Vasiliy Lomachenko targets Kambosos and titles after battering Commey | Boxing

Vasiliy Lomachenko made his pitch for a lightweight title shot with a masterclass performance that showed why for years he was regarded as boxing’s best pound-for-pound.

The two-time Olympic gold medalist and three-weight champion from Ukraine won nearly every round against Richard Commey on Saturday night at Madison Square Garden, knocking down the hard-hitting Ghanian in the seventh before reaching a unanimous decision victory by scores of 117. -110, 119-108 and 119-108. (The Guardian had it 119-108).

Lomachenko (16-2, 11 KOs), a former featherweight, junior lightweight, and lightweight champion, ran to an early lead when the gulf in hand speed, footwork, and overall skill among fighters it was evident from the start of the second round. after a feeling, first.

Commey (30-4, 27 KOs), who held the IBF version of the lightweight title in 2019, attempted to use the jab to keep his opponent’s blinding attacks at bay, but a stinging combination sent him back against the strings. end of the second that ignited the crowd of 8,555, mostly Lomachenko supporters, who packed the bottom bowl of the Garden’s great room.

The Ukrainian southpaw, whose ability to control distance and create angles with a set of ballet feet evokes the bullet-time origins of his initial nickname (‘The Matrix’, as it was usurped by the equally evocative ‘Hi-Tech’) , continued to warm up in the third and fourth, landing crisp combinations to the head and body. The left, in particular, found a home with alarming frequency, as the blows took their toll and Commey’s work rate began to decline.

The audience vibrated with anticipation in the sixth as Lomachenko caught Commey in a neutral corner and walked away, looking to close out the show with a knockout. But the injured Ghanian bravely defended himself, taking the fight to the center of the ring and landing body shots until the bell rang.

Vasiliy Lomachenko, left, punches Richard Commey during Saturday’s fight. Photograph: Sarah Stier / Getty Images

Then came the seventh, when Lomachenko badly mistreated his opponent with headshots and body shots fired from all angles, pouring out punishment until he finally threw his enemy to the mat with a hard-hitting left hook. After Commey beat the account and the referee allowed him to continue, Lomachenko twice urged his opponent’s corner to stop the fight from the center of the ring before the end of the round.

“I saw their situation,” Lomachenko said. “It was very hard for him. That’s why I said, ‘Hey, stop the fight.’ He is a true warrior. He has a big heart and we go on and show people 12 great rounds. “

With the long-running Commey fighting out of sheer determination and not much else, the only question about the final frames was whether Lomachenko could finish things within distance. The Ghanaian bravely reached the final bell, but only after getting through the 12th round in full-fledged survival mode, securing himself and finishing and generally holding on to his life.

Compubox’s strike statistics gave quantitative context to Lomachenko’s dominance: He landed 248 of 554 total strikes (45%), including 188 of 323 power strikes (58%). Commey landed just 73 of 614 hits (12%), absorbing more shots during the gruesome seventh (36) than in any other round of his career.

The 33-year-old Lomachenko, who turned professional after an extraordinary amateur career in which he won 396 of 397 fights and Olympic golds at the Beijing and London Games in different weight classes, seeks to make his way back to the image of the talent-rich 135-pound weight class championship after losing his IBF, WBA and WBO titles to Teofimo Lopez last year by an incontrovertible decision in Las Vegas. Lopez’s reign proved short-lived, as the 24-year-old Brooklyn native lost the belts on his first defense in a big upset to Australian George Kambosos Jr last month.

After Saturday’s fight, Lomachenko said he would happily travel to Australia if it meant a shot at Kambosos and a chance to resume the pursuit of his long-standing goal: to unify the top four lightweight titles. “I will go anywhere I need to go to fight him,” he said. “I need this opportunity. And if God gives me this opportunity, I will take it. “

If not Kambosos, there will be no shortage of opportunities for Lomachenko in a packed lightweight division that has been among the hottest in the sport of recent times, including potential fights with WBC champion Devin Haney, the three-weight champion. Gervonta Davis or social media sensation Ryan García.

“I said before that I don’t like to talk about myself,” Lomachenko said. “We have in this weight division, we have a lot of great fighters. We have a lot of the best fighters. So we can put on a lot of great fights in the future. “

Oleksandr Usyk, Bob Arum and Tyson Fury
Oleksandr Usyk, Bob Arum and Tyson Fury pose in the ring before Saturday’s main event at Madison Square Garden. Photograph: Mikey Williams / Top Rank Inc / Top Rank / Getty Images

The co-main event turned out much shorter as American heavyweight contender Jared Anderson scored a second round TKO over Oleksandr Teslenko, improving to 11-0 with 11 knockouts.

Anderson, who answered the bell with a left-handed stance before reverting to orthodox, dropped the Ukrainian with a vicious combination up in the middle of the second. Teslenko beat the count, but his legs were shaky and he was stopped by the referee at the 1:33 mark.

Soon after, WBC heavyweight champion Tyson Fury made a surprise appearance to celebrate the birthday of promoter Bob Arum, who turned 90 on Wednesday. After exiting the tunnel to the roars of the crowd, Fury climbed the ropes and sang three songs from the ring: Happy Birthday, then He’s a Good Mate followed by an out of tune rendition of Don McLean’s American Pie.

Afterward, Fury descended to greet Arum before crossing into the ring with Oleksandr Usyk, the Ukrainian heavyweight who holds the other three major title belts in the division and was present to support his compatriot in the main event. The brief encounter seemed friendly and, hopefully, bodes well for a four-belt unification fight between the pair to determine an undisputed heavyweight champion for the first time in more than two decades.

Leave a Comment