Opinion | Jun 11 2018

The genius of Vasyl Lomachenko

Tony Jeffries ponders the greatness of Vasyl Lomachenko
Vasyl Lomachenko
Lomachenko  |  Action Images

WHEN you compete at a high level as an amateur you sit through thousands of fights, especially when you’re in a higher weight category, so any time you don’t have to watch fights you  don’t. I regret missing one fight and that was Vasyl Lomachenko in the Olympic final in Beijing, after I got knocked out of the tournament back in 2008 GB only had one fighter left in, James DeGale, so that’s the only fight I wanted to see and actually did see. Back then I never thought we were in the presence, for me, of the greatest fighter of my generation, perhaps even, dare I say, of all time.

Now, the three-weight world champion Vasyl Lomachenko has just undergone surgery to fix a torn labrum in his right shoulder. Lomachenko (11-1, 9 KOs) had arthroscopic surgery at the Cedars-Sinai Kerlan-Jobe Institute in Los Angeles by orthopedic surgeon Neal ElAttrache. ElAttrache says Lomachenko had an “extensive” tear in his labrum along with cartilage damage, but the surgeon believes Lomachenko will make a full recovery.

Lomachenko, for me, is the best pound-for-pound fighter today. As I have said in the past, he is one of, if not the greatest of all time. There is a documentary out on YouTube, where he starts underwater to hold his breath. This really showed me something I’ve never seen before as a fighter – the mindset of a machine. Even after only 13 fights, the importance of brain training and the self-belief in himself that he went around asking for a title fight straight away.