Photo by Efrem Lukatsky
Using pinpoint accurate punches and a punishing attack from start to finish, Brooklyn’s Paulie Malignaggi stopped previously unbeaten Vyacheslav Senchenko in the ninth round on Sunday to win the WBA world welterweight championship.
Fighting at the Donbass Arena in Senchenko’s hometown of Donetsk, Ukraine, Malignaggi took away the home crowd advantage almost immediately, dominating the bout until referee Steve Smoger deemed Senchenko unable to continue due to a grotesquely swollen left eye.
“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!”
With the win, the 31-year old Malignaggi, now 31-4 with 7 knockouts, becomes a two-time and two division world champion, having previously held the IBF junior welterweight crown from 2007 to 2008.