The Era Of Lomachenko: Vasyl Lomachenko-Miguel Marriaga Preview

  • By Behind The Gloves
  • 16 Aug, 2017

Lomachenko Faces Marriaga In California As He Looks To Send Out Warning To Potential 'Super Fight' Rivals

Saturday August 5th   sees the return to the ring of WBO Super Featherweight Champion Vasyl   ‘Hi-Tech’   Lomachenko   (8-1-0, 6 KO’s)   as he makes the third defence of his title against teak-tough Colombian banger Miguel Marriaga   (25-2-0, 21 KO’s)   at Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles, California.

Ukrainian superstar Lomachenko, who was last seen in action when dissecting former WBA Super Featherweight Champion Jason Sosa in 9 one-sided rounds in April, is currently on one of the hottest winning streaks in professional boxing. He has stopped his last five opponents (three of them current or former World Champions) across two weight classes – capturing a second World Title in as many divisions in the process – and all before reaching the double figure-mark in bouts as a professional.

Astonishingly, Lomachenko is yet to lose a round on an official judge’s scorecard since capturing his first World title against then-unbeaten American Gary Russell Jr. in June 2014. It is a streak that is unheard of at the top level of the sport. However, Lomachenko is no stranger to extraordinary feats. After amassing a colossal 396-1 record as an amateur, Lomachenko tied the record for fewest fights to win a World title when defeating Russell Jr. in just his third contest in the paid ranks. He would then become a two-weight titlist after brutally knocking out three-time WBO World Super Featherweight Champion Rocky Martinez in five rounds in June of last year.

It is career that many fighters could only dream of: and it has happened in the blink of an eye.

After capturing the 130lbs strap with his highlight-reel stoppage of Martinez, Lomachenko took on another previously undefeated World Champion in the shape of Nicholas ‘The Axeman’ Walters in his next fight. In a highly-anticipated clash of styles, pitting the silky boxing skills of Lomachenko against the savage, one-punch knockout power of Walters, many expected a close, competitive contest between two of the sport’s most watchable combatants. What ensued was one of the most dominant exhibitions of guile, skill and mastery in recent memory. In a punch-perfect performance, the brilliant Lomachenko bamboozled and befuddled Walters to the point that the Jamaican sensationally quit in his corner before the beginning of the 8th   round, handing Lomachenko the victory in the most humbling of fashion.

In his most recent outing – the aforementioned stoppage of Jason Sosa in April – Lomachenko continued his trend of forcing fighters into waving the white flag. With another dazzling display of combination punching and angles, Lomachenko pummelled the brave Sosa from the opening round, forcing the American’s corner to throw in the towel at the end of the ninth after a sustained and prolonged beating at the hands of the Ukrainian maestro.

Following such an imperious recent run, many of the boxing fraternity had been calling for Lomachenko to take on another elite fighter in his next bout. With mouth-watering potential clashes at Lightweight featuring WBA & ‘Ring’ Magazine World Champion Jorge Linares and WBC titlist Mikey Garcia – who impressed in his recent win over Adrien Broner at 140lbs – both mooted, the decision to face Miguel Marriaga was met with some disappointment from fans.

Lomachenko himself admitted that Marriaga was not his first-choice opponent for the August 5th   clash, making no secret of his desire to avenge his only professional career-loss to Orlando ‘Siri’ Salido in just his second outing. However, he gave a one year deadline for the rematch to take place before moving on to other opportunities. Speaking to the press during his open-media workout ahead of this Saturday’s title defence, Lomachenko said of Salido:

“I want this fight   [Salido]   in the next year. After this, I don’t like it, I don’t need this fight because he is a very old man. I give him one year if he wants a fight with me, because we speak with his manager and his promoter 3 or 4 times and he is always talking about some problem.” said Lomachenko.

This follows on from claims made by Lomachenko’s manager Egis Klimas earlier in the year that Salido was pricing himself out of a proposed rematch, after a rumoured $720,000 offer from Top Rank declined by Salido and his team.

Despite being far from the marquee name that fans had been hoping to see Lomachenko in the ring with, Miguel Marriaga is far from an easy proposition for the double Olympic Gold Medallist. In his last outing against WBO World Featherweight Champion Oscar Valdez, Marriaga pushed the talented Mexican belt-holder Valdez to the limit in a gruelling 12 round fight that was packed with action from the first bell to the last.

