September 9, 2015
September 9, 2015
Vasyl Lomachenko

Action Images/Reuters/Steve Marcus

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FLOYD MAYWEATHER is insistent that Saturday’s fight with Andre Berto wil be his last. Manny Pacquiao – with the help of God and sea water – is expected to recover and be back next year, though even Pacman won’t be able to carry on at top level for too much after 2016. It will leave the world waiting for a new star to dominate boxing.

Deontay Wilder has charisma, punch power but has a long way to go in terms of technical skill if he’s going to rule the heavyweight division. Gennady Golovkin is an awe-inspiring middleweight but needs high profile opposition and at 33 years old isn’t blessed with time to waste.

Perhaps then marvelous Ukrainian Vasyl Lomachenko could be the man to inherit the mantle of Mayweather and Pacquiao. His professional record may be humble, a mere four wins against one controversial defeat but his achievements are not. Lomachenko is already the holder of the WBO featherweight title, as an amateur he was a two-weight Olympic and World champion and, with the potential to move up in weight too, he is one of the most exciting fighters in the sport.

“I am surprised because I’m not there yet,” he said of his burgeoning reputation. “I’m going to try to do my best, I’m going to try to show best boxing and then it’s not up to me how I’m going to go and where I’m going to go.

“It’s pretty hard people comparing me with Manny Pacquiao or Floyd because they are very well known in boxing and they’re putting a little bit of pressure on my shoulders, it’s embarrassing because I haven’t done much. So to me it’s a little bit of pressure.”

The boxing ring though is another world, such thoughts, any pressure evaporates once the bell ring. “I’ve been in the ring a hundred times. Nothing changed. You don’t see people from the ring who are watching you and you don’t see how many people are watching you. You’re still in the same ring,” he reflects.

His last outing was on the Mayweather-Pacquiao undercard, where he took his time to work through his repertoire and ultimately prise apart Gamalier Rodriguez’s resistance in nine rounds. “It’s an opportunity for me to show to the fans, to show to the boxing world what I can do in the ring, how I can fight. That’s another opportunity for me to show to the fans besides Mayweather and Pacquiao another good upcoming talent, Vasyl Lomachenko,” he said.

He is known as a supreme talent but Lomachenko laid out his methods for success. “It depends how you’re looking at that skill, for example I’m not laying in bed, I’m not watching TV and walking about just thinking. ‘Okay I’m a skilled, I can do anything I want in the ring.’ I work hard. I train hard and I always I’m always trying to do more than my opponent is doing. So maybe sometimes I even overtrain. I don’t know any other person who has talent doing nothing and just goes and gets what he wants. The skills and the talent come first from hard work.

“First of all boxing for me is not just a sport. Boxing is everything. My life, my work, it’s not just a sport.”

What he needs now are the best fights available. Orlando Salido, who beat him, and Gary Russell Jnr, against whom he won the title, were good matches but since then Chonlatarn Piriyapinyo and Rodriguez were underwhelming opponents. Lomachenko has made it clear he wants to take on the other world titlists in his division. That’s exactly what he needs.