by David P. Greisman
Vasyl Lomachenko was fast out of the gate once his pro career started in earnest, his six World Series of Boxing bouts not withstanding. He started off with a fourth-round knockout of 25-3 Jose Ramirez, then proceeded directly to a title fight against Orlando Salido.
Salido came in overweight, got away with plenty of low blows and still was only able to beat Lomachenko by split decision. Lomachenko went on to win a world title this past June, when the two-time Olympic gold medalist topped Gary Russell Jr. by majority decision.
Lomachenko’s next fight hasn’t been set. His manager, Egis Klimas, says promoter Top Rank will be speaking with HBO about Lomachenko this coming weekend.
Klimas says there’s no mandatory defense of Lomachenko’s World Boxing Organization title due, but that doesn’t mean they want the next voluntary defense to come against someone ranked too low.
“My opinion and his opinion would be to take a No. 1,” Klimas said. “Let him fight the No. 1. He wants to fight the toughest. He doesn’t want to go the easy route. So if it’s a free defense, we don’t want to pick from the other end and pick No. 15. Why don’t we pick a No. 1? If No. 1 is not available, go to No. 2, No. 3, No. 4. Give these guys a chance.”
The WBO rankings have Chonlatarn Piriyapinyo of Thailand (51-1 with 33 KOs, the loss coming to then-titleholder Chris John in 2012) at No. 1. He’s followed by Abner Mares at No. 2, Gamaleir Rodriguez (24-2-3 with 13 KOs and coming off a decision over Orlando Cruz) at No. 3, then Marvin Sonsona at No. 4.
Pick up a copy of David’s book, “Fighting Words: The Heart and Heartbreak of Boxing,” at http://bit.ly/fightingwordsamazon or internationally at http://bit.ly/fightingwordsworldwide . Send questions/comments via email at [email protected]