By Dave Spencer/Fightnews Canada
Olivier Lontchi came in to the theme music of Michael Jackson’s ‘Thriller’ Saturday night, but in the end, it was undefeated Juan Manual “Juanma” Lopez who walked out as the King of ‘Pop’. Juanma (26-0, 24 KOs) made the fourth defense of his WBO super bantamweight title and scoring his 24th stoppage in 26 fights at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City. Lontchi (18-1-2 8 KOs) proved to be a worthy foe in the headline bout of Bob Arum’s promoted Top Rank card, but by the end of the night, the champion was just too powerful and tenacious for the Montreal fighter who suffered his first defeat of his professional career.
Despite what will go down as a courageous performance and the encouraging words from his trainer, it was hard consoling the personable fighter after the contest. Fightnews caught up with him in his dressing room: “I fought the best fight I could with this guy, he caught me good a couple of times and I was very hurt,”said Lontchi as the locked dressing room was finally opened after a lengthy delay and the fighter could be moved in from the hallway. “I came back and caught him a couple of times, but I never felt like I was hurting him. He was able to take some punches and the next second he was walking forward. He never stopped, I did my best to slow him down but I guess I couldn’t get done what I was supposed to do. He won the fight.” Wincing as his wraps were being cut off, and with a training camp injury to a left rib, Lontchi didn’t want to make excuses. “It never worked,” said the sullen fighter, “When it’s a bad night, nothing works, and for me, this was one of my bad nights. I tried, I took my chances a couple of times, it just didn’t happen.”