Lomachenko Shines

Photo by Top Rank

Lomachenko Shines in Las Vegas

By Igor Frank

LAS VEGAS-Prior to his Saturday night title defense against Mexican challenger, Romulo Koasicha (25-5,15KO’S), the WBO feather weight titlist from Ukraine, Vasyl Lomachenko, told his promoter Bob Arum of Top Rank that he wanted to be known as boxer-painter. Lost in translation, perhaps he meant an artist. The modern day Picasso created another masterpiece on Saturday night at the Thomas Mack Center in Las Vegas as he dazzled fans with phenomenal skills and brilliant footwork.

Lomachenko (5-1,3KO’S) dominated overmatched Koasicha over nine one sided rounds and finally stopped him with a body shot in the tenth.

But like a lot of great artists Vasyl will not be fully appreciated by fans, not until after he is finished with boxing. Fans inside the arena got restless after three one sided rounds. Observing that kind of dominance they expected an early knockout, but it didn’t come till the tenth round.

“I knew it was going to be a knockout with a body shot,” said Lomachenko, 26, after the fight. Former two time Olympic gold medalist and arguably one of the best amateur boxers of all time did not seem to be in a hurry to score a knockout. Instead, Vasyl was grateful he got a chance to demonstrate his exceptional boxing skills.

Lomachenko took control of the fight from the onset behind a stiff jab from the southpaw stance and fluid combinations that backed the Mexican challenger. Koasicha opened up a bit in the second stanza while Lomachenko concentrated on the body attack. Vasyl hurt his opponent several times in the third, first with a body shot and then later on with a beautiful combination. An uppercut was a shot of the fourth round for Lomachenko who also displayed movement that seemed as effortless and graceful as if it was choreographed ballet dance.

Despite being outgunned, Koasicha continued to let his hands go thus making a contest fun to watch, at least for me. Lomachenko controlled the action in rounds five and six and dazzled fans with movement and combination punching, but his opponent did not concede the fight and was firing back. It looked like Vasyl decided to sit down on his punches a bit more in the seventh stanza. He unleashed a furious attack, firing and moving, firing and moving while fans chanted Vasya Vasya! (a term of endearment for Vasyl) in awe of what they saw in the ring. The assault continued in the eighth frame with more body work featured by Lomachenko.

The only adversity Vasyl had to face was Vaseline getting in his eyes from a stiff jab early in the ninth stanza. Like a seasoned veteran Lomachenko glided to his corner and had it wiped off before referee could object to it. Lomachenko finished the job in the tenth stanza with a body shot. Koasicha went down and decided that he had done enough allowing Robert Byrd to count him out. The time of the stoppage was 2:35.

Like every great artist, young Lomachenko was not completely satisfied with his performance.

“I would give myself seven out of ten,’ said Vasyl when asked to grade his feat. “I am not happy about my defense, just look at my face!”

Contact Igor Frank at axident@pacbell.net or via Twitter (Fightmonger)