Dejan Zlaticanin wins WBC lightweight title to become Montenegro's first world champion
By Tim Hobbs
Last Updated: 14/06/16 12:20pm
Dejan Zlaticanin has become Montenegro's first ever boxing world champion after he overwhelmed late call-up Franklin Mamani inside three rounds to win the WBC lightweight title.
Undefeated 'Dynamite' was the strong favourite on Saturday night and showed why, flooring and stopping his foe with a familiar left hook to join Manchester duo Anthony Crolla (WBA) and Terry Flanagan (WBO) in holding one of the four major belts at 135lbs.
I think they will be delighted but I still don't think they know what this means. But they will do in a few days.
The WBC made Jorge Linares, who is being linked with a unification bout with Crolla, their champion in recess last week and even if the governing body want to return to having one world title holder, Zlaticanin (22-0-KO15) showed he is a serious threat in three one-sided rounds.
From the first bell at the Turning Stone Resort & Casino, in Verona, New York, the Montenegrin southpaw's big left caused problems for Mamani (21-2-1-KO12) who stepped in at 12 days' notice.
The opening series of shots were borderline and had the Bolivian fighter complaining to referee Charlie Finch, but as soon Zlaticanin raised his point of attack, it became a question when, not if he would make national history.
His simple but strong left led the way in the second and although Mamani started to fire back in the second, the third showed the difference in class and power.
Zlaticanin's opening left hook upstairs saw 'El Matador Jr' wobbled and, even though he ended up on his knees, there was no knockdown after the referee decided a shove rather than a shot was to blame.
But seconds later, the same left landed twice, a vicious short uppercut had Mamani pinned on the ropes, where the inevitable end came 54 seconds into the round, as referee Finch stepped in to call the TKO after the last left hook struck.
Zlaticanin's joy was as obvious his finishing prowess and the man that beat Scotland's first three-weight world champion, Ricky Burns, two years ago, was understandably delighted to hold the lightweight green belt.
"I am proud and my people will be proud of me," he said through a translator afterwards.
"I wanted to entertain my fans that came here to support me and I would like to thank them and all my Montenegrin people. I think I made them proud.
"I think they will be delighted but I still don't think they know what this means. But they will do in a few days."