By Keith Idec
Vasyl Lomachenko’s fights aren’t broadcast by HBO anymore, but those that work for the network haven’t lost sight of what he has accomplished this year.
Jim Lampley announced during the year-end episode of “The Fight Game” that Lomachenko won the show’s “Fighter of the Year” award for 2017. Lampley also revealed Lomachenko as the No. 1 fighter on “The Fight Game” pound-for-pound list in an episode that debuted Wednesday night.
Ukraine’s Lomachenko (10-1, 8 KOs) made each of his three opponents quit this year.
“The most technically pure boxer in the sport had an immaculate year,” Lampley said. “First, in April, Vasyl Lomachenko made a confused Jason Sosa’s corner call it quits after nine rounds. He was the second opponent in a row who opted out of further embarrassment.
“In August, Miguel Marriaga chose the same path. In December, Lomachenko decisively put to rest the belief of some that Guillermo Rigondeaux was an equally profound talent. So, for the first time, and most likely not the last, Vasyl Lomachenko is the TFG Fighter of the Year.”
Most recently, Lomachenko stopped the previously unbeaten Rigondeaux following six one-sided rounds December 9 in The Theater at Madison Square Garden. The 37-year-old Rigondeaux (17-1, 11 KOs, 1 NC), a Cuban southpaw and fellow two-time Olympic gold medalist, moved up two weight classes to challenge Lomachenko.
The 29-year-old Lomachenko, the WBO super featherweight champion, started the year by dominating Sosa (20-3-4, 15 KOs), a former WBA 130-pound champ from Camden, New Jersey, until his trainer, Raul Rivas, stopped their fight following the ninth round April 8 in Oxon Hill, Maryland. In his second appearance of the year, Lomachenko out-classed Colombia’s Miguel Marriaga (25-3, 21 KOs) until Marriaga declined to continue after the seventh round August 5 in Los Angeles.
HBO televised Lomachenko’s victory over Sosa. ESPN aired his wins against Marriaga and Rigondeaux as part of the network’s new partnership with Top Rank Inc., Lomachenko’s promoter.
The other award winners Lampley announced Wednesday night are listed below.
Fight of the Year: Anthony Joshua over Wladimir Klitschko
Knockout of the Year: David Lemieux over Curtis Stevens
Person of the Year: Joshua
Trainer of the Year: Eddy Reynoso (Canelo Alvarez)
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.