At the age of 28, Vasyl is a three-year pro. A two-division world champion, he won the WBO junior lightweight world title in June, 2016. He is also a former WBO featherweight world champion – he won that title in June, 2014, and made three successful defenses. He held both titles for a short time last summer, but according to WBO rules, could keep only one. He decided to remain champion at 130 pounds and relinquish the featherweight title.
Vasyl is a very special talent.
Before his debut, he was an elite international amateur, a dominant force at 125 to 132 pounds. He won gold medals at the 2008 and 2012 Olympics – as well as the Val Barker “Outstanding Boxer” award in 2008 – and the 2009 and 2011 World Championships. He is considered by many observers to be one of the greatest amateur boxers of all time, if not the greatest.
His exceptional amateur experience – a reported record of 396-1 over a 20-plus year amateur career, much of it against top opposition – put him at a very advanced level even before his pro debut.
Now, at a point in his career where others are still working their way up through four- and six-round fights, Vasyl has already reached elite-level as a professional. He has won world titles in two weight divisions with impressive wins against quality opposition, made history for the short amount of time in which he won them, and is considered one of the best fighters in the ring today, pound-for-pound.
Fortunately for boxing fans, his talent is matched by his ambition. He wants to fight only the best opposition, and his top priority is to achieve greatness and make history.
Before winning the junior lightweight title Vasyl said, “The reason I like Olympic boxing is that all the best fighters come together and find out who the best fighter is. I want to do the same in professional boxing. I want to line up all the best fighters at 130 and see who the best fighter is.”
In his last fight on November 26 in Las Vegas, he won by seventh-round TKO against previously undefeated former WBA featherweight champion Nicholas Walters.
ESPN.com’s Dan Rafael reported [excerpts]: Lomachenko put on a masterpiece against Nicholas Walters, toying with him for seven one-sided rounds before making him abruptly quit….
The fight was the main event of the 2,000th card promoted by Top Rank’s Bob Arum, the Hall of Famer who is celebrating his 50th anniversary as a promoter this year. Arum has been Lomachenko’s biggest fan since signing him out of the 2012 Olympics….
Leading up to the fight with Walters, Arum said Lomachenko “is technically the best fighter that I have seen since the early Muhammad Ali.” Arum promoted 27 of Ali’s fights, as well as those of many other all-time greats, such as Floyd Mayweather, Manny Pacquiao, Oscar De La Hoya, George Foreman, Sugar Ray Leonard, Thomas Hearns, Roberto Duran, Marvin Hagler and Alexis Arguello.
After Lomachenko’s easy disposal of Walters, Arum stuck by his assessment and said he was not surprised how easily Lomachenko won. “I wasn’t surprised all,” Arum said. “I have been his biggest cheerleader from the beginning. He’s great. Anybody who loves boxing has to love this kid and the way he performs. If people watch him perform, they will start to love boxing again. He’s better than these regular fighters. He has such special talent that we’ve never seen anything like it.”
Lomachenko-Walters was expected to be a competitive showdown between a gifted technician (Lomachenko) and a power puncher (Walters). Instead, Lomachenko played with Walters like a cat would a mouse. He negated Walters’ strong right hand, befuddled him and frustrated him. All the while, Lomachenko peppered Walters with a two-handed attack.
Lomachenko stuffed jabs in Walters’ face and tagged him with straight left hands. Walters never got off any big shots; he was unable to cope with Lomachenko’s speed and lateral movement. He simply had no answers for Lomachenko.
Lomachenko grew more comfortable with Walters as the rounds went by and really began to open up on offense in the seventh round. Lomachenko pounded Walters with a pair of clean right hands midway through the round and then rocked his head back with a straight left hand. Lomachenko continued to pick up the pace and was lashing Walters as the round wound down.
When referee Tony Weeks went to his corner to check on him after the seventh round, Walters’ trainer and father, Job Walters, told him, “No mas.” When Weeks asked Walters directly if he wanted to continue, he said, “No.” Weeks waved off the fight, bringing the much-anticipated bout to an abrupt and wholly unexpected conclusion.
“My goal is to be No. 1 pound for pound,” Lomachenko said.
After his brilliant display against Walters, he appears to be on his way. [End Rafael item]
Manager Egis Klimas said, “Vasyl goes back home to Ukraine after every fight, but he never stops training. He and his father have their own gym in Bilhorod-Dnistrovskyi. He trains every day, he runs every day no matter where he is. In the wintertime he plays hockey, in the summertime he plays basketball or soccer. He comes to California to train for his fights at the Robert Garcia Boxing Academy in Oxnard, and focuses on sparring, drills, and boxing.”
Vasyl 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.
Vasyl made history again in his last fight 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 later in December, 2014.
In earlier interviews, Vasyl 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, Vasyl 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.”
Vasyl’s website address is lomachenko.com.