Previewing Vasyl Lomachenko's fight with Jason Sosa
April 7, 2017
MARYLAND – Tomorrow night just outside of Washington D.C. at the MGM National Harbor in Oxon Hill, Maryland WBO 130-pound champion Vasyl Lomachenko (7-1, 5 KOs) will face New Jersey’s Jason Sosa (20-1-4, 15 KOs). The Ukranian two-time Olympic Gold Medalist enters the fight at what could be the height of his hype as a 25 to 1 favorite. With just eight professional fights under his belt, Lomachenko has exhibited the kind of technique and skill that has put him among the top 5 in the world pound-for-pound.
While Lomachenko was groomed to be a world champion as soon as he entered the professional ranks, Sosa had to take a blue-collar approach to his career. Most fans were unfamiliar with Sosa until December 2015 where he faced Jamaica’s Nicholas Walters (26-1-1, 21 KOs) and got a majority draw. Many felt that Walters should have gotten the decision, but Sosa put in enough work in the second half of the fight to make it close.
The Puerto Rican from New Jersey followed up the fight with Walters by staying busy with a willingness to fight outside of the United States. In the summer of 2016, Sosa traveled to China and stopped Javier Fortuna (31-1-1, 22 KOs) in the 12th round to win the WBA ‘regular’ 130-pound championship. Afterward, Sosa returned to the ring in Monte Carlo and won a unanimous decision over Stephen Smith (24-3, 14 KOs). If these fights showed anything about Sosa, it’s his heart and willingness to put in a constant effort no matter the outcome.
The Lomachenko hype train is at full speed currently after his dominating win over Nicholas Walters last December. After dominating Walters for seven straight rounds, the Jamaican puncher decided he had enough of Lomachenko and put the fight to a stop. For many fans, Lomachenko’s performance against Walters is just one of many virtuoso performances he has had in his short career.
The only blemish on Lomachenko’s record came in his second professional fight in March 2014 against Mexico’s Orlando Salido (43-13-4, 30 KOs). Salido had a massive weight advantage in the fight that allowed him to bully Lomachenko in the early rounds with a fair share of low blows. Regardless of Salido’s record, he has faced many great fighters, and the gap in experience was apparent in the fight.
During the second of the fight, Lomachenko closed the gap and looked to be on his way to stopping Salido in the 12th round. Salido ended up getting a split decision victory. The loss may have done more to help Lomachenko than damage him. If the two men were to meet again in 2017, Lomachenko would be the prohibitive favorite to win.
Should Lomachenko come out victorious as expected tomorrow night there are options for him at 130 and 135 pounds. A victory for Sosa would shake up the boxing world. It would be similar to Srisket Sor Rungvisai's (43-4-1, 39 KOs) controversial win over Roman Gonzalez (46-1, 38 KOs) last month. At this point in Lomachenko’s career, the way he wins is just as important as winning. Tomorrow night fans hope for a performance from both fighters that elevate both men.
On the undercard, Oleksandr Usyk (11-0, 10 KOs) will defend his WBO cruiserweight title against Michael Hunter (12-0, 8 KOs). Much like Lomachenko, there is pressure on Usyk to put on a good performance as his last performance against Thabiso Mchunu (17-3, 11 KOs) in December left some disappointed.
The opening bout of the telecast will feature Oleksandr Gvozdyk (12-0, 10 KOs) taking on Cuba’s Yunieski Gonzalez (18-2, 14 KOs). Gonzalez is best known for his fights with Jean Pascal (31-4-1, 18 KOs) and Vyacheslav Shabranskyy (17-1, 14 KOs) in 2015. Since then Gonzalez has fought twice winning both by technical knockout
(Feature Photo: Jeff Bottari/Getty Images)