There was much praise for Vasyl “Hi-Tech” Lomachenko (14-1, 10KOs) once the news broke out he would become a professional in 2013. He had a 396-1 record as an amateur and the one loss he had was avenged. On top of that, he was a two time Olympic gold medalist in the 2008 and 2012 Olympic Games. So obviously we can see where all the hype was coming from. As we all know, the professional level is a lot different than the amateur level, so we were not sure how the Ukrainian would do as a professional.
When Loma started his career, he was rushed into a title shot in his second pro bout against the experienced and battle tested Orlando Salido (44-14-4, 31KOs). The fight was at featherweight and for the WBO title. Even though Loma was a favorite in the fight, experience prevailed and Salido won by split decision. Loma failed in his first attempt at a title but showed a lot in that fight and he came on the late rounds to make it closer on points. His good effort landed him another title shot in his third fight against the talented Gary Russell, Jr. (30-1, 18KOs). In a fight that seemed like a pick’em fight, Loma dominated Russell and won the WBO Featherweight title in his third pro fight. Loma made three defenses of the title against mediocre opposition and moved up to the super featherweight division.
Loma had a better run at super featherweight as he defeated Roman Martinez (30-4-3, 18KOs) in 2016 for the WBO title by knockout in the 5th round. Then he made his 1st defense of the title by facing the undefeated and dangerous Nicholas Walters (26-1-1, 21KOs). Walters was supposed to be a tough challenge but Loma proved to be too much for the “Axe Man”. Walters quit at the end of the seventh round. Loma would make three more defenses of the title against decent opposition with one of them a mega fight against Guillermo Rigondeaux (19-1, 13KOs). Even though the fight was between two of the top pound-for-pound fighters in the world, Rigondeaux was too small. Rigo moved up two weight classes and that was evident in the fight. Rigo would also quit in the fight after six rounds.
Based on the way Loma was handling everyone with ease along with his gifted boxing skills, you can see where most critics had labeled him the best fighter in the world. At that time, I felt he was a top ten fighter in the world but not #1. I was impressed of how quick he won titles in two different weight classes with only a few pro fights, but he didn’t clear out the divisions he fought in. This is the reason why I didn’t rank him as high as other boxing pundits did at the time.
Since Loma moved up to the lightweight division last year, I have changed my tune.
For his lightweight debut, he faced off with Jorge Linares (46-5, 28KOs). Loma was put to the test. He was put to the canvas in the fight in the sixth round and was having a difficult fight. As the fight went on, Loma picked up a second gear and scored a knockout of Linares in the 10th round to win the WBA Lightweight title. Loma followed this up with a dominating victory over Jose “Sniper” Pedraza (26-3, 13KOs) by unanimous decision to claim the WBO title. In April of 2019, he won the Lineal title by blowing out Anthony Crolla (34-7-3, 13KOs) in four rounds. Last month, he fought Englishman Luke Campbell (19-3, 16KOs) in his backyard in the United Kingdom. Not only was the WBA, WBO, and Lineal titles up for grabs but also the vacant WBC belt. Campbell put up a hell of a fight and it was a competitive fight even though the critics dismissed Campbell. Like in the Linares fight, Loma was hurt and had to battle adversity in the fight. Loma repeated what he did in the Linares fight and that was pick up a second gear again. He took over the fight and beat Campbell by unanimous decision.
So, what does Loma want to do now?
He wants the winner of the IBF title fight between Richard Commey (29-2, 26KOs) and Teofimo Lopez (14-0, 11KOs) fight which will take place later in the year. Loma wants to win the IBF title to become the undisputed champion and stay as a top pound for pound fighter. We really have to hand it to him now. Even though he had more tough fights at lightweight, he is beating all the top guys in the division. By the way, he wanted to fight Mikey Garcia, but the politics of boxing got in the way of that one. I really like Loma’s drive here and there is no more questioning his top pound for pound status. With a record of 14-1, 10 KO’s, he’s already won titles in three different weight classes and he is the current Lightweight Lineal Champion.
Whether you rank Loma at number one, two, or three in your pound-for-pound list, he has certainly proved he is one of the best fighters in the world today.