Marriaga, a relentless pressure fighter with a good chin and solid power, forced the unbeaten 26-year-old Champion to work every second of every round in a ‘Fight of the Year’ candidate that saw both fighter land heavy, hurtful blows. The Colombian showed incredible heart and resolve in climbing off of the canvas after a howitzer of a left hook from Valdez dropped him heavily in the 10th   round, and rallied to almost stop his opponent in what would have been a dramatic come-from-behind victory. The two fighters share a common opponent in the aforementioned Nicholas Walters, who dropped Marriaga en route to a wide 12 round Unanimous Decision victory in their June 2016 Featherweight bout. If the form book would point to a resounding victory for Lomachenko. However, the form guide is often an unreliable measuring stick for a boxing match. As the old adage goes: styles make fights.

The question for Marriaga – who has a series of good, but not great wins at 126lbs – is how he will fare moving up in fight to fight the consensus best fighter in the division in Lomachenko. The considerable success that he enjoyed in his last outing against Valdez relied on his ability to absorb punishment from his opponent, while continuing to march forward and walk his man down. Lomachenko will present a different problem entirely. Where Valdez was guilty of holding his feet and trading with the strong, bullish Marriaga, Lomachenko will look to utilise his command of angles and precise footwork – a tactic perfected by his coach and father Anatoly Lomachenko – to keep Marriaga off balance and chasing shadows under the lights at Microsoft Theater, California.

It is not customary for a fighter to challenge for a World title on the back of a defeat (especially in a higher weight class), but Marriaga will be aware that he has again been handed a monumental opportunity to upset one of the sport’s premier combatants. Despite scorecards to the contrary, Marriaga came close to doing so against Valdez. However, as many have discovered in the past – and one suspects they will discover in the future – Lomachenko is a completely different proposition.

Marriaga will seek to put Lomachenko under the same type of pressure that saw Salido have success in their March 2014 meeting. Salido was rough, tough and pushed the rules to breaking point after a succession of low blows carried him through to a Split Decision victory. Lomachenko and his team insist they have learned from the experience – and his results since that night would certainly support that claim – but the ‘Salido’ blueprint still, in theory at least, remains there to be put into practice.

With a number of highly-anticipated clashes on the horizon for Lomachenko, there is not only pressure to secure a victory, but look good in doing so. After dubbing Mikey Garcia’s performance in his recent win over Adrien Broner “slow” and “tired”, Lomachenko will seek to set the standard once again with another virtuoso display.

One thing is for certain, a man with a combined amateur and professional record of 404-2 will not be overlooking anyone. I, for one, would not be surprised to see the Ukrainian put forward another masterful exhibition of boxing fundamentals, en route to becoming the first man to stop Miguel Marriaga.

The era of Lomachenko has arrived, and we are just hours away from the next chapter in the tale of this supremely gifted Ukrainian…

Article by: Rob Tebbutt

You can follow Rob on Twitter at: @RobTebbutt 

By Behind The Gloves 24 Nov, 2017

Lee Selby has his eyes fixed firmly on unbeaten Mexican southpaw Eduardo Ramirez ahead of their showdown at the Copper Box Arena on December 9th.

The 30-year-old knows that should he come through his latest challenge unscathed, he'll be cashing in on some huge pay days in 2018, with the likes of mandatory challenger Josh Warrington, Carl Frampton and Scott Quigg all banging the drum for a shot as his IBF featherweight title.

Selby told  Behind The Gloves : "I'm not looking past December 9th and doing the job against Ramirez.

"There were only a few names available for this fight who were up there in the ratings, and Ramirez was the one we went for.

"I don't like to do too much research into my opponents, I've had a little look on YouTube and he looks decent, with fast hands and he seems tough too.

"He's the sixth or seventh unbeaten fighter I've faced, so I have no worries about his record."

The Welshman was talking from his training camp in Fuerteventura following a sparring session with Ryan Wheeler and Jazza Dickens, and admits it's nice to train with the sun beating down on his back, adding: "We've been out here before, the facilities at Adam Bailey's gym are superb and it's nice to break camp up and come out here to get some sun on my back.

"I'm getting great sparring with two southpaws in Ryan and Jazza and my preparation is going well."

By Behind The Gloves 24 Nov, 2017

Former Team GB amateur standout Harvey Horn has said he hopes to be fast-tracked as he embarks upon his professional career. Horn will make his debut on the undercard of a show featuring British world champions James DeGale and Lee Selby at London’s Copper Box Arena on December 9.

