Vasyl Lomachenko/Photo courtesy of Top Rank Inc.
Vasyl Lomachenko of the Ukraine will be seeking history Saturday night when he moves up in weight and challenges Roman “Rocky” Martinez of Puerto for his super featherweight world title at Madison Square Garden (on HBO). If Lomachenko wins, he will have won his second world title in just his seventh fight. The record of two titles in eight fights is held by flyweight champion Naoya Inoue of Japan.
However, Martinez will be defending his belt on Puerto Rican Day Parade weekend, which is huge in New York City, so Lomachenko won’t be the only one filled with extra emotion.
With that said, Martinez couldn’t care less about what Lomachenko is trying to accomplish because looking good in front of his followers trumps everything else.
“I am only thinking about beating him,” Martinez said. “I don’t care if I stop his dreams or whatever. I just have in my mind that I have to beat him and to be ready to beat him. … I don’t care right now if he is thinking that he is going to make history or something like that.”
Similarly, Lomachenko has no problem trying to make Martinez look bad on his big night.
“I am going to spoil the Puerto Rican fans’ weekend,” Lomachenko said. “They will feel very let down.”
Lomachenko still holds the featherweight title he won in his record-tying third bout. If he takes Martinez’s belt at the higher weight, Lomachenko will have to decide which belt he wants to retain and defend. It’s likely he’d stay at super featherweight.
Lomachenko, 28, is 5-1 with three knockouts. Martinez, 33, is 29-2-3 with 17 knockouts.