Vasyl Lomachenko dismantled the most decorated amateur boxer – aside from himself – and then made Guillermo Rigondeaux quit. And he barely broke sweat in the process. Lomachenko has an extremely high ceiling and with a fourth straight retirement of his opponent to retain the WBO super-featherweight title, he has a new nickname, too – No Mas Chenko. ‘No mas’ means no more in Spanish.
The Cuban claimed a fractured hand sustained in the second round forced him to quit at the end of the sixth but in reality it was a broken ego. The 37-year-old had the life sucked out of him and his legacy has likely lost legs as well. Rigondeaux has long lamented the lack of respect and big fight opportunities he receives but when the occasion finally came around, his most effective offensive output was fouling.
Lomachenko’s elite skills, elevated ring IQ and signature footwork have cemented his place among the top-three pound-for pound and there is simply no doubting his credentials. Still, this wasn’t a victory to secure top spot, even the 29-year old recognises that.
“This is not his weight so it’s not a big win for me,” said Lomachenko, who won gold medals at the Beijing and London Olympics. “But he’s a good fighter, he’s got great skills. I adjusted to his style, low blows and all. “He’s a king in boxing, but he’s a king in his weight category. This is not his size; it’s not his weight.” There is no need for a hard sell with Lomachenko, his skills are enough to pay the bills.
Rigondeaux was utterly baffled when his usual defensive manoeuvres were foiled by the champion’s desire to continue fighting at all times. There was no rest when Rigondeaux slipped into his defensive postures as Lomachenko used his otherworldly footwork to find the gaps – the highlight a perfect pirouette as the Cuban ducked down.
The previously unbeaten challenger had no answer and in the end, he wanted no more. “He is a technical fighter. Very quick and very explosive,” Rigondeaux said of Lomachenko before adding: “I lost, but it was because of my hand. In the second round I injured the top of my hand and I could no longer continue.” When you consider Miguel Cotto fought to 12 rounds with a torn bicep last week, you can’t shake the impression Rigondeaux simply gave up.
Lomachenko landed 55 punches overall and Rigondeaux just 15 – less than three punches in any round, according to CompuBox. The gulf in class was less to do with the difference in size, the Ukrainian was just steps head, winning every round but the first. He is intimidating but not with the power of his punch but the skill of it as fighters quit in bewilderment rather than pain.
“He says I don’t have no power, I don’t have no punch – but how can I have no power if he says ‘no mas’,” Lomachenko said. What’s next for Lomachenko is far from clear. Mikey Garcia represents a tantalising technical tussle but his bitter lawsuit with the Ukrainian’s promoter Top Rank makes that bout unlikely.
“I need a rest, maybe one month, and then I’ll prepare for my next fight,” Lomachenko added. Whoever throws their name into the ring faces the prospect of having the towel thrown in after, such is the ability of Lomachenko to shut down, shut out and sit down his opponents.
Know more about Sport360 Application