Vasyl Lomachenko-Nicholas Walters: Pre-Fight Report Card


by Cliff Rold

The timing of things can be funny. Had this fight happened even six months ago, the buzz among hardcore fight fans would likely be off the charts. It’s still good. It feels like it could be more.

After all, this was a fight people started to get interested in during 2014.

Then it looked like one of those contests that aren’t meant to be. Publicized behind the scenes issues surrounded Walters and he has spent this year on the shelf while Lomachenko, who has only fought once, dazzled the masses with a knockout of Roman Martinez.

When you think about it, what has really changed? Lomachenko has fought only once since Walters was last in the ring. If this was a fight one wanted to see a year ago, there hasn’t been all that much to separate them since.

Who will separate in the ring?

Let’s go the report card.

The Ledgers

Vasyl Lomachenko

Age: 28

Title: WBO super featherweight (2016-Present, 1st Attempted Defense)

Previous Titles: WBO featherweight (2014-16, 3 Defenses)

Height: 5’7

Weight: 130 lbs.

Hails from: Bilhorod-Dnistrovskyi, Ukraine

Record: 6-1, 4 KO (12-1, 4 KO including World Series of Boxing Contests)?

Record in Major Title Fights: 5-1, 3 KO

Rankings: #1 (Boxing Monthly), #2 (BoxingScene, ESPN), #3 (Ring), #4 (TBRB), #5 (BoxRec)

Current/Former World Champions/Titlists Faced: 3 (Orlando Salido L12; Gary Russell Jr. MD12; Roman Martinez KO5)


Nicholas Walters

?Age: 30

Title: None

Previous Titles: WBA featherweight (2012-15, 4 Defenses)

Height: 5’7

Weight: 129 ½ lbs.

Hails from: Montego Bay, Jamaica

Record: 26-0-1, 21 KO

Rankings: #6 (BoxRec), #7 (Boxing Monthly), #10 (BoxingScene)

Record in Major Title Fights: 5-0, 4 KO

Current/Former World Champions/Titlists Faced: 3 (Vic Darchinyan KO5; Nonito Donaire TKO6; Jason Sosa D10)


Pre-Fight: Speed – Lomachenko A-; Walters B+

Pre-Fight: Power –Lomachenko B+; Walters A

Pre-Fight: Defense – Lomachenko A-; Walters B+

Pre-Fight: Intangibles – Lomachenko A; Walters A

This is a fight where the intangibles could be big. Photographs of Walters in the week leading to the fight, and reports of needing to knock off a lot of weight for this fight, raise questions about his legs.

Lucky for Walters, he doesn’t have to weigh in the day of the fight in 2016. If that is an issue, it might be mitigated simply by the time available to rehydrate. Previous outings suggest Walters is a big man for his class, a fighter with a Jr. welterweight frame able to boil down. It’s been a serious advantage in his biggest wins to date. Nonito Donaire and Vic Darchinyan were both stopped, the former for the first time in his career.

Could those wins overrate Walters a hair? Both men were initially titlists at flyweight and were never as good as they once were beyond about 118 lbs. We haven’t seen a similar Walters performance against a high quality, full bodied featherweight or Jr. lightweight.

lomachenko-walters-weights (2)

That doesn’t mean he’s been bad. His wins over Miguel Marriaga, and a draw that looked like a clear win against Jason Sosa, were effective if not scintillating. He has a good, long jab, and uses it to set up a nasty uppercut upstairs sometimes and hard hooks to the body often. Walters is a solid defender, picking off shots well with his shoulders and elbows in close quarters while maintaining a high guard around the head at range.

It is there where Lomachenko may have a lot of success. Walters high guard is sometimes tight. The Ukrainian, a defensive gem who also keeps his output high, works as well as anyone in combination right now. A scenario where Lomachenko comes in and out all night, firing in multiple and then stepping around Walters, could lead to a one-sided night.

That’s probably not the most likely scenario. Just as the case in the hotly contested Ward-Kovalev fight, a stiff, well-timed jab can disrupt anyone. Walters, if he can establish his, could force Lomachenko to think about coming forward. If that forces him to bring the fight inside, we’ve got a potential dogfight.

In his win against Martinez, Lomachenko was sitting on his shots more and scored the sort of knockout other big punchers couldn’t against the veteran. He is a fighter with high ring IQ who is still mastering the hurt side of the pro game. How he continues to evolve, if a real battle breaks out, could tell the tale.     

The Pick

The odds makers don’t see the same sort of 50-50 fight here this week that we had last. If it isn’t 50-50, put it down as 60-40. This has real upside. Lomachenko is facing the most complete talented young fighter he’s seen to date. Walters might not have the ring savvy and experience of an Orlando Salido, but he presents a physical threat with little to lose. Walters career stalled this year and a loss here would be devastating. He’s going to bring the best he’s got.

