Opinion: lomachenko – the greatest in the making? by @craigglovesred
I sat in awe on Saturday night watching Vasyl “Loma” Lomachenko showcase his skills against Jorge Linares in one of the best fights I’ve seen in a long time. There’s only some occasions when you get that feeling you’re watching something truly special, and I certainly did on Saturday.
Loma was the experienced matador stepping out of range seamlessly in the first five rounds of the fight. It wasn’t without drama, though, as Linares knocked Loma down for the first time in his professional career at the end of the sixth. It was hard not to be impressed by the way he came roaring back with a devastating body-shot to knock out Linares in the 10th. Loma became a world champion in three weight classes within 11 fights. An outstanding achievement when you compare it to icons like Oscar De La Hoya, Floyd Mayweather Jr and Manny Pacquiao who took a respective 23, 34 and 41 fights to achieve the same feat.
Lomachenko started boxing at the age of four and continued until he was nine, when Anatoly Lomachenko, his father, suddenly decided that was enough for him. Loma left boxing behind and studied various sports, becoming a dancer in his homeland of Ukraine. But it was all part of Anatoly’s grand plan to build the greatest fighter on the planet. He felt his son required the best footwork possible and he achieved that through dance. Anatoly was convinced after four years that Loma achieved the necessary footwork he needed to win boxing fights at the highest level. It was at that point Loma returned to boxing and went onto achieve a record of 396-1 in the amateurs that included two gold medals in 2008 and 2012.
Loma’s training has always been orchestrated and monitored by his father, with an assist from a psychologist trained in cognitive behaviour. It includes the likes of handstands, juggling and tennis which Loma often plays alone, sprinting around the net to return his own lobs. Hardly the typical training methods for a world champion Boxer, but perhaps that’s what stands him out from the rest.
When Loma does spar it comprises of 15 four-minute rounds with 30 seconds of rest in between. Every single one recorded and calibrated through the memory chips in his wraps that is analysed by his perfectionist seeking father.
Has Anatoly built one of the greatest fighters we are likely to see in this lifetime? I think so. It’s clear to me that Loma isn’t interested in ducking any opponents having fought the likes of Gary Russell Jr, Guillermo Rigondeaux and Jorge Linares within 11 pro fights. Linares did test Loma and a rematch would certainly be interesting. However, I feel that Mikey Garcia may be the stiffest test out there and a fight that would have fight fans licking their lips. I for one think that we are watching a future great, and even one day arguably The Greatest, and can’t wait till the next time Vasyl “Loma” Lomanchenko graces the ring.