IT’S A GUESSING GAME
FEINTS are an integral part of Vasyl Lomachenko’s boxing and a way of outwitting his opponent. As with most boxers, Lomachenko utilises feints for various purposes, such as to gain feedback and craft openings. If Lomachenko fakes a left hand to the body twice and each time the opponent drops his right hand to block the perceived threat, rest assured the tendency will be noted and exploited. But the overarching reason for Lomachenko’s feints is to hide his intentions. Whether by stepping in and out or changing levels and shifting his torso side-to-side, Lomachenko shrewdly disguises his attacks, while at the same time threatening the opponent and putting him under constant physical and mental pressure. For instance, not only does Lomachenko’s upper-body movement create an elusive target, it also keeps the opponent on edge and makes him uncertain of when and from where “Hi-Tech” will throw his next punch – from a southpaw stance, a slip to the right could also be the start of a left cross or a right hook being loaded up. Confused and unable to tell a real attack from a fake one, opponents jab hesitantly, which makes them more vulnerable to slipping and countering.
Lomachenko confuses the opposition further by continually changing his guard as he probes for openings. Essentially a pre-emptive measure against either a right or left-handed punch to the head, Lomachenko shields with his right forearm when he leans to his left, and with his left forearm when he leans to his right. But to keep rivals guessing, Lomachenko will vary his actions following the same ‘look’. Sometimes he leans to the side and does nothing; other times he leans to the side and attacks directly from that position. As a result, the opponent has great difficulty anticipating what comes next. Another, more subtle aspect of Vasyl’s unconventional safeguarding is that it draws punches to the unshielded side of his head. Knowing this, Lomachenko can determine the opponent’s most likely attack and then counter accordingly.