Top Rank Has Big Plans For Vasyl Lomachenko

By Rick Reeno

This past Saturday night at the StubHub Center in Carson, two-time Olympic gold medal winner Vasyl Lomachenko (2-1, 1KOs) officially became a major player in the featherweight division, and certainly a name on the rise, with a statement making twelve round majority decision over previously undefeated Gary Russell Jr. (24-1, 14KOs) to capture the vacant WBO featherweight title.

Top Rank's VP of Boxing Operations, Carl Moretti, and one of Top Rank's head matchmakers, Brad Goodman, expect Lomachenko to be dominant force in the featherweight division.

There is no shortage of future opponents in Top Rank's vast stable of featherweights, which includes three other champions - WBA 'super' champion Nonito Donaire, WBA 'regular' champion Nicholas Walters and IBF champion Evgeny Gradovich.

Lomachenko will fight at least one more time before the year is out, but after Saturday's performance Moretti admits it won't be easy to match him against any of the top fighters in his division. And it won't be because Lomachenko is not willing. Quite the opposite. Lomachenko wants the biggest and toughest fights possible.

"There is no question, whoever he fights next - whether it's another champion to unify or a top ten contender - he wants to fight as good as we can get out there. The problem is going to be - who are we going to get to fight him? So this is going to take a little bit of work," Moretti explained to

After Lomachenko suffered a setback in his first pro fight, a controversial split decision loss to Orlando Salido in March, Top Rank advised the boxer to take things a little slower.

But Lomachenko is not your average boxer with a record of two professional fights. With two Olympic gold medals and an incredible amateur record of 396-1, Lomachenko and his team saw no reason to slow down. So when the WBO ordered Lomachenko and Russell to fight for the vacant WBO title, the talented Ukrainian demanded the opportunity. And despite Russell's professional edge with 24 wins without a loss, it was Lomachenko who displayed the seasoned skills of a veteran. 

"We suggested and said 'you don't have to take this fight. You can do a couple of more fights and fight for a title eventually.' But he insisted on it, so we said 'okay, we'll fight Gary Russell,'" Moretti said.

"If you told anybody in the place that he only had two fights, they would think you're crazy. But we live in a different age now, where amateur careers really translate into the pros. It doesn't make that big of a difference anymore."

And Russell was, and still is, a highly regarded contender at the weight - which makes Lomachenko's victory even more impressive. Moretti believes Russell "can hang with anyone at 126." And Goodman, one of the most respected matchmakers in the sport, echoed the same belief.

"Gary Russell is a good fighter. He just fought a guy who was more seasoned and had a lot more experience. Gary Russell has a ton of potential. He has nothing to be ashamed of. As long as he learned from his mistakes, he will become a much better fighter," Goodman told

With Lomachenko now included in the mix, Top Rank is going to have a very busy period at 126.  

"Lomachenko, Donaire, Walters, Gradovich, Rodriguez, Avalos. We are going to try to make fights and go from there," Moretti said. "I hate the word tournament, but there's going to be alot of fights at 126."

User Comments and Feedback (Register For Free To Comment) Comment by lazaron72 on 06-24-2014

[QUOTE=shadow-boxer;14692025][QUOTE=lazaron72;14691928]Ja ja ja . Ducknaire weighed 142 and rigo weight 126 the night of the fight . Arum asked lomas team to fight rigo and they said he was not ready . Rigo wanted the fight at 124 , he…

Comment by Foreign Soil on 06-24-2014

"I hate the word tournament" - Moretti Wtf?

Comment by shadow-boxer on 06-24-2014

[B][QUOTE=dinero fan;14691965]Would love to see loma or Walters vs phonito.[/QUOTE][/B] Another butt hurt Rigo fan. Stop clinging to his balls and let him go up north. It's just a 4 lbs diff

Comment by shadow-boxer on 06-24-2014

[QUOTE=lazaron72;14691928]Ja ja ja . Ducknaire weighed 142 and rigo weight 126 the night of the fight . Arum asked lomas team to fight rigo and they said he was not ready . Rigo wanted the fight at 124 , he…

Comment by dinero fan on 06-24-2014

Would love to see loma or Walters vs phonito.

Post a Comment - View More User Comments (46)
Top Headlines Don King: Imam Didn't Throw Enough, Ramirez Was Relentless Michael Conlan Demolishes David Berna in Two Rounds Jose Ramirez Lands Gold, Decisions Amir Imam For WBC Title Jose Ramirez vs. Amir Imam - LIVE BoxingScene Scorecard Gvozdyk Wins Tough Decision Over Amar, in Line For WBC Shot Ramirez: I'm Ready To Fight Best, No Matter What Critics Think Yeison Cohen Passes Away After KO Loss Earlier This Month Antonio Lozada Drops, Stops Felix Verdejo in Tenth Round Joe Joyce Destroys Donnie Palmer With Big Knockout in One Christopher Diaz Wins by TKO, Rodriguez Suffers Hand Injury Jose Pedraza Sheds Rust, Pounds Out Decision Over Rodriguez Whittom Dies After Being in 10 Month Coma Following KO Loss McKinley: Ramirez Doesn't Have Power, Imam By Far Best Opponent Danny O'Connor, Steve Claggett To Collide at House of Blues Roach: Imam Isn't Anything Special; Ramirez Should Stop Him Virgil Hunter Hospitalized Due To Health Scare, Recovering Jose Ramirez: I Learned So Much Working With Pacquiao, Cotto Sam Maxwell Moves To 6-0, Returns In Belfast Next Month Jose Ramirez vs. Amir Imam: Stats & Stakes Prograis Leaning Toward Ramirez Over Imam in '50-50 Fight' Don King: Imam Will Knock Out Ramirez; Give Us Pacquiao Next Luis Ortiz Coach Talks Loss, Confident Wilder is KO'd in Rematch Daily Bread Mailbag: Canelo, Mikey Garcia, PEDs in Boxing, More Frank Warren Talks Sadam Ali vs. Liam Smith Showdown Kal Yafai Wants The Chocolatito Showodwn, Then Sor Rungvisai Linares: Lomachenko is Fast - But He Does Not Have My Punch! Jeff Horn Warns Crawford: I'll Expose That Lack of Toughness! Roberto Arriaza Crushes Sammy Valentin With Knockout in One Kemahl Russell Drills Michi Munoz in The Second Round The Real Reason Why Floyd Mayweather Is Training MMA Antonio Orozco Wins Return, Estrada and Durate Shine in LA Chavez Sr. Gives Canelo The Edge, Picks Him To Beat Golovkin Undefeated Prospect Gets 11 Years For Being Illegal Drugs Kingpin Miguel Berchelt vs. Miguel Roman May Head To a Purse Bid Top Contender is Accused of Hiring Hitman in Murder of Lawyer Photos: Michael Dutchover, Scott Alexander Ready For Bouts Isaac Chilemba Wins Decision Over Blake Caparello Bellew Frustrated, Explains His Beef With Canelo's Positive Tests Arum on 'Improved' Verdejo: I Have To See it With My Own Eyes Photos: Gvozdyk vs. Amar, Michael Conlan - Ready For Action

Latest Active Forum Threads