Lomachenko: the story so far...
Luke G. Williams
In a whirlwind professional career that began in 2013 and still only spans ten fights, Vasyl Lomachenko has annexed two world title belts, gatecrashing the P4P rankings in the process. Ahead of his latest bout on Saturday against Guillermo Rigondeaux, Luke G. Williams guides you through his career so far...
12 October 2013: vs Jose Ramirez, won by KO in round 4:
After a stellar 396-1 unpaid career which saw him twice win Olympic gold, the 27-year-old Lomachenko didn't turn pro like most former amateur stars with a showdown against some roadsweeper or other, but instead faced experienced Mexican Ramirez, who had a top ten rating with the WBO. A vicious left-handed body shot in the fourth round from 'Hi-Tech' virtually chopped Ramirez in half, leaving him writhing in agony on the canvas.
1 March 2014: vs Orlando Salido, lost by split decision after 12 rounds (WBO featherweight title)
Rarely can a loser have gained such credit and a winner such a deficiency of praise as Lomachenko and Salido received after this bruising encounter, as the Ukrainian challenger narrowly failed to best the record of Thai Saensak Muangsurin, who won a super lightweight world title in just his third pro bout in 1975. Having failed to make the featherweight limit of 126lbs, champion Salido ceded his crown on the scales, and probably outweighed Lomachenko by in excess of 11lbs by the time the men entered the ring. The Mexican eked out a razor-thin points decision by scores of 116-112, 115-113 and 113-115, although many believe that referee Laurence Cole should have thrown him out, or at least docked him one or two points, for persistent fouls. A moral victory for Lomachenko then, as well as an invaluable learning experience.
21 June 2014: vs Gary Russell Jr., won by majority decision (WBO featherweight title)
After the unfortunate Salido setback, Lomachenko might have been forgiven for taking an easier assignment in his third pro contest. Far from it, however, as he took on the talented and unbeaten Russell Jr. With his dazzling combinations, Lomachenko battered Russell from pillar to post - the only surprise was that the scores of 116-112 (twice) and 114-114 had it so close - the majority of observers at ringside felt that Lomachenko should have been a far wider victor. Regardless, he had equalled Saensak's record and was now WBO feather champ.
23 November 2014: vs Suriya Tatakhun, won by unanimous decision after 12 rounds (WBO featherweight title)
Despite suffering a hand injury in the sixth round, Lomachenko won every round against his Thai mandatory challenger in a dazzling exhibition of hitting and not being hit in Macao. His movement and ability to switch stances totally befuddled Suriya, who lost every round on all three judges' cards.
2 May 2015: vs Gamalier Rodriguez, won by KO in round 9 (WBO featherweight title)
It somehow seems appropriate that arguably Lomachenko's weakest performance against arguably his weakest foe took place on the uninspiring Mayweather vs Pacquiao card in Las Vegas. After a slow start, 'Hi-Tech' softened his opponent up in the fifth with a hard body shot before a succession of right hooks forced the finish in round 9.
7 November 2015: vs Romulo Koasicha, won by KO in round 10 (WBO featherweight title)
Truth be told, Koasicha - despite being gutsy - was another underwhelming and outclassed opponent for the rampant Lomachenko, who toyed with him somewhat sadistically before finishing his man with a signature vicious body shot. "I was just having fun in there," the Ukrainian admitted after the fight. "If I really wanted to knock him out, I would have done it earlier. I was having a good time, but I knew the end would be on a body shot. I just didn't know which one."
11 June 2016: vs Roman Martinez, won by KO in round 5 (WBO super featherweight title)
Roman 'Rocky' Martinez entered the ring as a three-time WBO super feather champ, with the only defeats on his record having come against class operators Ricky Burns and Mikey Garcia. Lomachenko made the 34-fight veteran look like a novice though, out-boxing and out-manoeuvring him for four rounds before bludgeoning the Puerto Rican to the canvas with a dazzling left-uppercut / right-hook combination. "I couldn't see his hands," a dazzled Martinez admitted later.
26 November 2016: vs Nicholas Walters, won by TKO in round 7 (WBO super featherweight title)
Seen by many as Lomachenko's toughest test to date, the Ukrainian utterly destroyed and dispirited the previously unbeaten Jamaican, who simply had no answer to his speed, mastery of distance, movement and footwork. The 'Axe Man' was made to look utterly impotent, quitting in his corner after six embarrassingly one-sided rounds.
8 April 2017: vs Jason Sosa, won by TKO in round 9 (WBO super featherweight title)
Lomachenko solidly pounded the overmatched Sosa for nine rounds before the New Jersey-born super feather was pulled out by his corner, leaving the many Ukrainian fans in the crowd at Oxon Hill delighted. "Maybe they like what I do in the ring. Maybe they just think I'm a good-looking guy," 'Hi-Tech joked afterwards having barely raised a sweat.
5 August 2017: vs Miguel Marriaga, won by TKO in round 7 (WBO super featherweight title)
In another scintillating display, albeit against an uninspiring choice of opponent, Lomachenko utterly dominated, scoring two knockdowns along the way as he handed out a dominant beating to the tough but outgunned Colombian. Lomachenko suffered a cut over his left eye after an accidental butt in the fourth round, but was barely inconvenienced. with Marriaga's corner halting the contest after a brutally one-sided seventh round. Elated promoter Bob Arum was moved to declare of Lomachenko afterwards: "He's unbelievable. Not only does he have the knowledge, he has the skill set that I've never seen before. Fast, reflexes, everything and he really entertains. Who else did that? Muhammad Ali."