Lomachenko Chasing His Dream
By Igor Frank
Photo: Top Rank
I first met Vasyl Lomachenko ten years ago at a small
gym in Marina Del Rey, California as he was getting
ready to embark on his professional career in United
States. Perhaps the most decorated amateur boxer of all
times, Vasyl came to Los Angeles to chase after his
piece of American dream. He was humble, but
self-assured. He knew he was destined for greatness.
Everyone knew he was special.
Loma wanted to take the road less traveled. He didn’t
want to build his confidence or his record. He wanted to
fight for a title in his pro debut, something that’s
never been done. Promoter Bob Arum promised to deliver a
title Fight on the second outing.
Loma quickly learned the difference between amateur and
professional ranks. Despite losing his first attempt at
a title to a rugged Mexican brawler, Orlando Salido, who
came to fight over the weight limit and who couldn’t
stop hitting his opponent below the belt, Vasyl showed
his maturation process in the ring that night. After a
rough start where he was bullied and fouled repeatedly,
amateur sensation from Ukraine found his way and
dominated later parts of the fight coming very close to
stopping Mexican veteran.
Since then, his assent in the pro ranks was meteoric. I
was ringside as Tim Bradley, passionately calls it at
War grounds in Carson, California as Loma dismantled
very talented and then undefeated Gary Russell Jr. for
his first title in featherweight division. It was simply
a master class.
Then came what I call Loma “Golden Age” as opponents
quit in the middle of the fight befuddled by Vasyl’s
mastery in the ring. Titles in three weight divisions
Loma set his sights on unifying belts in lightweight
division. That task proved to be very challenging.
On the first try Vasyl was overwhelmed by young and
powerful Teofimo Lopez. It was later revealed that
Lomachenko had a shoulder problem. On the second try
Loma was supposed to go to Australia to challenge George
Kambosos. But life showed up or to be more exact War in
Ukraine changed everything.
"You can’t think about the future when war comes to your
house”, said Lomachenko last week at Dolby Theatre in
Hollywood, California during a press conference to
announce his third attempt against young unified
lightweight champion, Devin Haney. “You can’t think about
your job”, continued Lomachenko;” You just think about
life and your family and how you can survive next day.”
“Boxing is just a game,” chimed in Hall of Fame
promoter, Bob Arum:” You win you lose, it’s a sport.
What Vasily did putting a uniform on getting a gun to
defend his country, that’s the whole different level.”
Nevertheless, on May 20th in Las Vegas Vasyl Lomachenko
will get a third chance to fulfill his dream of becoming
an undisputed lightweight champion against very talented
Champion Davin Haney. The fight will take place at the
MGM Grand Garden Arena and will be televised live by
ESPN Pay Per view.
The last time I saw Vasyl Lomachenko was in the elevator
leaving that press conference. His bodyguard was trying
to block my entry, but Vasyl and his manager Egis told
him I was ok. After a warm greeting I found out that
Vasyl will be training for this fight at his own house.
What a difference ten years make.
Will the third time be a charm? Find out May 20th.