The 22-year-old signed a long-term promotional deal with Hall of Fame promoter Frank Warren at the beginning of October and will campaign in the Flyweight division. He trains out of the famous Peacock Gym in Canning Town under highly-respected coach Mark Tibbs.

The East-Londoner gained a wealth of experience in a fine amateur career where he won won the 2014 ABA championships, before continuing his progression in the following year after winning a European silver medal in Bulgaria. He then represented Team GB at the inaugural European Games in Baku.

Horn gained what could be crucial experience through participating in the World Series of Boxing (WSB) which he entered with the British Lionhearts squad. The pro-style boxing format sees participants compete without a vest and are not permitted to wear protective headgear over three-minute rounds.

"They’re five round fights, no vest, no head guard, it’s like a professional fight." said Horn, in an exclusive interview with Behind The Gloves reporter Isaiah Benjamin.

"I was in there with the world’s best, so as far as I’m concerned I’ve already had three or four professional fights already. I’ll jump in at four rounds to start and maybe have two of those and then move up to six rounders, but I don’t want to stick around on the six’s too long."

"Judging on how I’ve been performing the last few years, and with the WSB and amateur experience that I’ve got, I’m hoping to be fast-tracked and that’s something that is expected of me from my promoter and my trainer.” he continued.

By Behind The Gloves 24 Nov, 2017

Quick! Name two currently active professional boxers with more talent and skill than Vasyl Lomachenko and Guillermo Rigondeaux? I'm not a gambling man but I'll bet the farm you can't do it. So don't even try. Listen, pedigree doesn't lie. Double Olympic gold medal winners don't grow on trees.

For the boxing faithful, 2017 has been a year where our cups have runneth over. We've had the drama of Wladimir Klitschko vs Anthony Joshua and Ward vs Kovalev, the controversy of the long awaited clash between Canelo Alvarez and Gennady Golovkin, and the shock of Roman Gonzalez getting unexpectedly bombed out by the dynamite fisted Thai, Sor Rungvisai. Whichever way you slice it boxing is on a roll this year. And it's not over yet.

On December 9th, at Madison Square Garden in New York City, we get the biggest fight in the sport that can be made in any weight class below 135lbs. And the second the Lomachenko vs Rigondeaux bout was officially announced, you could hear the collective sound of jaws dropping across the entire boxing landscape. In fact mine dropped so hard it hit the floor, bounced back up and knocked me clean out. 

A couple of swift kicks below the belt line from the wife - her version of first aid - woke me up and, apart from the searing pain in my groin, my first thought was of Loma-Rigo. The fact this fight is signed, sealed and delivered is almost too good to be true. So go ahead and slap yourself. This dream matchup is actually going to happen and if you're anything like me I'd wager you can't wait for the first bell to ring on fight night.

Moving forward I'll say this... It's a damn good time to be a follower of the "Sweet Science."

By Behind The Gloves 23 Nov, 2017

On 30 October 2017, Robert Smith of the BBBoC blamed Tyson Fury for delays to his anti-doping hearing.  He said to Sky Sports, “ We [the BBBoC] are ready to go, UKAD are ready to go on our behalf, and the independent panel are waiting for a confirmed date. It's up to them [Team Fury] now [to propose a date] ." 

Then, on 23 November 2017, Mr Smith reiterated to Sky Sports, " The reason why this has taken so long, so I have been led to believe, is because Mr Fury's legal team could not agree a date for the recommencement of the hearing. They obviously now have, and the hearing will recommence [in December 2017] ."

Mr Smith is incorrect. While Team Fury have been advised not to discuss this matter until it is over, we would like to clarify as follows:

(i) This matter started in February 2015 – almost 3 years ago – after routine doping control tests.

(ii) Tyson and Hughie were not notified of the results of those tests for 7 months, and even then UKAD simply asked them about their diet. There was never any suggestion that Tyson and Hughie had done anything wrong or that they might be in any sort of trouble.

(iii) Then, without warning, UKAD charged Tyson and Hughie in June 2016 in relation to the February 2015 tests – i.e. 16 months  after the tests.

(iv) A hearing eventually took place in May 2017 but was halted after UKAD objected to the participation of a tribunal member.

(v) Hearing dates were then proposed for early October 2017 but UKAD’s team ( not  Team Fury’s team) was unavailable.

(vi) A hearing has now been fixed for December 2017.

Contrary to the BBBoC’s suggestion, therefore, the delays have not been caused by Team Fury.

