TARGETS FOR HIGH TECH – VASYL LOMACHENKO’S ROUTE TO BOXING HALL OF FAME

If Vasyl Lomachenko retired tomorrow, many would agree the Ukrainian wizard would more than deserve his place in the Boxing Hall of Fame and would go down in boxing folklore, especially in his native Ukraine. 

The Ukrainian’s resume boasts one silver and two gold World Amateur Championship medals, one European Games Gold medal and two Olympic Games Gold Medals in two different weight categories, culminating in a truly impressive amateur record of 396 wins with just 1 loss. Professionally his record stands at 7-1 and is already a two-weight World Champion in just 8 fights.

However, what would Vasyl “Hi-tech” Lomachenko have to achieve to go beyond being one of the great fighters of our generation and become one of the greatest fighters of all time?

Even more importantly whom would the Ukrainian have to fight to achieve that? Many have hinted at the suggestion Vasyl could quickly move to lightweight, much like he did moving from featherweight to Super Featherweight after just six fights. However, I believe at 5ft 6inches and a reach of 65inches he’s a natural Super Featherweight. However, we do also have to take into account who Lomachenko is promoted by (Bob Arum), which determines the fights at elite level that could realistically happen. In the Super Featherweight division, the landscape looks healthy for Lomachenko, who currently holds the WBO Super Featherweight title. To unify the division at 130 pounds Vasyl’s options are; Mexican WBC champion Miguel Berchelt who recently beat the highly rated Francisco Vargas, Panamanian WBA World Champion Jezreel Corrales and IBF World Champion Gervonta Davis. The first two fighters I mentioned could be matched quite easily by promoter Bob Arum, but Floyd Mayweather who promotes Gervonta Davis has made it clear Davis is not ready for Lomachenko yet! What also should be appetising to Lomachenko is the fact Orlando Salido is currently campaigning at Super Featherweight and would be the perfect opportunity for “High Tech” to avenge his only career defeat and beat Salido. He lost a contentious split decision to in his second pro bout for the WBO featherweight title in 2014.

Vasyl Lomachenko has the opportunity to do something in the Super Featherweight division he could not do at Featherweight and unify the belts in that weight class. Vasyl only held 1 title at featherweight. With Lee Selby (IBF Champion), Leo Santa Cruz/Nicholas Walter (WBA Champion) and Gary Russell Jr (WBC Champion) holding the rest of the titles at 126 pounds at the time, it meant unification fights were tough to get for Lomachenko. His promoter Bob Arum is reluctant (to put it mildly) to work with Al Haymon, with all the aforementioned fighters signed up to Haymon’s Premier Boxing Champions. Apart from Jamaican Nicholas Walters, who was actually in negotiations to fight Loamachenko at Featherweight. Sadly, it fell by the wayside though. Despite this Lomachenko did finally get the chance to tame the highly rated former World Champion. Giving the undefeated Walters no option but to retire in the 7th round in November. A fight with at the time P4P Super Bantamweight World Champion Guillermo Rigondeaux was also mooted at featherweight, but sadly never came to fruition. Leaving Lomanchenko no option to move up and fight Puerto Rican WBO Super Featherweight World Champion Roman Martinez. 

Before “Hi Tech” can sink his teeth into the rest of the champions Super Featherweight, he will need to take out WBA regular World champion Jason Sosa on April 8th. Sosa is a credible opponent for Vasyl, having victories on his record to Stephen Smith, Javier Fortuna and a draw with Nicholas Walters. All the same it’s a fight we want to see Lomachenko get out of the way quickly and move on to the big fights that can be written into the boxing history books.

With a couple more belts at Super Featherweight in the next year to eighteen months, Lomachenko would still have plenty of time in his career to move into the lightweight and possibly even light Welterweight. Real tests and potential mega fights with the likes of the current WBA and Ring Magazine World champion Jorge Linares and undefeated WBC World Champion Mikey Garcia are fights that would really cement Vasyl Lomachenko’s name into Boxing’s timeline.

By Adam Noble-Forcey

Twitter @Adam4cSports