Carson, Calif - In a collision of two highly-skilled, exciting southpaw featherweights in the co-feature on SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING, international amateur standout Vasyl Lomachenko (2-1, 1 KO), of Ukraine, won a hard-fought 12-round majority decision over previously undefeated yet untested Gary Russell Jr. (24-1, 14 KOs), of Capitol Heights, Md., to capture the vacant WBO world 126-pound crown.There were no knockdowns in the epic showdown between Lomachenko and Russell for the vacant WBO title that Lomachenko won by the scores of 116-112 twice and 114-114. Lomachenko, 396-1 as an amateur, was a two-time Olympic Games gold medalist (2008, 2012) who fought and lost for a world title in his pro debut.
“I am very happy and excited to be a world champion,’’ the physically strong and talented Lomachenko said. “I want to thank all the fans that came here to support me from Ukraine. To join the Klitschkos as a champion from Ukraine, I would like to thank them.
“The plan built by our team was great, I was trying to land the punches and I did. I landed punches very well. I started from the body and went to the head.’’
Said Russell following his first pro defeat. “It was a fair decision. It’s disappointing to lose, but we’re warriors and we will go back to the drawing board.
“He had real good lateral movement, we tried to close the distance with the jab but he was moving well. I tip my hat to him.
“My past opponents have no bearing on this fight. I need to execute better going forward. I don’t think he’s better than me, we knew he was going to use the lateral movement. Honestly we didn’t execute the game plan. We wanted to close the distance between the double and triple jabs but I couldn’t get to him as easily as I wanted to.
“I would definitely fight him again, anytime, anyplace.’’