Vasyl Lomachenko/Photo courtesy of Top Rank Inc.
Vasyl Lomachenko is one of the finest Olympians in history, having won gold medals for Ukraine in both the 2008 and 2012 Games. Still, it was somewhat stunning to see him fight for a world title in his second pro bout.
Then-featherweight champion Orlando Salido of Mexico was Lomachenko’s obstacle in March 2014 in San Antonio. Another one arose at the weigh-in after Salido lost his belt on the scale when he weighed 128 1/4 pounds, 2 1/4 over the limit. That meant only Lomachenko could leave the ring with the title.
However, it also meant that the overweight Salido would enter the ring at 147 pounds, gaining 18 1/2 after the weigh-in. He was 11 pounds heavier than Lomachenko on fight night.
The result was a split-decision loss for Lomachenko. Interestingly, he said that when he saw Salido in the ring before the bell, he couldn’t believe his eyes.
“When he came in the ring and took his t-shirt off, it looked like a different person in front of me than the person I saw at the weigh-in,” Lomachenko said this week. “There was a completely different person in front of me.”
The difference was apparent.
“Did I feel his weight in the ring?” Lomachenko said. “Yes, I did feel his weight when I was fighting him, but I cannot blame it on the weight or anything. I was prepared for him to come heavier in the ring. But I still had to fight – I had to do what I had to do.”
Lomachenko (5-1, 3 KOs) won a featherweight title in his next bout with a majority decision over Gary Russell Jr. in June 2014 at StubHub Center. He has made three defenses and will move up in weight June 11 to challenge Roman “Rocky” Martinez (29-2-3, 17 KOs) of Puerto Rico for his super featherweight belt at Madison Square Garden (on HBO).
Salido (43-13-3, 30 KOs) on Saturday will challenge countryman Francisco Vargas (23-0-1, 17 KOs) for his super featherweight title at StubHub (on HBO).