This weekend, the man known simply as “The Matrix” will receive the Sugar Ray Robinson Fighter Of The Year Award at the Boxing Writer’s Association of America Awards Dinner.
Vasiliy Lomachenko will be the first Ukrainian to win the prize in the awards’ 80-year history, beginning what the fighter hopes will be a winning weekend all around as he also faces WBA lightweight champion Jorge Linares on Saturday night at Madison Square Garden.
Highlights of Vasyl Lomachenko, showing some of his incredible speed, agility, skills and knockouts. He is without a doubt one of the most exciting professional boxers on the scene. Song: Swim High - RIVKA Instagram: @reznickboxing Twitter: @reznickboxing
Lomachenko, the only man to beat Gary Russell, Jr. is gunning for a world title in his third weight division in just his 12th pro bout.
The two-time Olympic gold medallist has made a meteoric rise in the pro ranks and is widely considered the best fighter on the planet due to his extensive amateur background, two Olympic gold medals and more. After making feared Cuban fighter Guillermo Rigondeaux quit on his stool, Lomachenko’s stock rose even higher and his new title of “No Mas Chenko” began in salute to Sugar Ray Leonard’s victory over Roberto Duran years ago.
Now chasing greatness in a third weight class, Lomachenko will face a daunting introduction to the 135-pound division as he takes on the Venezuelan who is defending his title for the seventh time.
Relive Vasiliy Lomachenko making Guillermo Rigondeaux become the 4th opponent to quit rather than continue against the Ukrainian phenom.
“I always want a challenge — always,” Lomachenko said at media day in New York City this week. “At 130 (pounds) we can’t organize a top fight with a champion. Then my promoter asked about if I want to move to 135 against Jorge Linares. After two seconds I said, ‘Of course I can. I can and I am ready.’”
Linares (44-3) possesses speed aplenty and dazzling technical skills. However, even at a higher weight, Lomachenko can spell catastrophic problems for any fighter.
Watch exclusive highlights from Jorge Linares' unanimous decision victory over Mercito Gesta on Jan. 27, 2018.
Currently atop most pundits pound-for-pound rankings, Lomachenko won his first world title at featherweight in his third pro bout and became a two-division world champion when he moved up to super featherweight in his seventh pro fight.
Lomachenko is the favorite in this weekend's fight, as many are looking past Linares and imagining potential matchups with everyone from Gervonta “Tank” Davis to Mikey Garcia to a rematch with Gary Russell, Jr.
ESPN's Teddy Atlas breaks down what Vasiliy Lomachenko does so well and how it could spell problems for Jorge Linares.
With Lomachenko almost following in the same footsteps of GGG, galvanizing an Eastern European base that ballooned into American pop culture, only time will tell if he will continue to live up to the hype.