What is next for Lomachenko and Gary Russell jr?
By Paul Richardson: As predicted two-time Olympic gold medalist Vasyl Lomachenko (2-1, 1KO) dominated heavily hyped American Gary Russell jr. (24-1, 14KO’s) at the stub-hub centre in Carson, California last Saturday night. Lomachenko becomes only the second fighter in history to win a world title in his third pro fighter after Thailand’s Saensak Muangsurin in 1975.
The official scorecards of 114-114, 116-112, and 116-112 were puzzling to say the least as the skilled amateur veteran outclassed his opponent for almost the whole twelve rounds. Gary Russell’s flashy fast hands seemed to befuddle Lomachenko for perhaps the first half of the first round, but from then on was pretty much all Lomachenko. I think you really would have the be biased in favor of the 26 year old Maryland native to even give him three rounds.
This was backed up by the stat that was read to him during the post-fight interview that he only managed to land ten per cent of his punches which made Gary Russell Jr visibly embarrassed. And he was right to be humiliated because this was uncomfortable to watch. He had absolutely no answer to Lomachenko’s timing footwork and lateral movement.
Possibly the only downer for Lomachenko was that he was unable to get someone of Gary Russell Jr’s level out of there. He had him hurt badly several times but the 26 year old who hails from the town of Bilhorod-Dhistrovsky in Ukraine seemed unable to find a finish.
So what is next for Lomachenko? A mouth-watering super fight with fellow amateur great Guillermo Rigondeaux has been whispered about a possibility down the road. This would be a dream fight for any fan of the sweet science as these are two of the most skilled (perhaps the two most skilled) fighters on the planet today. There is also a possibility of a fight with four division titlist and current WBA featherweight champion Nonito Donaire. I personally think Lomachenko needs a few softer fights first to adjust better to the pro game.
And what is next for Gary Russell Jr? Well hopefully he will start facing decent fighters on a regular basis now. The worst thing for him and everyone else is if he goes back to fighting no-hopers and then eventually gets gifted a title shot again, because he will not improve and the result will be the same. He has some good attributes to work with, but currently I see him as just a poor man’s Amir Khan – lots of flash and hand speed, but without the movement and boxing skills that have made Khan competitive at the top level.