Vasyl Lomachenko makes his case for No. 1 pound-for-pound fighter

AP Photo

Vasyl Lomachenko celebrates after defending his super featherweight title with a 7th-round TKO of Nicholas Walters on Saturday in Las Vegas/Associated Press photo by John Locher

 

Making a fighter like Nicholas Walters quit is ultra-impressive. That’s what Vasyl Lomachenko did Saturday when Walters did not answer the bell for the eighth round of their super featherweight title fight at the Cosmopolitan in Las Vegas.

Did Lomachenko (7-1, 5 KOs) make his case for best pound-for-pound fighter in the world? Perhaps. The two-division champion wants that recognition.

“I had my plan,” said Lomachenko, of Ukraine. “I knew it would take four rounds and then I went to work on him. Walters said he would do this and that he would do that throughout training camp, and in the end, he just quit.  I would like to fight (fellow super featherweight champion) Francisco Vargas next.  My goal is to be the No. 1 pound for pound fighter.”

Prior to the fight, The Ring had Lomachenko No. 7 in its pound-for-pound rankings. With his tremendous performance Saturday, it figures he’ll move up. Heck, it would be difficult to say any other fighter should be ranked ahead of him.

 

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Vasyl Lomachenko realizes what he’s up against in Nicholas Walters

Vasyl Lomachenko, left, of Ukraine, punches Roman Martinez, of Puerto Rico, during the fourth round of a WBO junior lightweight title boxing match Saturday, June 11, 2016, in New York. Lomachenko stopped Martinez in the fifth round. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

Vasyl Lomachenko, left, lands a punch to the head of Roman ‘Rocky’ Martinez during the fourth round of their super featherweight title fight in June at Madison Square Garden. Lomachenko won via 5th-round TKO/Associated Press photo by Frank Franklin II

 

As good as Vasyl Lomachenko is, as much as his promoter Bob Arum touts him as the greatest he’s seen since a young Muhammad Ali, Lomachenko knows he is in for a real nasty time of it Saturday when he defends his super featherweight belt against hard-hitting Nicholas Walters. The two will square off at the Cosmopolitan in Las Vegas (on HBO).

“This is a very important bout for me because many boxing experts and many people in boxing rank Walters as the highest-rated fighter in our division,” Lomachenko said. “He is a very hard puncher and a very good boxer and for me it’s a very important thing to me to fight the best and it’s very important for me because everyone says he is a very good fighter.”

As for the Ali comparison, here’s what Arum told reporters during a conference call: “I would like to say this; that Vasyl Lomachenko is technically the best fighter that I have seen since the early Muhammad Ali. There is nobody that I have seen, and there have been a lot of great technical fighters that I have seen – Alexis Arguello was one, Floyd Mayweather certainly, Manny Pacquiao – but there has been nobody with the skills that Vasyl Lomachenko has.”

Lomachenko, of Ukraine, is 6-1 with four knockouts. The two-time Olympic gold-medal winner has also held a major world title in the featherweight division.

Walters, of Jamaica, is 26-0-1 with 21 knockouts.

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Bob Arum: If Vasyl Lomachenko beats Nicholas Walters, he should be candidate for Fighter of the Year

Vasyl Lomachenko vs. Chonlatarn Piriyapinyo: TV Fight Time, Date and Live Stream

Vasyl Lomachenko will defend his title Saturday against Nicholas Walters in Las Vegas/Photo by Stephen Dunn, Getty Images

 

Vasyl Lomachenko (6-1, 4 KOs) of Ukraine on Saturday night at the Cosmopolitan in Las Vegas will put his super featherweight world title on the  line against Nicholas Walters (26-0-1, 21 KOs), a mean, hard-hitting hombre from Jamaica.

Not only does this fight have tremendous potential for great excitement, it could be absolutely vicious.

Promoter Bob Arum explained the reasoning during a conference call Monday.

“Well, they call Walters the ‘Axe Man’ for a reason,” Arum said. “I mean, he searches and destroys, you know, he’s a tremendous puncher. And he’s in with a technician who has enormous ability in boxing not only defensively, but offensively. So I mean, this is a
can’t miss fight and I want people to realize that not only do I believe that it will be a Fight of the Year candidate, I believe that if Vasyl Lomachenko is successful, he should be right up there in the consideration for Fighter of the Year.”