Source: Hennessy Sports [Press Release]

By Behind The Gloves 23 Nov, 2017

Belfast's Carl Frampton (24-1-0, 14 KO's) marked his return to the ring under new trainer Jamie Moore last Saturday night with a closely-contested, unanimous points victory over Horacio Garcia (33-4-1, 24 KO's) after ten months of inactivity. 

Frampton certainly impressed in a win that could in no way be described as 'routine'; it was, in fact, anything but. It was a win where he was required to utilise his boxing skills and masterfully navigate the ring early on against a tenacious opponent, in addition to harnessing his own reserves of grit and determination as the fight progressed into the gruelling later stages, with Garcia growing in confidence.

Nevertheless, prior to making his comeback after a seemingly acrimonious split with former manager and mentor Barry McGuigan, it has to be said that Frampton's previous claims of his own capability to knockout any fighter in the division do now appear, in hindsight, to be somewhat hollow.

It's not that the Ulsterman possesses insufficient or otherwise unremarkable power. On the contrary, the spite and varied selection of his punches are clearly one of Frampton's main attributes. Moreover, Frampton is an extremely well-rounded fighter who is, to say the least, adequate in almost every department, and according to popular consensus, he stands with rival Leo Santa Cruz are the two best in a talent-rich Featherweight division.

By Behind The Gloves 23 Nov, 2017

Most boxing fans will have experienced a sense of deja vu on Monday evening, when it was reported that former two division World Champion David Haye (28-3-0, 26 KO’s) had sustained a bicep injury as a result of a freak training accident, resulting in the postponement of next month’s scheduled rematch with Liverpool’s Tony Bellew (29-2-1, 19 KO’s).

The previous fortnight had seen much speculation surrounding the proposed bout, with a spate of rumours doing the rounds concerning the fitness of the thirty-seven-year-old ahead of the upcoming pay-per-view clash.

Haye has now withdrawn from four of his last seven scheduled contests, and has fought just one live opponent since 2012: suffering an 11th round TKO loss at the hands of the aforementioned Tony Bellew, on that one inauspicious occasion. 

In spite of his latest injury setback, the former WBA World Heavyweight Champion has ambitiously proposed a rescheduled date of either March or May, pending venue availability. Whilst such optimism may be met with a degree of scepticism by many, it should come as no great surprise from a fighter who will be undoubtedly desperate to exact revenge upon his arch nemesis, and subsequently erase the image of him being punched through the ropes - and into defeat - in the first encounter in March of this year.

Upon suffering the shock reverse last time out, 'The Hayemaker' made the decision to part ways with trainer Shane McGuigan in favour of Cuban veteran Ismael Salas, who had relocated to London in order undertake the assignment. The fledgling partnership has appeared to be a success thus far, with Salas being handed the additional responsibility of training two of Haye’s most valuable promotional assets, in 2016 Olympian Joe Joyce and crossover MMA star Michael 'Venom' Page.

By Behind The Gloves 23 Nov, 2017
It was confirmed today that the eagerly anticipated World Boxing Super Series semi-final between George Groves (27-3-0, 20 KO's) and Chris Eubank Jr. (26-1-0, 20 KO's) will take place at the Manchester Arena on February 17th.

After weeks of speculation, with many fans expecting the bout to take place in London, the mouth-watering contest was confirmed for Manchester amidst a fervour of interest from the boxing public.

WBA 'Super" Champion Groves, who dispatched of another domestic rival in the shape of Jamie Cox in the fourth round of their quarter-final bout in October, had made no secret of his desire to bring the fight to Stamford Bridge, the home of his beloved Chelsea Football Club. However, due to a scheduling clash with Britain's FA Cup matches, the location - as well as many other mooted football stadiums - was deemed unfeasible.

For Groves, the clash in Manchester represents the first time he has returned to the Manchester Arena since his controversial first fight with former unified Super Middleweight Champion Carl Froch in 2013, a match that many observers felt was cut short by an early stoppage by referee Howard Foster.
By Behind The Gloves 22 Nov, 2017

Boxing's No. 1 superhero and undefeated WBC/WBA/IBF/IBO middleweight world champion Gennady "GGG" Golovkin is back home in the Los Angeles area after his well-received visit to the Mexico, the motherland of his boxing style. Joined by his trainer Abel Sanchez and promoter Tom Loeffler, Golovkin traveled to Mexico City this week to meet with his fans and thank them for the support they have  given him throughout his career and especially in the lead up and aftermath of his  September 16 title defense against Canelo Alvarez.  Golovkin (37-0-1, 33 KO's), boxing's longest-reigning active world champion, has successfully defended the middleweight title 19 times -- one short of the record -- since 2010. 

