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  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.


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