After two-time AIBA World Champion and undisputed pound-for-pound king Vasyl Lomachenko made his long-awaited World Series of Boxing (WSB) debut against England’s Sam Maxwell of the British Lionhearts in week five, fans worldwide are now eagerly waiting to see the electric southpaw gracing the canvas in this competition once again.
The 24-year-old became a fully fledged boxing superstar after adding the London 2012 Olympic Lightweight (60kg) gold medal to the Featherweight (57kg) one he claimed in such style at the 2008 Beijing Games. The two-time AIBA World Champion, after he triumphed both in Milan in 2009 and in Baku in 2011, announced his arrival in WSB with one of the finest displays of the season so far. Confirming his status as one of the world’s most feared boxers with a sumptuous display against Maxwell, all the talk is now of when Vasyl Lomachenko will be next in action.
We were keen to get to know more about the preparations the fearsome Ukrainian is undergoing before his next fight, so put a few questions to him during one of his training sessions.
Tell us about your WSB debut
After my teammate Dmytro Rudenko got injured in training, as the reserve boxer I had to step in to face his opponent. Psychologically I was ready for anyone as I have been training extra hard in order to make a smooth transition to the pro style of boxing. I had a lot of respect for Sam Maxwell prior to the bout and even more afterwards. He fought well and was gracious in defeat. As far as I am concerned, it was a good introduction and I am pleased with the manner of the victory. It took me about two rounds to really get into a rhythm against an intelligent opponent but with the crowd roaring my name, I really wanted to give the fans something to cheer about, so I went looking for the KO. Although I did not get it, I think I put on a good spectacle to show people worldwide what I can do.
What do you think about the WSB and its concept?
The concept for me is what makes the competition. The team format is fantastic, I get to train with all my friends and represent my country once again. There is no better feeling than that. I have only fought once in the competition so it is still all very new to me but I have heard great things from those who have competed in it for several seasons. I am looking forward to being able to showcase my skills more often in the latter part of the season and I know that as I adapt, I will get better.
What do you think about the team format?
As I said, the team format is what makes this competition so attractive. We have a lot of great boxers in the Ukraine Otamans team so for fans in our country it is a unique opportunity to see the very best in the business take to the ring during one night of action. I know this league has great potential and will continue to grow. It will attract a lot more fans in the future.
How do you feel fighting in pro style?
I really enjoyed it. It was a new experience and I think I did quite well considering it was my first time out without a vest or headguard. Once you get a taste for the pro style, I do not think you want to go back. It has opened up my eyes to future opportunities and how my career could develop. I was delighted to make my pro debut in WSB.
What are the objectives for Ukraine Otamans?
Our objective is to get in to play-offs, after that we will see. There are so many good teams in the competition that it will be very hard for the newcomers to go all the way. I think that we have an excellent group and the strongest members of our team will help us achieve second spot in the group. We will only get better that is for sure.
After having achieved so much, how do you see the rest of your career?
My future plans are still undecided. I am young and I like to be able to keep my options. I know I want to go all the way to the top but I cannot predict what will happen so I am not keen to talk too much about it. Having achieved so much already, there is that pressure for me to succeed, but with my loved ones around me, I could not be in a better place to achieve my dreams.
Are you considering APB (AIBA Professional Boxing) as a next step?
As I have already said, I am as of yet undecided. I am enjoying WSB and my focus is on finishing the season on a high. The rest we will see but I cannot say anything for sure. APB is very attractive with the competition guaranteeing that the best boxers will have to face each other, but today as to my plans, I cannot give you more information.
If is going to compete at the AIBA World Championships in Almaty later this year?
I am a double World Champion now so I am leaving it to the next generation. I am grateful for the opportunities I have had but my focus is now on the pro ranks. My father is my inspiration and he is readying me to fight without the headguard so I will not be competing in Almaty.
Keep an eye on the WSB website for further updates and when the Ukrianian powerhouse will once again fight in this mouth-watering competition.
Relive Lomachenko’s sensational first WSB outing versus Sam Maxwell