Golovkin's whirlwind tour of Mexico City included a sustained standing ovation from 100,000 fans at Azteca Stadium at halftime of the game between the Oakland Raiders and the New England Patriots.  Golovkin, wearing his WBC world title belt, was introduced on the field at halftime and greeted by an entire stadium chanting 'Triple G' repeatedly.  The following day, the Mayor of Mexico City, Miguel Angel Mancera, honored Golovkin with a proclamation declaring him a distinguished guest of the city.  The proclamation was in recognition of Golovkin's generous support of the victims of the earthquake.  The highlight of Golovkin's trip was an extended visit to the Moctezuma Pediatric Hospital to give hugs, high fives and toys to children who are battling cancer.  He also spent time with the relatives of the children, accompanied by the head of the Ministry of Health, Armando Ahued Ortega, and the president of the World Boxing Council (WBC) Mauricio Sulaiman.  

"It really touched my heart to visit the children in the hospital, it was nice to bring them a special moment for a day," said Golovkin.  "I have so much respect for the doctors and nurses who treat the children and their families every day. I am just thankful to God that I am in a position to be able to visit them and bring a smile to their faces.

It was a big honor to receive the official declaration from Governor Mancera, recognizing me as an official guest and International Ambassador of Mexico City.  As we celebrate Thanksgiving, we should all give thanks for the blessing we have received. My trip to Mexico certainly did that for me."

"Gennady has won the hearts of Mexican people and is considered one of their own," said Sulaiman. "His kindness and much love given to those little champions fighting for their lives was humbling and brought tears of joy to many of us. I'm so proud to have GGG as the WBC middleweight champion.  He truly represents the best of boxing in and outside the ring."

"When we walked onto the field in front of 100,000 fans at Azteca Stadium and they were chanting 'Triple G,' it was one of those moments that you will remember forever, said Loeffler. "The secret to his success is GGG does more promoting of his career on a world-wide basis when he is not fighting than most fighters do when they have a fight coming up.  Last week he was in China with Jack Ma and this week he was in Mexico at the invitation of the president of the WBC."

Source: Sternberg Communications [Press Release]

By Behind The Gloves 22 Nov, 2017

On Saturday night in Madison Square Garden, New York, former IBF, WBA and WBO light heavyweight champion Sergey Kovalev returns to the ring to face Vyacheslav Shabranskyy for one of his old belts, the WBO strap left vacant by Andre Ward in the wake of his retirement from boxing. Ward of course claimed the aforementioned trio of belts with a narrow and controversial points decision over Kovalev in November 2016, one which many felt should have gone in favour of the Russian, who knocked Ward down in the second round. The closeness of the fight begged for a rematch and Ward put a definitive stamp on their rivalry by stopping Kovalev in the eighth round. There were complaints from Kovalev’s side of repeated low blows from Ward leading up to the stoppage, but the reality is that Kovalev had already been badly hurt by legitimate punches to the head and body and had nothing left in his tank.

The past year has been as torrid and unforgiving as the Russian winter for Kovalev. He lost his unbeaten record, all his belts and was stopped for the first time in his career. He split acrimoniously with his long-time trainer, John David Jackson, amidst an exchange of insults and accusations over who was to blame for the reversals suffered in the ring. Moreover, he lost the aura of menace and invincibility that he carried with him to every bout. Lest we forget that, before the fights with Ward, the ‘Krusher’ was regarded as one of the most feared men in boxing; a formidable boxer-puncher with devastating power and a notorious mean streak which carried him to a record 30-0-1 with 26 knockouts, three world titles, a career-defining win against the legendary Bernard Hopkins and a place in most pound-for-pound rankings. He now has the opportunity for redemption, albeit against a lesser foe.

By Behind The Gloves 22 Nov, 2017
The world of social media was put on alert yesterday by Duco Events - promoters of WBO World Heavyweight Champion Joseph Parker (24-0-0, 18 KO's) - after the New Zealand-based company teased the boxing community with an impromptu press conference, promising to shock the world with a video of "[Anthony] Joshua getting dropped repeatedly by little known opponents".

With such a bold, and seemingly definitive statement, Twitter was sent into overdrive, with a swarm of publicity leading to many boxing fans logging on to Duco Events Facebook page for the earth-shattering announcement. 
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