At the age of 29, Vasiliy is a four-year pro. A two-division world champion, he won the WBO featherweight world title in his third pro fight in June, 2014, and made three successful title defenses, then vacated the title to move up in weight. He won the WBO junior lightweight world title in June, 2016, and has now made four successful title defenses.
He is a very special talent.
Vasiliy’s goal as a professional is simple – to be the best boxer in the world – and after only four years and 11 pro fights, he has already reached elite status. He is universally considered to be one of the best at any weight in the ring today, and many already consider him to be the best.
The Boxing Writers Association of America voted Vasily the “2017 Fighter of the Year.” Vasily’s father, Anatoly Lomachenko, was voted “2017 Trainer of the Year,” and manager Egis Klimas was voted “2017 Manager of the Year,” the second consecutive year he has won the award.
BWAA President Joseph Santoliquito wrote: The Boxing Writers Association of America is proud to announce that its Sugar Ray Robinson 2017 Fighter of the Year is Vasily “Hi-Tech” Lomachenko, who made history in becoming the first Ukrainian to earn that distinction in the 80-year history of the award.
Lomachenko earned the BWAA’s coveted prize by beating solid contenders Jason Sosa and Miguel Marriaga in 2017, then closing the year by making two-time Olympic gold medalist Guillermo Rigondeaux quit after six rounds.
Lomachenko’s selection is the crowning moment for Team Lomachenko, which won a rare BWAA triple crown by winning the BWAA’s fighter, trainer and manager of the year awards for 2017. The last trio to complete the BWAA’s triple crown was in 1992….
The second winner of Team Lomachenko’s BWAA triple crown is Loma’s father, Anatoly Lomachenko, who was voted the BWAA’s 2017 Eddie Futch Trainer of the Year.
For the second-straight year and completing Team Lomachenko trifecta is the BWAA’s 2017 Cus D’Amato Manager of the Year, Egis Klimas…. [End Santoliquito item]
The way Vasily views potential opponents is also very simple. He wants to fight the best opposition and to him, that means all of the other world title-holders. If they’re not available or willing to fight, he wants to fight the highest-ranked contenders.
In his three fights in 2017, Vasily showed a variety of styles. Against the aggressive Jason Sosa on April 8, he used lateral movement – Vasily was practically untouchable defensively, and wore down Sosa with sharp leads and counters from unexpected angles, punches Sosa could not see coming or anticipate. Sosa was beaten down, round by round, and quit in his corner after the ninth round.
On August 5 in Los Angeles, Vasily was the aggressor against Miguel Marriaga – he constantly backed up Marriaga, wore him down with a relentless two-handed attack, and Marriaga quit in his corner after the seventh round.
In his last fight on December 9th in New York, Vasily used a combination of those tactics against previously undefeated Guillermo Rigondeaux. He fought aggressively against the natural counterpuncher, but also mixed in lateral movement and angles with the pressure to completely neutralize the Cuban and dominate the fight. Rigondeaux claimed he injured his left hand, and quit in his corner after the sixth round.
It was Vasily’s 10th consecutive world title fight and seventh consecutive knockout win.
ESPN.com’s Dan Rafael wrote [excerpts]: Junior lightweight world champion Vasily Lomachenko, the new No. 1 fighter in the world, pound-for-pound, according to our ESPN panel vote of boxing experts, cemented his status with a surprisingly easy sixth-round stoppage of Guillermo Rigondeaux at the sold-out Theater at Madison Square Garden in New York.
It was a typically brilliant performance from Lomachenko, already a two-division world titleholder in only 11 pro fights. He made Rigondeaux, who had been ranked on the pound-for-pound list and dominant in his own right, meekly quit on his stool after the sixth round.
Lauded by many as a pound-for-pound talent, Rigondeaux moved up two weight classes for the first-ever showdown between two-time Olympic gold medalists but had no answers for anything – and then claimed a broken left hand. It turned out it was merely bruised, an unacceptable reason for a supposed prize fighter to quit. Lomachenko more likely broke his spirit by playing with him so easily to hand him his first defeat since a 2003 amateur bout.
Rigondeaux was hopeless and bewildered, unable to do anything with the superior Lomachenko, a professional for only four years who now counts several excellent victories on his record, including Rigondeaux, Nicholas Walters, Roman “Rocky” Martinez and Gary Russell Jr.
Lomachenko toyed with them all and has now made his last four opponents (Rigondeaux, Miguel Marriaga, Jason Sosa and Walters) quit, bringing about a change in nickname from “High-Tech” to “No Mas ‘Chenko.”
He is a supremely talented fighter and at 29 just seems to be entering his prime.
He is fun to watch. He has begun to open up and show some personality, and he has displayed ever-improving English in his interviews.
And he will continue to get tremendous exposure by fighting on ESPN as part of Top Rank’s long-term deal with the network. [End Rafael item]
In his ringside report, Rafael wrote [excerpts]: Lomachenko did as he pleased until Rigondeaux quit on his stool after the sixth round of what had been an utterly one-sided fight before a sellout crowd of 5,102 at the Theater at Madison Square Garden.
Lomachenko easily won the much-anticipated fight between two of the world’s elite pound-for-pound fighters. Rigondeaux showed almost nothing as Lomachenko toyed with him from the outset.
The fight began with Lomachenko and Rigondeaux trying to establish their jabs, but it was Lomachenko setting the tone with his activity level, although Rigondeaux landed a few body shots.