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Bob Arum can envision Manny Pacquiao and Vasyl Lomachenko tangling

Manny Pacquiao/Photo courtesy of Top Rank Inc.

 

Manny Pacquiao is a small welterweight. Heck, he wouldn’t even be a big junior welterweight if he were still fighting in that division. It therefore wasn’t shocking to
hear his promoter – Bob Arum – talk about the possibility of Pacquiao at some point taking on super featherweight champion Vasyl Lomachenko.

Pacquiao (58-6-2, 38 KOs) on Nov. 5 will challenge Jessie Vargas for his welterweight belt at Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas (on Top Rank pay-per-view, $59.95). Three weeks later – on Nov. 26 – Lomachenko will defend his title against tough Nicholas Walters at the Cosmopolitan in Las Vegas (on HBO).

At the moment, Pacquiao and Lomachenko (6-1, 4 KOs) are fighting at 147 and 130 pounds, respectively. But Lomachenko told yours truly prior to his most recent bout this past June that he could see himself moving up another weight class or two, meaning lightweight (135 pounds) and as high as junior welterweight (140).

“Yeah, 135 to 140,” Arum said. “Manny, he can fight at 135.”

He can still make that weight?

“That’s what he says, sure,” Arum said Wednesday afternoon at Pacquiao’s camp in Hollywood. “I saw him sparring with Ray Beltran yesterday and Beltran’s a lightweight
and Beltran towered over him. He was so much bigger.”

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Tickets for Vasyl Lomachenko-Nicholas Walters go on sale Wednesday

Vasyl Lomachenko

Vasyl Lomachenko/Photo courtesy of Top Rank Inc.

 

If ever there was a case to use the term “potential Fight of the Year candidate,” it would be regarding the Nov. 26 super featherweight title fight between champion Vasyl Lomachenko and Nicholas Walters at the Cosmopolitan in Las Vegas (on HBO).

Lomachenko, who won gold medals for Ukraine in the 2008 and 2012 Olympic Games, will be making the first defense of the title he won with a fifth-round knockout of Roman “Rocky” Martinez in June at Madison Square Garden. Lomachenko (6-1, 4 KOs) also has held a world title in the featherweight division.

Walters, of Jamaica, is  a former featherweight champion who once stopped Nonito Donaire in the sixth round of a title fight in October 2014. Walters is a vicious fighter with a record of 26-0-1 and 21 knockouts.

Tickets go on sale Wednesday at 10 a.m. for this Top Rank Inc. card. They are priced at $50, $75, $100, $150 and $200 and can be purchased through Ticketmaster by calling 800-745-3000 or by going to www.ticketmaster.com. Another avenue is going to www.cosmopolitanlasvegas.com/.

 

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Vasyl Lomachenko, Nicholas Walters set for what could be Nov. 26 barnburner

Vasyl Lomachenko

Vasyl Lomachenko/Photo courtesy of Top Rank Inc.

 

When talk of a fight between super featherweights Vasyl Lomachenko and Nicholas Walters began, the thought of it happening was enticing because these two guys are both mean hombres in the ring.

Well, an accord for the fight came to fruition Wednesday and the two will square off Nov. 26 at The Cosmopolitan in Las Vegas (on HBO).

Lomachenko (6-1, 4 KOs), of Ukraine, will be looking to make the first defense of the super featherweight world title he won from Roman “Rocky” Martinez via 5th-round knockout in June in New York City.

Lomachenko, who has also won a title at featherweight, said he’s stoked to be getting the opportunity “to test myself in the fight with the best.”

Walters (26-0-1, 21 KOs), a former featherweight champion who lost his belt on the scales prior to what would have been his fourth defense – against Miguel Marriaga – had a similar reaction.

