LOMACHENKO V RIGONDEAUX EDGES CLOSER
By Joseph Barclay on Sep 6 2017
Now that Mayweather v McGregor circus is behind us, numerous boxing purists are eager to return their attention to upcoming world title fights that many consider more evenly matched and competitive. Although Canelo vs. Golovkin is consuming a large portion of the spotlight, there are other big stories in the boxing world that haven’t received the necessary attention they deserve. None more so than Vasyl Lomachenko vs. Guillermo Rigondeaux, who are reportedly very close to agreeing upon a much-anticipated bout in December at the Madison Square Garden in New York, after more than two years of speculation.
Both fighters boast two Olympic Gold Medals and are considered by many as two of the greatest amateur boxers to grace the squared circle. Fans are beside themselves with expectations of the bout’s technical brilliance and are eagerly hoping the fight gets given the green light. If it does, it will be first time two double-Olympic-winning fighters have faced off in the professional ranks.
Lomachenko, also known as ‘Hi-Tech’, hails from Ukraine and currently holds the WBO super-featherweight title, and is widely regarded as a top 5 pound-for-pound fighter in the world. With an excellent amateur record of 396-1, Lomachenko has already stamped his authority on the professional ranks, becoming the fastest boxer to win a world title in two weight divisions, achieving the feat in just his seventh fight (having won his first World Title in just three fights). Despite Vasyl’s undeniable skill and impressive wins over the likes of Gary Russell Jr. and Nicholas Walters, in many people’s eyes, Lomachenko’s pound-for-pound credentials won’t be solidified unless he secures a defining victory over an opponent of Rigondeaux’s calibre.
Rigondeaux who also boast an incredible amateur record (463-12), now 36, has held multiple titles at super-bantamweight, however he has agreed to move up eight pounds to the super-featherweight division to ensure the fight with Lomachenko goes ahead. After dominating a highly esteemed opponent in Nonito Donaire in 2013, the Cuban has been relatively inactive and has struggled to obtain big fights since; with many believing he has become one of the most avoided boxers on the planet.
In a match-up between two southpaws who are arguably the most technically gifted and fundamentally sound boxers of the modern era outside of Floyd Mayweather, there are vastly differing opinions on who will win and why. Those in favour of Lomachenko cite his size advantage, speed and punch output as the difference in the fight, while Rigondeaux’s flawless defensive skill and impeccable timing have some pundits and fans confident the Cuban can come away with the victory.
All in all, 2017 has been a phenomenal year for boxing fans, which will hopefully culminate in a clash-of-the-titans style event come December.