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.
He approached a lot of different promoters: Dino Duva, Golden Boy and Bob Arum. When he was with Bob Arum, he was offered $1 million to turn pro and he said no, he wanted a title fight for his first fight. That did not come to pass and he ended up getting his first title fight in his second pro bout, which he lost. This documentary is amazing; he did end up winning his first world title in his third fight and second world title scrap. He won in a different weight class in his seventh fight and now has just won his third world title in 13 professional fights.
In that fight for his third world title, he fought with that shoulder injury and we never heard about it. He never complained or made excuses for what happened during the fight. That just shows me what kind of mindset he has and the genius behind his team and what they are doing with his career. What will he do next? Go for another world title at another weight class? We will soon see, but he is definitely up to something and I cannot wait to see what it is.