This Saturday night, one of the world’s most naturally gifted fighters will attempt to break the record for winning a World title with the least amount of fights.
The previous record was set by Thai Bantamweight Veeraphol Sahaprom in 1995, who won the WBA title in four fights. For most new pros, no matter how accomplished they were as an amateur, they will take around 20 or so lower level fights before challenging for World honours, but Vasyl Lomachenko is different. Lomachenko’s record will not just be more impressive for the fact that he could win a title in half the time it took Sahaprom but that he is fighting in a much more competitive division and fighting the tough, experienced and talented Orlando Salido.
It will have to be remembered that Salido is a three time World Featherweight Champion, so should not be underestimated. Salido looked devastating in his last contest, battering Orlando Cruz, a man who received quite a lot of press in the build-up due to him being the first openly gay boxer to fight for a title. Salido has been in with the best in the division, beating fighters like Juan Manuel Lopez and Cesar Soto. His KO percentage isn’t bad either as out of his 40 wins 28 of those ended before the final bell. Prior to his fight with Cruz it was always muted that he may fight the talented Ukrainian in his next contest, and while he won the fight by convincingly destroying Cruz, no doubt the Golden Boy fighter will fancy the fight; Lomachenko also fought on the same bill.
In his first pro outing Vasyl took on a 25-3 fighter named Jose Ramirez, who did give a good account of himself but was outclassed and ultimately stopped with a body shot in the fourth round. The Ukrainian will have no fear from the strong, but sometimes clumsy looking, Salido as he will feel he has all the tools to out box and take advantage of the Mexican’s flaws. Lomachenko has speed of both feet and footwork but it is yet to be seen whether he has a strong chin and enough punch power for a slugger like Salido, as during his six World Series of Boxing wins he only won one by stoppage. Vasyl may look at Salido’s war with Lopez and hope that he is not drawn into a fight like that as one would suspect the Ukrainian won’t be battle hardened enough for a scrap like that.
If Lomachenko wins this fight it sets himself up beautifully for big money fights, firstly a mouth-watering clash with Guillermo Rigondeaux and then possibly a move up through the weights with big names. It is suspected that the California based fighter will overcome Salido tonight, but it will not be as easy as his Golden Boy stable predicts. If Lomachenko manages to stop the tough Mexican early it will be an extremely impressive outcome and the World will be at his feet, however whether he wins by KO or points he will still be the first man ever to win a World title by his 2nd professional outing.
Pundit Arena, James McDowell.
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