LOMACHENKO vs FLANAGAN: The biggest fights on Saturday’s deep docket take place in Cardiff, Wales, and Las Vegas, Nevada. In Cardiff, undefeated Terry Flanagan risks his WBO 135-pound title against Puerto Rico’s Orlando Cruz. In Las Vegas, Vasyl Lomachencko (pictured) risks his WBO 130-pound belt against Nicholas Walters.
Manchester’s Flanagan (31-0, 12 KOs) is an overwhelming favorite over Cruz (25-4-1, 13 KOs). Lomachenko (6-1, 4 KOs) is a solid favorite over Walters, notwithstanding the fact that Walters, a Jamaican, is undefeated (26-0-1) and has far more experience at the professional level.
Assuming both win their respective bouts, might they face each other in the near future? In an interview with London Telegraph boxing correspondent Gareth A. Davies, Bob Arum said “Frank Warren (Flanagan’s promoter)….wants Lomachenko to do his next fight in England on the same bill as the Terry Flanagan fight, setting up a spring fight between Lomachenko and Flanagan at 135lbs, which would be tremendous.”
Arum didn’t say that he and Frank Warren were on the same page and a Top Rank insider told this reporter that Lomachenko, win or lose, would almost certainly go in a different direction. However, a match between “Hi Tech” Lomachenko and “Turbo” Flanagan would certainly be a huge attraction.
A two-time Olympic gold medalist from Ukraine, Vasyl Lomachenko ranks among the greatest amateur boxers of all time. He was fast-tracked into the high rent district of professional boxing, fighting for a world title in only his second pro fight. He came up short, losing a split decision to Orlando Salido in San Antonio where Mexican fighters have a home-field advantage, but has won five straight since that encounter, most recently a vicious fifth round stoppage of Roman Martinez. That was a virtuoso performance by the 28-year-old Ukrainian, reminiscent in some ways of Julio Cesar Chavez’s dismantling of Edwin Rosario in 1987, and served notice that he has matured since his rumpus against the rugged Salido, a master at bending the Queensberry rules. But Terry Flanagan’s recent efforts suggest that he too is getting better and better.
A 27-year-old southpaw, Flanagan’s signature performance was a second round blowout of Diego Magdaleno on his home turf in Manchester in October of last year. He had Magdaleno – the older brother of WBO 122-pound champion Jessie Magdaleno – on the canvas three times in the second round before the referee stopped the carnage. In subsequent bouts, Flanagan outpointed countryman Derry Mathews and turned away South African journeyman Mzonke Fana, winning all 12 rounds on all three scorecards.
Although Frank Warren is almost 30 years younger, he and Bob Arum have a lot in common. Considered the grand old men of boxing in their respective countries, both have been inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame. They have had frequent business dealings. In fact, the Lomachenko-Walters fight will air live in Great Britain and Ireland on Frank Warren’s BoxNation subscription network. Last night (Friday, Nov. 24), BoxNation ran a half-hour special on Bob Arum.
Arum has also dropped hints about putting Lomachenko in with Manny Pacquaio. This pairing would attract considerably more buzz than Lomachenko-Flanagan, but would seem to be a more difficult match to make. Pacquiao, who weighed 144 ¾ pounds in his last start, has competed as a welterweight since 2012. Lomachenko weighed in at 130 pounds for tonight’s tussle with Nicholas Walters and his frame suggests that he can’t carry much more weight without losing his edge.
Assuming that they both win on Nov. 26, we will be reading a lot more about Vasyl Lomachenko and Terry Flanagan in the days and weeks ahead.
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