Vasyl Lomachenko hungrier than ever ahead of title unification clash against Jose Pedraza at Madison Square Garden

Anthony Cocks

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WBA lightweight champion Vasyl ‘Hi-Tech’ Lomachencko 11-1 (9) says that his time on the sidelines recovering from injury has only increased his desire to succeed ahead of his unification bout with WBO counterpart Jose ‘The Sniper’ Pedraza 25-1 (12) at the Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden this Saturday night live on ESPN.

Lomachenko is having his first fight back since his hard-fought, up-from-the-canvas 10th round TKO of talented Venezuelan Jorge Linares in May.

“I come from recovering from an injury and in that time my hunger has grown. This fight will increase my legacy, it’s about fighting with the best and continuing to look for challenges,” said the 30-year-old Ukrainian southpaw.

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“I want other goals but right now I’m focused on Pedraza. We have had a good camp and on Saturday they will see it.”

The former WBO featherweight and super featherweight world champion suffered a torn labrum in the Linares fight but says that he is now fully recovered.

“I am 100 percent. I feel good. When the injury happened, I was mentally prepared to deal with it. I still had my feet. I still had another hand. I am very competitive. I feel like when you step in the ring, you need to finish the fight,” Lomachenko said.

Puerto Rican Pedraza, 29, insists that he has not lost the hunger since his 12-round title winning effort against Mexican veteran Raymundo Beltran in August.

“When I snatched the WBO title from Ray Beltran we already knew that the next one would be Lomachenko. We have not lost the focus and the preparation has been strong,” said Pedraza.

“We know what he is capable of and what is difficult to overcome. We work for it and for what will happen in the fight.”

Pedraza says he has already visualised victory and can only see the fight ending with his hand raised.

“I have visualized all the possible scenarios. I’ve seen myself winning, I’ve seen myself knocking him out, I’ve seen myself pulling out the victory coming from behind. The closer the fight approaches, the more I see myself with my hands held high and with the two titles on my shoulders. I already fulfilled my goal of becoming a world champion, and now I’m going after the goal of unifying titles,” he said.

“The titles will return to Puerto Rico with me. I know that it will not be an easy fight. I will be facing one of the best fighters in the world. He has tremendous skills, but I know that I also have great skills and the necessary focus to come out with the victory. Puerto Rico deserves a moment of happiness. I’m going to do it for them, and my family.”


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