The thinking here is that won’t be quite enough. Lomachenko’s ability to just pick away at an opponent without leaving much to hit in return, his consistent footwork, and the beard he’s already shown make it hard to imagine him losing seven rounds. It doesn’t mean he won’t; it’s doesn’t mean other scoring factors won’t come into play. It does mean that the safe pick is the one the odds makers are strongly favoring. The pick is Lomachenko by decision.    

Report Card and Staff Picks 2016: 38-13

Cliff Rold is a member of the Ring Magazine Ratings Advisory Panel, the Yahoo Pound for Pound voting panel, and the Boxing Writers Association of America.  He can be reached at [email protected]

User Comments and Feedback (Register For Free To Comment) Comment by SplitSecond on 11-26-2016

No media push for this fight. Shame. The undercard seems to suck too. Main even is all to look for, for the people in the know.

Comment by jwalkr on 11-26-2016

Great matchup. Can't wait to see it. Kovalev Ward one week then Loma Walters the next. Boxing is coming back!

Comment by doom_specialist on 11-26-2016

This is pretty much Kovalev-Ward again. You have the slick, skilled boxer vs. the skilled (but seemingly not as skilled) boxer puncher, though I think the class difference is far wider in this case. I got Loma by comfortable UD,…

Comment by kiaba360 on 11-26-2016

[QUOTE=angkag;17230740]I took this to be about his weight management since the Sosa fight. He put on a Duranesque amount of weight during his inactivity, and the article just questions what effect this might have if any. For me - Walters…

Comment by lazaron72 on 11-26-2016

Walters wins it .. I think by tko .... Walters will be to much by loma .. Hit and not be hit ; you can not hit what you don't see .

Post a Comment - View More User Comments (16)
Top Headlines Usyk-Gassiev LIVE Results: Ponomarev Shocked, Shafikov Wins Srisaket Sor Rungvisai Crushes Young Gil Bae in One Oleksandr Usyk-Murat Gassiev: Stats & Stakes Frank Warren: Liam Smith, At His Best, Will Beat Jaime Munguia Freddie Roach Focuses on Footwork For Alberto Machado Usyk: I'm Not Worried About Fighting Gassiev in Moscow Joshua: My Side is Signed, I Need To Get Wilder To Sign Daily Bread Mailbag: Mayweather, Canelo-GGG, Pacquiao, More Coldwell Confident Gavin McDonnell Will Shock Danny Roman Cecilia Braekhus: I Know This Will Be a Very Tough Fight Hearn on Bellew's Options: Fury, Adonis Stevenson, Andre Ward Usyk-Gassiev: Muhammad Ali's Wife To Present The Trophy Ryan Garcia: I Don't Care About Sparring, I Want Gervonta Davis Michael Dutchover Blasts Out Sergio Ramirez in Two Rounds Jean Pascal Dominates, Stops Steve Bosse in The Eight Manny Pacquiao Should Think Carefully About Next Opponent Jaron Ennis Drops Alvarez Four Times, Scores 3rd-Round TKO Crawford: Arum Has Tried To Get Me Pacquiao, It Hasn't Worked Mattice Wins Suspicious Split Nod Over Hamazaryan on ShoBox Montana Love, Kenneth Sims Jr. Battle to Eight-Round Draw Pacquiao: Nobody is Authorized To Speak on My Behalf Luis Ortiz: Deontay Wilder Would Knock Joshua Out in 3 Rounds! Lamont Roach Stops Deivi Julio Bassa in Cancun Photos: World Boxing Super Series - Season 2 Fighters Face Off Photos: Alberto Machado, Rafael Mensah - Ready For Battle Alexey Egorov Will Look To Make a Statement With Lateef Kayode Jarrell Miller Joins Broadcast Team For Whyte vs. Parker Lamont Roach Aims To Follow in Hurd's Footsteps, Win Title Photos: Jaime Munguia, Liam Smith - Ready For War in Las Vegas Burnett-Donaire, Inoue-Payano For WBSS Bantamweight Tourney Prograis-Flanagan, Taylor-Martin Set For WBSS Quarterfinals Whyte vs. Parker: Referee Selected is Ian John-Lewis Photos: Christopher Diaz Putting in Work For Ito Title Fight Video: Freddie Roach Talks Pacquiao, Canelo-Golovkin, More Sergey Lipinets vs. Erick Bone Set For Berto-Alexander Card Video: Oscar De La Hoya Breaks Down Munguia vs. Smith Liam Smith: Munguia Never Faced a Fully-Fledged 154-Pounder Jaron Ennis: I Want To Make a Statement in This Fight Photos: Usyk, Gassiev - Ready For War in WBSS Unification Final Povetkin Pleased Joshua Fight Is In London; Feels Less Pressure

Latest Active Forum Threads