Later tonight #1 WBO featherweight contender Gary Russell Jr (24-0, 14 KO’s) will be looking to become the second guy to expose two-time Olympic gold medalist Vasyl Lomachenko (1-1, 1 KO’s) as not being ready for the pro game when they go at it for the vacant WBO 126-pound strap at the StubHub Center in Carson, California. A win over Lomachenko will send the Ukrainian fighters’ career skittering downward to where he may never come out of it.
What we saw in Lomachenko’s reent loss to Orlando Salido was that he can’t handle getting hit with body shots, and that he likes to clinch a great deal to get the heat off of him. He doesn’t throw a lot of punches, and seems to load up with the few shots that he does throw each round. The more he fought against Salido the more it seemed clear that Lomachenko didn’t have the stamina to throw a lot of shots. He’s still basically a 3-4 round amateurism fighter trying to feel his way through the pros and he’s not ready at all.
Russell Jr has looked very impressive in his last four fights in beating the trunks off of Miguel Tamayo, Juan Ruiz, Vyacheslav Gusev and Roberto Castaneda. While Lomachenko is clearly better than all of those guys, we still don’t know by how much. He’s a good fighter, to be sure, but he’s hardly great based on his poor performance he showed against Salido. What’s kind of alarming is that Lomachenko has been given another world title shot off of a loss. The WBO feels that he deserves another shot because Salido came in overweight for their fight and that gave him an advantage in the fight. However, the way that Lomachenko looked, Salido would have beaten him even if he had made weight. It would have been just as easy for him do to so.