Lomachenko in LA
Photo by Mikey Williams/Top Rank
How Good is Vasyl Lomachenko?
By Igor Frank
With less than 10 fights in the professional ranks under his belt, former two time Olympic Gold medalist from Ukraine, Vasyl Lomachenko is already considered among the elite fighters of today by a number of pundits and boxing historians.
“Now my professional goal is to be recognized as pound for pound, the world’s best fighter,” said Lomachenko who is scheduled to face Miguel Marriaga (25-2,21KO’S) of Columbia for his tenth professional bout. “To do this I must defeat Marriaga and then to be recognized as the pound for pound best I must fight champions and unify world titles.”
Lomachenko (8-1) faces Marriaga (25-2, 21 Kos) in a 12 rounds or less contest for the WBO super featherweight title at the Microsoft Theater in downtown, Los Angeles on August 5th,2017.
ESPN will televise this bout live.
“It’s so exciting to be fighting on ESPN,” said Lomachenko, 29. “So many more people are going to learn a lot about me and what I am capable of doing in the ring.”
Seemingly, the rising star from Bilhorod-Dnistrovskyi, who currently trains in Oxnard, California, can do just about anything he wants in the squared circle. His phenomenal footwork has mesmerized fans and pundits alike, not to mention opponents and earned him his moniker “Hi-Tech”.
“I like living and training in Oxnard,” said Lomachenko:” It reminds me of a small town I grew up in Ukraine."
I first met Vasyl in person in February of 2014 at the small boxing gym in Marina Del Rey as he was gearing up for his second professional fight and his first world title challenge against Mexican veteran Orlando Salido. His stoic father/trainer Anatoly didn’t even crack a smile when he found out that we were countrymen and I spoke his language. But it is his father, most believe, who is largely responsible for success of Vasyl Lomachenko in amateurs as well as the professional ranks.
Very highly regarded in his native Ukraine, Anatoly is always designing new ways to challenge his offspring .I watched him take his son to a tennis court on a light day of training and create an exercise that forced Vasyl to move in ways he is not accustomed to. It adds to his agility and flexibility in the ring. Every day of training is a serious business, every exercise is well thought of. Anatoly also had his son in a dance school for several years which no doubt contributes to his tremendous footwork in the ring. Combine that with hard work and dedication and Vasyl makes it look easy in the boxing ring. He makes it look like he is from a different planet compared to his opponents.
Is he really that good?
Yes he is. He won his first professional tittle in his third pro fight dominating highly skilled and then undefeated Garry Russel Jr.
Vasyl lost his first shot at a world title in his second pro fight to a veteran Orlando Salido. But in defeat he demonstrated his true championship mentality and ability to learn quickly. After a bad start and a lot of absorbed low blows Lomachenko came back strong to finish the contest and came close to stopping Salido late in the fight.
“People ask me about Orlando Salido,” said Lomachenko whose promoter Top Rank has not been able to secure a rematch so far. “My answer is that I fight for Top Rank and will take on who they schedule for me. But I would like to welcome Salido to Lomachenko University in the ring someday.”
For now Top Rank has scheduled a fight with Miguel Marriaga who is considered to be a tough night at the office for anybody.
“When I face Marriaga on Saturday, I will need to find the right keys to unlock his defensive door and do what I do best in the ring. Marriaga is a strong fighter. He has heart. I have prepared hard to face him,” he said.
To keep up with the almost unreasonable expectations, a simple win will not be enough for Lomachenko. He needs to look spectacular and preferably score a knockout against an opponent who hasn’t been stopped before. Is he up for the challenge?
Tune in to the ESPN live broadcast next Saturday or better yet come down to a Microsoft theater and watch a “maestro” perform live.
Contact Igor Frank via email @firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter (Fightmonger).