By Luis Sandoval
Vasyl Lomachenko is regarded as one of the best amateur fighters in recent memory and won a gold medal in both the 2008 Beijing and 2012 London Olympic games. The Ukraine fighter has not lost a fight since 2007 and boasts an amateur record of 396-1; his only defeat came against Albert Selimov which he avenged twice.
Lomachenko will try to make history this Saturday night by becoming a world champion in just his second professional fight as he takes on WBO Featherweight champion Orlando Salido at the Alamadome in San Antonio, TX.
The current record holder for fastest title win is Saensak Muangsurin who won the WBC light welterweight champion in his third professional bout. Heavyweight gold medalist Pete Rademacher was the only fighter to attempt winning a title in his professional debut in 1957 against Floyd Patterson and while he was able to drop Patterson in the second round, he was eventually knocked out after six.
Lomachenko is heavily experienced in the amateur circuit but fighting in the professionals is a vastly different experience as there’s no headgear, smaller gloves and the scoring system is out the window. Vasyl has seen almost every style imaginable but he was asked how he would deal with Salido’s relentless pressure in a 12 round fight.
“I don’t think it’s going to be a big problem for me because I’ve been in the ring with guys who were pressuring a lot too but obviously they were shorter fights. The only thing is I’ve never experienced being pressured for 12 rounds so I can’t comment about it or how it’s going to be. But I think the same thing is going to be for him. I don’t think he’s ever met a guy in the ring like me style wise. If you look at his fights, he looked one way against Mikey Garcia. He looked a different way against [Yuriorkis] Gamboa and he looked a different way with [Juan Manuel] Lopez” Lomachenko would tell BoxingScene.
Despite his talent and success, this is still uncharted waters for Lomachenko but his team feels he’s more than ready for the task at hand. After all, they’re the one who asked for a title shot and Top Rank has delivered what they wanted.
While Lomachenko is not looking past March 1st, he was asked if he’d continue to take on the other top names in his division should he be victorious.
“I don’t want to say any names. I don’t want to call anybody out at this point. Let’s wait and deal with March 1st and see what happens. But right now in the division, all the sanctioning bodies have their top five fighters in their rankings. If victorious, any of the top five guys, I’ll welcome them all” said Lomachenko.
Regardless of the outcome, Lomachenko-Salido is full of intrigue and we’ll see if Vasyl can add not only a world title but also a boxing record to his already impressive resume.
You can follow Luis Sandoval on Twitter & Instagram @Truewest007.