Meet Vasyl Lomachenko: The star who has surpassed most levels of boxing but is just getting started

Boxing on TV: The Ukrainian's successful amateur record yielded hundreds of victories and just one defeat, and now Lomachenko is making waves professionally

Martin Hines
Saturday 05 August 2017 13:08
Lomachenko won consecutive golds at the 2008 and 2012 Olympics
Lomachenko won consecutive golds at the 2008 and 2012 Olympics

Perhaps due to the somewhat barbaric nature of the sport, boxing fans sometimes have a tendency to overrate artistry.

Feints become embellished, while knockouts are treated with the grandeur of a sculpture. Despite the intense levels of commitment required to make it at any level of boxing, for many fighters, punching is the entire point of the game.

Vasyl Lomachenko isn’t like most boxers however. The Ukrainian supremo has surpassed most levels of boxing, and seems to be just getting started. An outrageously successful amateur record yielded hundreds of victories and just one defeat, with two Olympic gold medals and two world championship titles indicative of his prowess.

A move to the professional ranks in October 2013 resulted in a convincing victory over Jose Ramirez, before he attempted to win a world title in just his second fight. The miracle result wasn’t to be however after Orlando Salido used every dirty trick in the book to eke out a split decision win, but unperturbed, Lomachenko has dominated all who have followed since.

The likes of Gary Russell Jr, Nicholas Walters, Roman Martinez and most recently Jason Sosa have been made to look like rank amateurs, with Lomachenko’s speed and skill unparalleled against genuinely quality rivals. Tonight, in just his tenth professional fight, he aims to keep his run going against hard-hitting Colombian Miguel Marriaga in Los Angeles.

On paper, it’s a mismatch and in reality it will probably be even more so. Just like a 1950s musical might hint towards, anything Marriaga can do, Lomachenko can do better. Now 29, the WBO super featherweight champion is at his physical prime, with his daunting athletic attributes now teamed with increasingly powerful punches, most notably to the body.

Marriaga is attempting to become just the second person to beat Lomachenko

Lomachenko rarely gets hit, but unlike some defensive fighters who grow tired of their own abilities, he still works hard to maintain a balanced attitude at all times.

Marriaga is game, brave and packs power of his own, but he’s not fighting a normal man tonight. He’s battling a genuine artist who has the capability to beat him with whatever tactics he chooses. This isn’t a fight to pick a side and hope for a competitive brawl, this is a moment to appreciate a potential all time great do what he does best.

“The biggest thing for me is I want to fight top, top fighters in the weight class that I am now fighting in. That is my biggest goal,” said Lomachenko recently, but he’s still not looking past his Colombian opponent tonight.

“I did see his bout against Oscar Valdez and what can I tell about him? He is strong and his conditioning is good. He has skills, so what everybody else thinks is going to be easy, I don’t think it is going to be easy for me,”

The bookmakers certainly think it will be an easy night at the office for Lomachenko, having placed him as an overwhelming 1/100 favourite. If you believe in the concept of chaos, and let’s face it, this is the year for it, you can certainly get rich betting on Marriaga to win at 22/1.

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