Tugstsogt Nyambayar vs. Sakaria Lukas
Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa in Atlantic City, New Jersey, USA – 22 January 2022
Hard-hitting contender Tugstsogt Nyambayar (12-2-1, 9 KOs) and once-beaten Sakaria Lukas (25-1-1, 17 KOs) fought to a spirited split-decision draw after 10 rounds of super featherweight action. The fight featured a controversial ruling of a slip on an apparent knockdown for Lukas that would have given the late-replacement the victory.
The back-and-forth affair saw Nyambayar strike first, connecting in round one with a left uppercut that caused Lukas to stumble. Lukas was able to recover quickly, but fell behind across the early rounds as Nyambayar out-landed his opponent 67 to 46 across the first five frames.
Lukas began to work his way back into the fight, landing right hands off of a consistent jab, including an overhand right that appeared to hurt Nyambayar in round eight. After the right hand, Lukas landed a counter left that put Nyambayar on the canvas, but the knockdown was ruled a slip by referee Eddie Claudio.
“What I saw in real time, he fell down not from the impact of the blow but from his body language, he just slipped. His feet went and he slipped,” said Claudio post fight to ringside reporter Jim Gray.
The potential missed knockdown call turned out to be the difference in the fight, as Lukas won at least three of the last five rounds according to all three judges. The final tallies were 96-94 for Nyambayar, 96-94 for Lukas and 95-95, resulting in the split-draw.
“I thought I won the fight and I didn’t believe it was a knockdown,” said Nyambayar. “It was a hard fight, especially against an opponent on short notice. My goal is to fight for the world title again.”
“Everyone saw it was a knockdown that should have given me a split-decision win,” said Lukas, who endured a 27-hour flight to the U.S. for the bout from his native Namibia. “I fought my heart out and I deserved the win. I took the fight on short notice, but I was ready to win. I believe I won the fight, but I can’t do anything about the decision. We had the fans behind us, they know what happened.”
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