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Tracking Greatness: Lomachenko

Back in October 2013, I wrote (on another site) the following about Vasyl Anatoliyovich Lomachenko and his upcoming fight with Jose Ramirez

‘‘He reminds me of the Olympians from the ‘76 and ‘84 (American) teams, like (Sugar Ray) Leonard, (Leon and Michael) Spinks, (Evander) Holyfield, (Pernell) Whitaker, (Mark) Breland. They were ready to face established pros from Day One.’’—Carl Moretti (Yahoo Sports)

“Jose “Negro” Ramirez (25-3) recently shocked Filipino Rey “Boom Boom” Bautista (34-2) in an ugly and sometimes dirty brawl featuring head butts and elbows to win the WBO International featherweight title and he did it in Davao City, Philippines, no less. “Negro” has been flying under the radar as most of his work has been done south of the border in and around Mexicali. In fact, his astonishing win over Bautista was his very first bout outside of Mexico where he won his first 20 professional fights out of the gate.

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“Despite Ramirez’s credentials, he will be no match—no, make that made to order for the speedy and technically crafty 25-year-old Lomachenko. The Ukrainian is touted as one of the greatest amateur boxers in recent decades most likely will put on a clinic in this his first professional fight.

“There has been a lot of discussion recently about the purist style of boxing. For those who like it, you will love Vasyl Anatoliyovich Lomachenko.

“After Vasyl dispatches Ramirez, the Ukrainian’s next opponent could come from the current top ten featherweights. In fact, it just might be the winner of the Battle of Orlando’s”.
Lomachenko’s Debut: Sensational (October 13, 2013)

“… the best fighter coming out of the amateurs since Sugar Ray Leonard. He fights like a professional, has great reflexes, speed and he’s heavy handed, everything he you want in a fighter.”—Bob Arum
“He has experience and power.”—Jose Ramirez

“Lomachenko is special.”—Roy Jones Jr.

“It’s not often that a fighter will live up to the hype, but Vasyl Lomachenko did that and more tonight at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas.

“Despite Jose “Negro” Ramirez WBO International featherweight championship credentials, he was no match for the speedy and technically crafty two-time, 25-year-old Olympic gold medalist, The Ukrainian Lomachenko, one of the greatest amateur boxers in recent decades (reportedly amassing an amazing amateur record consisting of around 396-1), put on a mini clinic in this his first professional fight. He used perfect distance and separation, incredible movement, solid defense, and an offense that included four- and five-punch combinations and crunching body shots. In fact, he floored “Negro” twice with body shots and once with an invisible head butt. The last body blow delivered late in the fourth round put Ramirez down and out. Referee Russell Mora waived it off immediately.

“There has been a lot of discussion recently about the purist style of boxing. Vasyl Anatoliyovich Lomachenko combines it with obvious power.

“Lomachenko has let it be known that he wants to be the greatest boxer the sport has ever seen. Given tonight’s debut performance, he could well be destined for superstardom. Look for him to seek a world title fight in his next fight and I’m betting the opponent just might be the winner of the Battle of Orlando’s, Orlando Salido.”
It’s Lomachenko’s Time (February 13, 2014)

“I know people expect Lomachenko to beat me and take my title away, and while I respect all he did as an amateur, professional boxing is not the same. He has had just one professional fight. My experience, strength and hunger will be the difference.”—Orlando “Siri” Salido

“I may have only one professional fight on my resume but I have been boxing all my life…”—Vasyl Lomachenko

“By now, we all know about Gennady Golovkin, Sergey Kovalev, Ruslan Provodnikov, Evgeny Gradovich, and many other fan-friendly Eastern European warriors who have raised the bar on excitement. They seemingly come from everywhere.  Ukrainians, Uzbekistanis, Belarusians, Kyrgyzstan, Bulgarians, Armenians, Kazakhstanis, Russians, and Poles and have erased the stereotypes of being robotic, technically boring, and straight— au contraire.

“And the best of the bunch might be someone we have only seen once; namely, two-time Olympic Gold Medalist Vasyl Lomachenko (1-0) who will battle “Siri” Salido (40-12-2) on March 1 at the Alamodome live on HBO. The Ukrainian has picked a tough customer in Salido who gets stronger as his fights progress and who enters this title defense having won six of his last seven fights by knockout. While some think he is chinny, I attribute it more to a balance issue than anything else as he always seems to recover from his knockdowns. And even against Mikey Garcia, he was coming on at the end. Salido is simply someone who never should be underestimated.

