Vasiliy Lomachenko’s Road To Redemption Is Case For Comeback Boxer Of The Year
Vasiliy Lomachenko (16-2, 11 KOs) couldn’t close off 2020 the way he wanted.
He suffered his career’s only second loss to a 23-year-old Teofimo Lopez Jr. last December via decision. The win made Lopez, now 24, a new juggernaut of the division. He unified the 135-pound titles and stamped himself as a huge star.
As for Lomachenko, this was a title shot that went in vain.
Most experts had the Ukrainian talent as their betting favorite for having more experience than Lopez. But Lomachenko, 32 at the time, was on the receiving end of judges’ scores of 119-109, 117-111, 116-112.
Lomachenko put the past behind him and got to work in 2021, bagging two big wins to emerge as one of the top contenders for the lightweight straps.
The Lopez loss had not taken any belief out of Top Rank boss Bob Arum.
The veteran promoter declared his fighter as the best lightweight in the division and claimed that Lopez could only win because Loma was suffering from shoulder discomfort throughout the bout.
Lomachenko proved his promoter right in late June 2021 when put on a masterful performance inside The Theater at Virgin Hotel. Referee Celestino Ruiz had to pull Lomachenko away from Masayoshi Nakatani in the ninth round, adding a TKO victory to the Ukrainian’s resume.
This was his first appearance since losing the WBO, IBF and WBA belts to Lopez. This month, he took on former IBF titlist Richard Commey to bag a decision win. Judges had the former pound-for-pound king 117-110, 119-108, and 119-108 at the end of 12 rounds.
Fighting at the jam-packed Madison Square Garden in New York, Commey could not dominate Lomachenko the way the latter did.
In the seventh round, Lomachenko almost knocked out the former lightweight champion, almost begging Commey’s corner to stop the fight, but they didn’t. The fight barely went the distance with Commey wobbling every now and then in the final rounds.
— ESPN Ringside (@ESPNRingside) December 12, 2021
The Ghanaian star was in tears after only losing for the fourth time in his career.
On the flip side, Lomachenko earned a shot against Australia’s George Kambosos with a one-sided victory. Kambosos is the man every lightweight wants to share the ring with after the 33-year-old beat Teofimo Lopez on November 27.
The Australian star, who entered the fight as an underdog, returned from the ring with Lopez’s WBO, WBA, IBF and WBC franchise lightweight championship titles.
Whether Bob Arum or Lomachenko like it or not, they might have to travel to Australia in early 2022 to take on Kambosos in front of his home crowd.
This is Lomachenko’s only choice to reign as the lightweight king once again.