Born on February 17, 1988 in Ukraine, Vasyl Lomachenko is an incredibly technically-sound southpaw who ranks among the most accomplished amateur boxers in history. He started training early in his life since his father was a boxing trainer. In the 2007 World Championships, he made it to the finals, but came away with the silver medal after losing to Albert Selimov. He would go on to beat Selimov twice to avenge the loss, which ended up being the only loss of his entire amateur career.
Lomachenko put on a show at the 2008 Olympics, dominating every bout to win gold and get the Val Barker Trophy for the most outstanding boxer in the tournament. He took gold at the next two World Championships in 2009 and 2011, and then brought home another gold medal at the 2012 Olympics. When he finished his amateur career, he had a stunning record of 396 victories and only that one loss.
After the 2012 Olympics, Vasyl Lomachenko decided to take the next step in his career. From January to May of 2013, he competed in the World Series of Boxing, which is technically still considered amateur competition, although it has rules similar to professional boxing. He won all six fights in that organization, and then had his official pro debut on October 12, 2013 against Jose Ramirez. While most fighters take on journeymen to start their careers, that wasn’t the case for Lomachenko, whose amateur credentials resulted in fights against tough opponents from the beginning. He took out the 25-3 Ramirez in a beautiful performance, winning by TKO in the fourth round and getting the WBO International featherweight title in the process.
His next fight was fraught with controversy. He was aiming to make history by winning a world title, in this case the WBO featherweight title, in just his second fight. The record was held by Saensak Muangsurin, who did so in his third pro fight. His opponent, Orlando Salido, didn’t make weight and had an 11-pound weight advantage on fight night. Throughout the fight, the referee did little as Salido connected on numerous low blows. Despite a late surge by Lomachenko, he wasn’t aggressive enough through most of the bout and lost a majority decision.
He tied Muangsurin’s record in his next fight, when he beat the 24-0 Gary Russell Jr on June 21, 2014 to win the WBO featherweight title. It was a difficult fight against a skilled opponent, but he managed to pull out a majority decision. In his next fight, he defeated Chonlatarn Piriyapinyo by unanimous decision after 12 rounds.
Vasyl Lomachenko defended his belt two more times, winning by knockout each time. On June 11, 2016, he jumped up to junior lightweight to take on Roman Martinez for the WBO title. His skills were far too much for Martinez to handle, as he dominated from the beginning, eventually picking up the win by KO in the fifth round. In his first title defense, Lomachenko had another spectacular performance as he beat down Nicholas Walters, who quit on his stool after the seventh round.