“Lomachenko is accustomed to being an amateur world champion and many serious observers consider him one of the greatest amateurs ever. He features all-out aggressive style but seemingly can adapt to whatever is required as his technical skills are simply superb. The thinking here is that after a hard-earned win over Salido, he will wear the mantle of WBO featherweight champion in only his second professional fight—and along with it, a popularity that will rival that of GGG’s”
Salido Edges Lomachenko (March 15, 2014)

“I don’t want to say anything about the judges. I’m a fighter, and my job is to fight…I’m a straight fighter. I’m clean. I would never fight dirty and throw punches below the belt. I have no excuses. He didn’t make weight, but I thought I could still beat him.”—Vasyl Lomachenko

“I was hurt very badly in the 12th round… He caught me with a very bad body shot. It was a matter of survival. It was preparation that got me through the round. I made sure he didn’t land a liver punch.”—Orlando Salido

“The whole team, and everyone else in boxing, should have learned that fighting in Tex-Ass while Laurence Cole is the ref—unless he is on your side—is just plain senseless.  Cole should be retired.  By force–Poster named Don from Prov

“When was the last time you watched a professional fight where the favorite’s record was 1-0? March 1 you say? However, Vasyl Lomachenko (1-0) failed to make boxing history tonight in San Antonio by winning a world title in only his second professional fight as he lost a split decision against gritty and savvy Orlando “Siri” Salido (41-12-2). The record, by the way, was set by Thailand’s Saensak Muangsurin, who won a junior welterweight world title in just his third professional bout in 1975 against Spaniard Perico Fernandez.

“After dominating and stopping a less-than-rugged featherweight contender Jose Ramirez in his pro debut,  Lomachenko failed to get the right kind of separation in the early rounds against Salido and allowed the rugged Mexican veteran to open an early lead with a solid body attack—accompanied by too much inexplicable holding from Lomachenko. Salido’s attack included a large number of obvious low blows that were either ignored or missed by referee Laurence Cole who turned in a particularly egregious performance.

“Salido, after recent title winning efforts against Juan Manuel Lopez and Orlando Cruz, proved that no amateur background can compare to the hard lessons he learned in the professional ranks. Still, by coming in as a welterweight and well over the lightweight limit, Siri gained a distinct advantage as Lomachenko’s blows seemed to have less impact until round 11 when he finally got his mojo working.

“Lomachenko, who was 396-1 as an amateur, hurt Salido with a straight left in the 12th and then went after him with a vicious body attack that had him on the verge but time ran out. Had the fight gone another minute, history would have been made in Texas tonight. In this connection, a case can be made that the 12th stanza could be scored as a 10-8 round. A case also could be made that Salido should have been deducted a point for his low blows.

“Instead, two judges (Jack Reiss and Oren Shellenberger) had it for Salido, 116-112 and 115-113, while the third (Levi Martinez) had it for Lomachenko 115-113. I had it 116-114 for Lomachenko. “

And now this for RINGNEWS24:

Lomachenko dominates and beats Gary Russell (June 22, 2014)

Despite a horrid score of 114-114 by judge Lisa Giampa in which she now joins C.J. Ross in infamy, Vasyl Lomachenko used stiff and powerful jabs, displayed great lateral movement, and repeatedly landed an assortment of signature withering body blows that had Russell gasping at the end.  He also benefited from a cool and collected corner that functioned like a well-oiled machine.

A grunting—but non-intimidating– Russell threw lots of punches but missed lots of punches, while the Ukrainian master was very economical and made everything count on his way to a majority-decision-that-should-have- been- a- unanimous- decision.  The judges were split, scoring it 114-114 and two scores of 116-112 for Lomachenko. I had it 117-111. Lomachenko, the two-time Olympic gold medalist showed beyond any doubt why he is on an extremely fast track to superstardom
One thing I noticed at the end of a couple of rounds was that Vassily moved toward his corner with a few seconds to go. When the bell rang, the stool was ready and he simply sat down while Russell walked across the ring to his corner. Now this had to be an anomaly because no boxer can be that intelligent in the heat of battle —correct?

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