We’re running out of words to describe Vasyl Lomachenko
WHENEVER Vasyl Lomachenko fights, there has always been an outpouring of praise and admiration from boxing ‘purists’ over just how ridiculously talented he is. Some call him a wizard, others claim they have never seen anything like it and all of them agree that he is an undeniable joy to watch.
Now, that conversation is being held in wider circles. More people are bearing witness to his excellence and more general sports fans are suddenly asking themselves ‘who is that?!’ In America, his recent drubbing of Miguel Marriaga aired on ESPN, exposing him to a huge audience. Also, in this social media age, highlights of Lomachenko’s skills can easily be put into a short clip, several of which go viral after his fights.
His problem will be finding opponents who can match him in the ring, our problem is finding the words to do him justice. Few fighters are as genuinely breath-taking as Lomachenko, and we’ve already used most of the superlatives at our disposal when describing his fights – and he’s only had 10 (as a professional, don’t get us started on his amateur record).
Now is the time for Top Rank to dig deep into their pockets and set him loose on other pound-for-pound stars in and around his weight class. ‘Loma’ might just be the most gifted fighter in the world, now he just needs the opposition to prove it.
Women’s boxing is going from strength to strength
A RECENT spate of standout female fighters turning professional has shone a much-needed spotlight onto women’s boxing. In the UK, Katie Taylor, Nicola Adams and Natasha Jonas are all on the rise while over in America, two-time Olympic champion Claressa Shields just became the WBC and IBF world super-middleweight champion in her fourth fight.
She dominated and stopped previously unbeaten Nikki Adler in Detroit, Michigan. It was a terrific performance and Shields has the charisma – and talent – to lead the charge for women’s boxing in America. Cecilia Braekhus is the undisputed pound-for-pound queen in women’s boxing, but she has reigned for years with no real challengers. Now, although they are different weights (Braekhus is a welterweight), Shields and the like could soon be joining her at the very top. They would all bring added media attention and television broadcasters with them, meaning further boosts for women’s boxing.
End of more than one era
JUST days after former two-time world heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko announced his retirement, former multi-weight champions and former foes Juan Manuel Marquez and Timothy Bradley both confirmed they are hanging up the gloves, too.
Marquez, a former featherweight, super-featherweight and lightweight world champion, has not fought since outpointing Mike Alvarado in 2014 but had been angling for a return, perhaps against Miguel Cotto. Thankfully, the 43-year-old has decided to call time on his Hall of Fame career.
He has been involved in some phenomenal fights and his rivalry with Manny Pacquiao – in particular his emphatic one-punch finish of the Filipino in 2012, will go down in history.
Bradley, who defeated Marquez in 2013, has also retired, having last fought in April 2016, when he was soundly beaten by Pacquiao. At 34, Bradley’s retirement was not as necessary as Marquez’s but his inactivity did not bode well for the future. In a heartfelt statement, he wrote about his desire to spend more time with his family and focus on them – and no one can begrudge him that.
It means boxing loses several bright lights in quick succession, but with the likes of Lomachenko regularly dazzling us, the future looks to be in safe hands.
You won’t like Paulie Malignaggi when he’s angry
In the latest chapter of Conor McGregor: How to Lose a Sparring Partner in 10 Days, we’ve seen how the Irishman alienated and annoyed former world champion Paulie Malignaggi to such an extent that he quit the training camp. Malignaggi, who retired earlier this year, had been brought in for sparring as McGregor prepares to fight Floyd Mayweather.
However, after a picture of McGregor standing over a decked Malignaggi emerged, Paulie released a statement confirming his departure from the camp. He claims that he was floored from a push, while McGregor’s camp released the picture with no comment, instead allowing online speculation to swell.
In a series of tweets, Malignaggi urged McGregor’s camp to release unedited footage of the sparring and also claimed to have beaten Conor up in their second sparring session. He even stated that the UFC lightweight champion does not handle body shots well.
Whatever the case, McGregor has lost one of the sharpest boxing minds in the business right now. Malignaggi has already carved out a successful broadcasting career, largely due to his uncanny ability to break fights, and fighters, down and explain what is happening. Whether McGregor would use him for further sparring or not, if he had not burnt that bridge with Malignaggi then Paulie could still be there, providing quality insight and advice.