The War Report: Affirmation (Week 14, 2017)
“I model my style after my father. This is Lomachenko Senior’s style.”
Vasyl “Hi-Tech” Lomachenko had just rendered the design instilled by his father/trainer Anatoly, once giving this quote and, with ease, that method forced a corner stoppage of Jason Sosa after nine full rounds on Saturday night in an HBO main event.
With “The Matrix”-themed attire, Lomachenko, 8-1 (6), scrambled the circuits of Sosa’s fighting cerebrum and, by the fourth round, the New Jersey native had run out of ideas to ward off the siege. By the fourth round, the 35-1 odds in his favor seemed generous against a solid contender at 130 pounds and, as if boxing fans needed another reminder, Lomachenko proved his skills are on a different wavelength.
There was never a moment when Lomachenko wasn’t in motion throughout the 18 minutes of action. Whether it was with fidgety feints, the choreography of his footwork or his fluid combinations, Lomachenko even seemed to be in a haste, at times, to the unsuspecting viewer, but there was no doubt that each act was carefully calculated. Sosa, 20-2-4 (15), couldn’t hide his frustration, as he was always one step behind, and, after Lomachenko ripped three shots to his body in the eighth, his will started to break. The fight could’ve been stopped late in the round but, after showing the heart to survive, Sosa’s corner gave him three more minutes to show something. Lomachenko seemed to show mercy with Sosa helpless against the ropes in that fateful ninth, and the corner rightfully stopped it afterward.
Lomachenko’s greatness had already been bloviated by the HBO contingent, before and during the fight, but the dominant victory allowed them to continue in a more unabashed fashion. Defending the WBO junior lightweight title a second time, Lomachenko gave a compelling argument for being the best 130-pounder in the sport after moving up from featherweight less than a year ago. Roman Martinez was brutally knocked out and Nicholas Walters flat out quit against Lomachenko but an expected win over Sosa isn’t something that propels a fighter to be called the best in the sport.
In other words, the affirmation of Lomachenko’s greatness shouldn’t come off a fight in which he was so highly favored to win but there is hope for that night to come as the 29-year-old has ambitions of moving up to lightweight – wherein lies an opponent who could prove how good Lomachenko really is.
“I’m going to go back home. I’m going to get some rest and then, after that, we’re going to start negotiations with all the champions at 130,” said Lomachenko on his plans going forward. “If we can’t get anybody, we can move to 135 and we can do damage out there.” WBC lightweight titleholder Mikey Garcia was mentioned by HBO’s Max Kellerman, soon after that statement, and Lomachenko responded, “I want to see that fight too. I want to make that fight right away.”
What wasn’t really brought to light on Saturday evening was the tremendous job Anatoly Lomachenko has done with his son. A trainer sought after by many but focused on his heir apparent, decisions like taking Vasyl out of boxing at the age of 12 and signing him up for a Ukrainian dance class are the small details Anatoly has put into this Lomachenko complex – not to mention raising a man with an astute work ethic. He’s the Jose Feliciano to Vasyl’s George Benson, if you will – whose affirmation couldn’t have been achieved without the originator.