SAKARIA 'Desert Storm' Lukas believes he beat Tugstsogt 'King Tug' Nyambayar in their international super featherweight clash, which was declared a split-decision draw in Atlantic City in the United States on Saturday.
The veteran Namibian (25-1-1, 17 KOs) survived a jittery start and early onslaught from his Mongolian rival to deliver a statement performance.
Lukas took the fight on 10 days' notice after a 30-hour flight to reach Atlantic City, never relented. He started slow, slammed with a few uppercuts in the early rounds, though never went away, Premier Boxing Champions reported.
By the third round, it looked like "King Tug" was in control. By the sixth, his work rate had declined, and Lukas kept coming forward.
Then in the eighth, with 2:43 left, Lukas looked like he knocked down Nyambayar, but referee Edgardo Claudio controversially ruled it a slip.
That slip, however, caused a stir in Lukas, who raised his energy level. It looked like Lukas snuck in a left jab that caused the knockdown, which followed an overhand right.
"Everyone saw it was a knockdown that should have given me a split-decision win," Lukas said.
The explosive fight preluded American Gary Russell Jr ((31-2, 18 KOs) losing his WBC featherweight world title to Filipiono Mark Magsayo via 12-round majority decision in the main event.
Lukas wants to face the undefeated Magsayo (24-0, 16 KOs) next after testing his mettle against Nyambayar, who held the IBO featherweight title in 2019 and challenged for the WBC equivalent in 2020.
"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," Lukas continued.
"I want to face the winner of the main event. This was an amazing opportunity for me and I showed up."
Judge Ron McNair had it 96-94 for Nyambayar. Tony Lundy had it 96-94 for Lukas, and judge Robin Taylor had it 95-95.
"I thought I won the fight and I didn't believe it was a knockdown," Nyambayar said. "It was a hard fight, especially against an opponent on short notice. My goal is to fight for the world title again."