At the age of 30, Vasiliy is a four-year pro. A three-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 made four successful title defenses before moving up in weight again.
Before his debut, he was a dominant force at the elite level of international amateur competition: a two-time gold medalist at the Olympic Games and World Championships, and a gold medalist at several other prestigious international competitions.
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 12 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. Vasiliy 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 last fight on May 12 in New York, Vasiliy won a world title in a third division – the WBA lightweight title – with a spectacular one-punch 10th-round knockout against defending champion Jorge Linares. It was Vasiliy’s eighth consecutive knockout win.
ESPN.com’s Dan Rafael reported [excerpts]: Pound-for-pound king and junior lightweight world champion Vasiliy Lomachenko entered the Madison Square Garden ring aiming to carve out yet another piece of boxing history. Now history is his once again.
Lomachenko survived a sixth-round knockdown and a very tough fight to score a 10th-round technical knockout of Jorge Linares on a body shot to take the lightweight world championship before 10,429 in the main event of the Top Rank Boxing on ESPN card.
With the victory, Lomachenko shattered the all-time boxing record for fewest fights needed to win a world title in three weight divisions, accomplishing that in just his 12th fight. Lomachenko broke the record held by Australian legend Jeff Fenech, a Hall of Famer who won world titles at bantamweight and junior featherweight before winning a belt at featherweight in his 20th fight in 1988.
This was just another slice of history for Lomachenko, whose entire focus when he turned pro after winning Olympic gold medals for Ukraine in 2008 and 2012 was to make as much history as quickly as he could. He is widely considered the best amateur of all time – 396-1 – and he is convincingly making his case as the best of his time in the pro ranks.
In his third pro fight, Lomachenko toyed with Gary Russell Jr. to win a decision and featherweight world title, which allowed him to tie the record for fewest fights needed to claim a world title.
In his seventh fight, Lomachenko moved up to junior lightweight and scored a massive, fifth-round knockout of Roman “Rocky” Martinez to take his belt and set the record for fewest fights needed to win a world title in two weight classes.
Now Lomachenko, who made all four of his 130-pound title challengers – Nicholas Walters, Jason Sosa, Miguel Marriaga and Guillermo Rigondeaux – quit, moved up to 135 pounds and seized the title from Linares, considered the No. 1 lightweight in the world going into the fight.
Linares, who has also won world titles at featherweight and junior lightweight, towered over the smaller Lomachenko…. Lomachenko’s advantage in hand speed was evident in the third round as he peppered Linares with quick punches on the inside and then spun away before he could fire back.
By the fourth round, Linares’ right eye began to swell. He has had issues with cuts and swelling in the past, and there is a lot of scar tissue over his eye.
Lomachenko appeared to be winning yet another round in the sixth when Linares landed a clean straight right hand down the middle that knocked him to his rear end, but the round was coming to an end and he could not get off another punch. It was the first time Lomachenko had ever been knocked down. He recovered quickly and got back into a groove of firing punches and stepping to the side to get out of the way of Linares’ return shots.
They continued to battle back and forth even as Linares’ face continued to look worse and worse. Lomachenko rocked him with an uppercut midway through the 10th round, but he continued to come at Lomachenko, who made him pay dearly.
Later in the 10th round, Lomachenko unleashed a series of punches that sent Linares backward toward the ropes before a left hand to the body dropped him to a knee. He beat the count, but [the referee] didn’t like how he looked and stopped the fight at 2 minutes, 8 seconds, setting off a wild celebration in the arena from the pro-Lomachenko crowd.
At the time of the stoppage, Lomachenko was up 86-84 on judge Steve Weisfeld’s scorecard, Linares was up by the same score on Robin Taylor’s card, and Julie Lederman had it 85-85. [End Rafael item]
From a Top Rank press release [May 30, 2018 – excerpts]: Vasiliy Lomachenko underwent arthroscopic surgery this morning at Cedars-Sinai Kerlan-Jobe Institute in Los Angeles to repair a torn labrum in his right shoulder suffered during the second round of his May 12 bout against Jorge Linares.
The surgery, performed by world-renowned orthopedic surgeon Dr. Neal S. ElAttrache, will preclude Lomachenko from fighting Aug. 25 as originally scheduled.
Said Dr. ElAttrache: “Vasiliy had the anticipated injuries in his right shoulder, resulting from a dislocation event that he sustained during his fight on May 12.
“In particular, he had an extensive labral tear, approximately 270 degrees with a small amount of cartilage damage and a bone impaction injury, all resulting in instability of the shoulder. He underwent an arthroscopic repair of the labrum as anticipated with no complications.
“Based on the result of the surgical repair, we are optimistic for an excellent prognosis and for him to return to competition at his previous level of performance.” [End press release item]
The Boxing Writers Association of America voted Vasiliy the “2017 Fighter of the Year.” His 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 Klimas 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 Vasiliy “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]
Vasiliy 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 his first 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.
Vasiliy 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.
In an earlier interview, Vasiliy 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, he 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.”