Vasiliy Lomachenko Is Climbing The Ladder Towards Greatness

This weekend, the man known simply as The Matrix will receive the Sugar Ray Robinson Fighter Of The Year Award at the Boxing Writers 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.

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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, Lomachenkos stock rose even higher and his new title of No Mas Chenko began in salute to Sugar Ray Leonards 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.

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I always want a challenge always, Lomachenko said at media day in New York City this week. At 130 (pounds) we cant 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.

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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. 

His last four opponents have quit mid-bout and he is on a path to greatness on par with undisputed light welterweight champion Terence Crawford and four-weight class world champion, Mikey Garcia.

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. 

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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.

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