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HomeEntertainment NewsBN Verdict: Lomachenko is still very much Lomachenko | Boxing News

BN Verdict: Lomachenko is still very much Lomachenko | Boxing News

SOMETIMES, when watching Vasiliy Lomachenko in action, one can’t help but wonder whether in the end only his ambition and the pressure on him to find challenges has dirtied what could have been a pristine – yes, even perfect – record.

It could be argued, of course, that this is just the nature of the game, or the beast, and that every boxer must at some stage balance risk against reward. Yet with Lomachenko, 18-3 (12), there remains a feeling that his professional record is indicative more of the pressure on him to keep testing himself than, let’s say, the brilliance he has shown every time he sets foot in a boxing ring. A more stubborn fighter, for instance, may have found it easier saying “no”, or looking the other way when presented with a test. However, this approach has never been the approach of Lomachenko; not when fighting Orlando Salido in his first world title fight in pro bout number two, and not when moving from featherweight to super-featherweight and then finally to lightweight just to make things interesting and give others a chance.

Now at lightweight, where he has been since 2018, Lomachenko is a champion (IBF) again. That, to anyone who has ever watched Lomachenko perform will come as no surprise, but when taking into account the fact he is now 36, and that he has also just beaten an Australian in Australia, this latest achievement of Lomachenko’s takes on new and greater meaning. Indeed, for some it represents his swansong; either his final achievement or the springboard to what will become his final achievement.

Beating George Kambosos, the aforementioned Australian, was never really in doubt – again, to those who know of Lomachenko’s quality – but to do it the way Lomachenko did, dominating and halting the Australian in round 11, was evocative of some of Lomachenko’s best wins and therefore provides hope that he still has something left.

The finish in round 11, for example, was as good a finish as Lomachenko has managed for some time, particularly as a lightweight. With investments made early, and with Kambosos by now bloodied and hurt, Lomachenko ruthlessly dug a southpaw left hand into his opponent’s body in the 11th, which caused Kambosos to turn away from the action and take a knee. He would continue, of course, such is his bravery, but Kambosos was unable to protect himself, or even that same spot on his body, when the action resumed. As a result, Lomachenko went after him, throwing only left hands to the midsection, and was soon wheeling away in victory following the referee’s intervention.

Lomachenko throws his left hand (Mikey Williams/Top Rank)

Of all the things to be taken from tonight, that, the nature of the finish, was most encouraging for those still in awe of Lomachenko. After all, in pursuing Kambosos in this way, and by not settling for a decision win, Lomachenko showed he has both the gears and the desire to still impress and finish and, yes, take risks. It is always a risk to try finishing a fight, even a fight as one-sided as tonight’s, and yet Lomachenko remains happy to take such risks. Perhaps, to some degree, he is still haunted by what happened in his previous fight, a close decision loss against Devin Haney, and wanted to make absolutely certain this time around. Perhaps Lomachenko is losing faith in the ability of judges, and boxing fans, to know and appreciate what it is they are watching.

For those who do understand, there aren’t many sights as alluring as Lomachenko on song. Few fighters, whether the ones currently active or ones from the past, can match his level of technical prowess and few fighters can boast his array of punches, either. Few fighters, in fact, are able to match Lomachenko in any department, which is precisely why, in order to somewhat level the playing field, the Ukrainian has spent his career handicapping himself and giving opponents certain advantages (usually in weight, or timing) to ensure his fights are remotely interesting and competitive.

Lomachenko, you see, is just that good. He has, in fact, always been that good. Capable of beating world-class fighters from day one of his professional career, one of the only questions surrounding him these days is this: Was/is he too good for his own good? Meaning, it’s hard to imagine a fighter as seemingly perfect as Vasiliy Lomachenko sporting anything but a perfect record (all things being equal), yet 18-3 is clearly not an accurate representation of perfection. Which, in turn, begs a follow-up question: Is it in the end only Lomachenko’s innate desire to entertain and test himself that has seen him suffer setbacks and occasionally bite off more than he can chew?

Possibly. Either way, it’s this very desire to entertain and test himself that makes Vasiliy Lomachenko a fighter so easy to not only watch but admire.

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