At the age of 29, Vasily 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.
Vasily’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 way he 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 quit in his corner after the sixth round.
It was Vasily’s 10th consecutive world title fight and seventh consecutive knockout win.
The excuse Rigondeaux used for quitting – a badly injured left hand – was suspect at the time. It has now been proven false.
Three days after the fight, ESPN.com’s Dan Rafael reported [excerpts]: “It turns out that Guillermo Rigondeaux’s left hand is not broken. Complaining of pain on the top of his left hand, Rigondeaux simply quit after the sixth round of what had been an utterly one-sided domination by the brilliant Vasily Lomachenko. Rigondeaux shocked many by getting outclassed and quitting.
Now it looks even worse for him since the hand is not broken and he had no major injury.”
In his ringside report on ESPN.com, Dan Rafael wrote [excerpts]: History belongs to Vasily Lomachenko, who painted a masterpiece against Guillermo Rigondeaux in the first-ever professional fight between two-time Olympic gold-medal winners.
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 has made his past four opponents in a row quit: Rigondeaux, Miguel Marriaga, Jason Sosa and Nicholas Walters. In fact, Lomachenko said before the fight that he might make Rigondeaux quit and said he should be nicknamed “No Mas ‘Chenko.”
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.
Perhaps frustrated by the constant holding, Lomachenko threw a punch at Rigondeaux after the bell. 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.
The fight was heavily anticipated and sold out two months ago, mainly because Lomachenko and Rigondeaux not only rank among the elite fighters in the world pound for pound but are also widely considered two of the best – if not the best – amateur boxers in history.
None of that meant anything when the fight began because Rigondeaux could not hang with Lomachenko. Rigondeaux didn’t appear to have much. 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]
Boxingscene.com’s Michael Rosenthal added: Rigondeaux made his disastrous night even worse by serving up an excuse after it was all over: He claimed he couldn’t continue because he had injured his left hand in the second round.
One could react to Rigondeaux’s post-fight announcement in a number of ways. Pick any of the following: countless others have fought with injured hands, Rigo couldn’t have beaten Lomachenko with three good hands, and Lomachenko deserved unqualified respect from Rigondeaux, not an excuse.
The truth is Rigondeaux was outclassed. He lost because Lomachenko is better than he is – much better. No shame in that. Lomachenko is better than everyone. [End Rosenthal 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.”