Move like a butterfly and sting like a bee? Hit like a freight train and move like a ballet dancer, more like…
Vasyl Lomachenko v Luke Campbell, Saturday 31 August, 6pm, Sky Sports Box Office. £20.95 for HD, £19.95 for SD. Booking now open
Vasyl Lomachenko is, to many, the best boxer currently fighting today. And yet, were you to mutter his name on the bus, not only would you look quite strange, you’d also have many scratching their heads as to who he even is.
It’s a shame. Partly due to his undeniable success in recent years, in which he’s snatched belts from just about anyone and everyone he chooses to face, but also because watching him go about the dance-like business of whacking people in the face with his fists is truly a sight to behold.
Luckily (or worryingly, depending on who you’re rooting for) the fearsome Ukrainian is set to face off with Britain’s Luke Campbell live on Sky Sports Box Office this weekend, with Lomachenko’s WBA (Super), WBO and The Ring Lightweight world titles all on the line, along with the vacant WBC belt at London’s O2 Arena.
It should be a cracker, with Campbell hoping to finally nab himself a world title. But if he’s to do so, he’ll have to pull off one of the biggest upsets in the history of boxing, and overcome one of the sport’s greatest ever practitioners. Here’s why Lomachenko is to be taken very seriously indeed…
He was one of the greatest amateurs ever
Coached by his father from the age of six at both boxing and, interestingly, traditional Ukrainian dance, Lomachenko racked up more fights than we’ve had hot dinners in an amateur career spanning over half a decade, entering the ring an eye-watering 400 times and winning all but three bouts.
After two Olympic gold medals and two World Championship gold medals, Lomachenko called it quits, threw himself into the professional ranks and has only got better…
It’s been a stellar, rapid rise to the top
Though he lost his second professional fight on points, Lomachenko bounced back for his third bout and claimed what would become the first of his mounting collection of championship belts.
Fast forward to his eleventh bout against revered lightweight champ Jorge Linares (himself a former conqueror of Campbell) and, with a dominant technical knockout win, Lomachenko had become the fastest man in history to become a three-weight world champion. Fast as his rise has been, it’s been done with no shortage of style.
He doesn’t move, he dances…
His aforementioned training in traditional Ukrainian dancing as a child should come as no surprise to those who have witnessed his blurringly fast, fluid footwork in person. To match, what he lacks in punching power Lomachenko more than makes up for in speed, with his tactics effectively being: throw barrage after barrage of pin-point punches until the opponent falls over, or quits halfway through the fight.
The grace with which he dispatches of his opponents is incredible, and with names like Linares, José Pedraza, Guillermo Rigondeaux and Gary Russell Jr on his hit list, his record says it all about the calibre of fighter Campbell is set to face off against on Saturday night.
Wait! There’s more!
On the undercard is another name that never fails to raise an eyebrow in the boxing world, with Hughie Fury (cousin of Tyson) taking on his biggest test yet as he faces former heavyweight champion Alexander Povetkin.
Povetkin, still nursing his jaw from the quite brutal clout it took from Anthony Joshua in September last year, may not be the fighter he once was, but still poses a serious challenge to a comparatively inexperienced Fury. A win for the Brit, however, would go some way to booking himself a second world title shot in 2020.
How to order
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HD: HD TV set, V HD Box, TiVo box or Virgin TV V6 connected with HDMI cables required for HD channels. Number of inclusive HD channels depends on package.
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This is a live event only and cannot be recorded. Price includes scheduled repeats.
Repeats 9am and 4pm Sunday 1 September.