“Any fighter can be knocked out no matter who he is,” said Walters, of Jamiaca. “I like fighting the best and I like fighting against great technical fighter like Lomachenko. Look at what happened when I fought a great technical fighter like Nonito Donaire. Lomachenko is great, he knows what he is doing in the ring.  But I always look for a knockout against whomever I fight.  If I can do it quick, I will.  This is the best fight out there in boxing today. It will be the Fight of the Year.”

Walters stopped Donaire in the sixth round of a featherweight title fight in October 2014 at StubHub Center in Carson.

 

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Longtime promoter Bob Arum shoots down foolish notion that boxing is dead

Bob-Arum-042015-Getty-FTR

Bob Arum/Getty Images file photo

 

Longtime promoter Bob Arum on Tuesday played host to a news conference in Los Angeles to formally announce the undercard for the Nov. 5 welterweight title fight between champion Jessie Vargas (27-1, 10 KOs) and Manny Pacquiao (58-6-2, 38 KOs) at Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas (on Top Rank pay-per-view, $59.95).

Not one to miss an opportunity, Arum closed the proceedings by talking about how alive and well boxing is – contrary to what some think. It wasn’t long ago that an L.A.-area columnist (not from this newspaper) who doesn’t even cover boxing said boxing was dead.

“Boxing not only isn’t dead, but it’s on the cusp of a great resurgence,” Arum said on the dais at the Conga Room. “You have all of these great, young fighters from the United States, from Mexico and from all around the world who are coming to the world stage.”

While pondering that, just think of all the terrific fighters not from the U.S. or Mexico making a big splash here these days. We’re talking the likes of Gennady Golovkin, Vasyl Lomachenko, Sergey Kovalev, Kell Brook and Carl Frampton to name just five.

“We are on the cusp of really a time in boxing where people all around the world will join together to watch our great athletes perform,” Arum said.

The main undercard fight for Pacqjuiao-Vargas will have Nonito Donaire (37-3, 24 KOs) of San Leandro via the Philippines defending his super bantamweight belt against Jessie Magdaleno (23-0, 17 KOs) of Las Vegas.

Also, newly crowned featherweight champion Oscar Valdez (20-0, 18 KOs) of Mexico will defend his title against Hiroshige Osawa (30-3-4, 19 KOs) of Japan.

Finally, Zou Shiming (8-1, 2 KOs) of China and Prasitsak Papoem (39-1-2, 24 KOs) of Thailand will duke it out for a vacant flyweight world title.

 

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John Molina Jr. beats Provodnikov, Vasyl Lomachenko KOs Roman Martinez

 

John Molina Jr.

John Molina Jr./Photo courtesy of Premier Boxing Champions

 

John Molina Jr. of Covina on Saturday had the biggest victory of his career when he won a 12-round unanimous decision over former world champion Ruslan Provodnikov of Russia in the junior welterweight main event at Turning Stone Casino in Verona, N.Y. Molina won by scores of 115-113, 116-112 and 117-111.

Molina, a powerful hitter known for getting into ring wars, boxed more than he ever has in securing the victory. His best friend was his left jab, with everything else working off it.

Afterward, Molina, 33, noted that he didn’t have much of an amateur career and that “I believe I’m getting ready to  hit my stride.”

Molina (29-6, 23 KOs)  was asked if he had any concern about the scorecards before they were read. His response spoke volumes.

“I think it was self-explanatory,” he said on the Showtime telecast. “A fighter knows when he won a fight in the ring. I won that fight.”

Provodnikov (25-5, 18 KOs) agreed.

“Today the decision was the right thing,” he said. “Molina won the fight. He was better tonight.”

Also Saturday, on HBO, Vasyl Lomachenko (6-1, 4 KOs) of the Ukraine became the first fighter to win two world titles in his first seven fights when he knocked out Roman “Rocky” Martinez (29-3-3, 17 KOs) of Puerto Rico in the fifth round at Madison Square Garden to take Martinez’s super featherweight championship.

A mean two-punch combination put Martinez on the canvas, time of the end coming at 1:09.

 

 

 

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Vasyl Lomachenko vows to ‘spoil’ Puerto Rican Day weekend for fans of Roman ‘Rocky’ Martinez

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.

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Vasyl Lomachenko didn’t recognize Orlando Salido before March 2014 fight

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).

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