“The Fight He’s Going Through … Much Bigger Than Any Boxing Match” | Vasiliy Lomachenko Rejects Title Bout To Defend Ukraine

(Photo by Mikey Williams/Top Rank Inc via Getty Images)

In boxing, Vasiliy Lomachenko is known as “The Matrix” for his enigmatic moves in the squared circle. The former three-weight class world champion has rejected a title fight with George “Ferocious” Kambosos to stay the course and fight Russians in Ukraine.

“Loma” is currently part of a regiment in Ukraine providing border security detail. He is part of a contingent of Ukrainian current professional boxers and former boxers that have sacrificed their careers to defend their country.

The Ukrainian boxing community rallied for their country’s sovereignty from current heavyweight champion Oleksandr Usyk to former heavyweight greats Vitali and Wladimir Klitschko; the Ukrainian boxing community rallied for their country’s independence.

Martial Law

According to reports, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy declared martial law on Feb. 24 in response to the Russian invasion. Then Ukraine’s parliament voted last week to extend martial law for another 30 days by approving a bill proposed by President Zelenskiy.

According to the United Nations, just over 3 million have now fled Ukraine; however, eligible men aged 18 to 60 are restricted from leaving the country under martial law.

This now throws a wrench in the plans of the current lightweight king, George “Ferocious” Kambosos. Last November, the Aussie defeated Teofimo Lopez Jr., to claim the unified lightweight title.

Defense Of The Country

However, after securing a fight with Lomachenko for June 5 in his native Melbourne, Australia, he will now have to switch up based on Lomachenko’s commitment to his country.

“How can anyone question? The fight he’s going through right now is much bigger than any boxing match,” Kambosos Jr.’s promoter Lou DiBella told ESPN.

“We made a deal with him (Lomachenko); the deal was literally done before the invasion. We wanted to give him any chance within reason with our allowable timetable.

“We have nothing but the utmost respect for his decision. Kambosos wanted to make sure once we made that deal that, Lomachenko had ample time to decide. We said all along we would try to make the biggest fights, and we did that today.”

The Undisputed “Dream” Is Now

Now Devin “The Dream” Haney, the youngest boxing promoter-fighter in history, is being offered the shot. Since Haney has the WBC lightweight title, the fight would be for the undisputed lightweight title.

Now Kambosos is coming for Haney on social media.

“You were offered [the fight] months ago & you played around,” Kambosos tweeted to Haney. “In the meantime, the great man Vasiliy Lomachenko made it very simple to do anything to make it happen & it was a done deal. But Loma now has a bigger fight [at the moment] which I totally respect so let’s see how much of your word is true.”

Gloves Down, Guns Up

In a new era of sports entertainment, this is the first time in history the major and minor players of an entire country’s boxing community have put down the gloves and picked up the guns.

Lomachenko is sacrificing his career at 34 years old when a boxer’s career is usually on the downslide. With everything to lose in his country, Lomachenko and others have decided to show the world where their loyalties lie.

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Rhett Butler is a Boxing Writer Association of America Journalist, Play-By-Play Commentator, Combat Sports Insider, and Former Mixed Martial Arts and Boxing Promoter. The New York City native honed his skills at various news outlets including but not limited to: TIME Magazine, Money Magazine, CNN's Wolf Blitzer Reports, and more. Rhett hosts the PRITTY Left Hook podcast, a polarizing combat sports insider's take featuring the world's biggest names.