume defending his WBO belt or stay at lightweight and continue to suffer losses.

Unless Top Rank wants to give Navarrete a fight against IBF lightweight champion Vasily Lomachenko coming off a loss, he’s going to have to move back down to 130, Navarrete isn’t cut out for the lightweight division, and he’ll wreck his career if he stays in this weight class.



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