When Rigondeaux tried to hold in the second round, Lomachenko forcefully broke away and nailed him, and then landed a solid right hand moments later. It was a big round for Lomachenko, who rattled Rigondeaux and refused to allow him to tie him up. Rigondeaux continued to hold in the third round, drawing a forceful break by referee Steve Willis.
Lomachenko continued to pepper Rigondeaux with shots in the fourth round. In the fifth round, when Rigondeaux held yet again, Willis warned him not to keep doing it.
Willis finally took a point from Rigondeaux for holding in the sixth round, drawing cheers from the crowd and putting Rigondeaux into an even deeper hole. When the round was over, Rigondeaux quit.
Rigondeaux could not hang with Lomachenko. After the sixth round, Lomachenko was ahead 60-53, 59-54 and 59-54 on the scorecards. According to CompuBox punch statistics, Rigondeaux never landed more than three punches in a round. [End Rafael item]
After the fight, Hall of Fame promoter Bob Arum told the ringside media, “The only thing I can say is you guys are seeing something really special. The body of work from this kid is something that is virtually incredible. I’ve never seen anything like this – I never have.
“He gets these guys, he frustrates them, it looks like he’s going to knock them out and they quit because they can’t answer back. This is something really unique. Rigondeaux goes in with Lomachenko, and he is totally bewildered. He can’t hit him with anything.
“What I sense is – I am seeing something so special it will have to be part of history. I’ve been around great fighters, Leonard, Hagler, Floyd, Pacquiao. I’ve never seen a fighter like this, even Ali.”
Vasily wanted to challenge for a world title in his pro debut but when that was not possible, he did challenge for one, unsuccessfully, in his second fight. He won a world title in his third fight in June, 2014 – only eight months after his debut – which tied the record for winning a world title with the fewest fights. Saensak Muangsurin of Thailand also won a junior welterweight world title in his third fight in 1975.
Vasily made history again by becoming the first fighter to win world titles in two weight divisions in only seven fights. The previous record was eight, held by 23-year-old Naoya Inoue of Japan, who won the WBC light flyweight title (108 pounds) in his sixth fight in April, 2014, made a successful defense five months later in September, then won the WBO junior bantamweight title (115 pounds) in his eighth fight three months after that in December, 2014.
Vasily said through an interpreter, “I like to know every single detail about my opponent before we fight. It doesn’t matter if my opponent is strong, it doesn’t matter if my opponent is not strong – I always want to know every detail. I study every opponent very closely.”
Regarding his nickname, Vasily said, “I think I got it during the Olympics. I was training somewhere and one of the reporters was talking about high technology, and he said that I was a ‘high tech’ boxer.”
AMATEUR, PERSONAL BACKGROUND: Vasily said through an interpreter, “I was born and raised in Bilhorod-Dnistrovskyi, Ukraine. I have one sister. She’s a gymnast. My father is a boxing trainer – he was also a schoolteacher – and my mother is a gymnastics trainer, so my whole family is involved in sports. My father was an amateur boxer when he was young.
“I can’t even remember how old I was when I first started boxing, but I was very, very young. When I was born, I think they took me straight from the hospital to the gym.
“I had 396 amateur fights, with one loss.
“I eat with my right hand, I write with my right hand, but I fight left-handed. When I first started, my father trained me and put me in the left-handed stance.
“I’m married. My wife’s name is Elena (pr. yel-LAY-na) and we have two children. My son’s name is Anatoly. He was five years old on November 17, 2016. Our daughter was born on August 26, 2012. Her name is Victoria. I named her that for the victory – she was born on the same day I signed with Top Rank.”…
ESPN.com’s Mark Kriegel wrote [Dec. 6, 2017 – excerpts]: Vasily was just three days old when his father, a physical education teacher and boxing coach, put his hands in a pair of gloves. It’s not that Vasiliy can’t remember the first time he went to a gym. He doesn’t remember not being in a gym.
Anatoly thought deeply about athletic performance, ideas eventually crystalizing into convictions. It was important for Vasily to maintain good grades, as an educated body was governed by an educated mind, intellectually stimulated and capable of decision-making under stress. Anatoly never believed in the kind of early specialization so prevalent today. Even as he boxed, Vasily also played soccer and hockey and wrestled.
At 10, he began traditional Ukrainian folk dance.
Vasiliy danced two hours every day after school. Then he’d go home for a bite and head to the gym. That was his routine, almost four years in pantaloons. But it endowed him with what he has today, the finest footwork in boxing.
Unlike most fighters, Vasily’s was a balanced, harmonious youth. He read a Russian translation of “Tom Sawyer” in grade school. He learned to hunt for pheasant and duck and to fish for carp. [End Kriegel item]
Since boxing was first included in the modern Olympic Games in 1904, only 12 boxers have won two gold medals each: Ariel Hernandez, Angel Herrera, Mario Kindelan, Oliver Kirk, Jerzy Kulej, Boris Lagutin, Vasily Lomachenko, Harry Mallin, Guillermo Rigondeaux, Oleg Saitov, Zou Shiming, and Hector Vinent…three boxers have won three Olympic gold medals each: László Papp, Felix Savon and Teófilo Stevenson…all of the fighters won their gold medals in consecutive Olympics except Kirk, who won both the bantamweight and featherweight titles in 1904 with only one fight in each division…