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27 MAY 2018

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Lomachenko Virtuoso Against Walters

Lomachenko forces Walters to say
Lomachenko forces Walters to say

By Derek Bonnett


Bob Arum’s two thousandth boxing promotion which pitted Vasyl Lomachenko against Nicholas Walters in the Ukrainian champion’s first defense of the WBO super featherweight title was seen by many, including myself, as the second best match-up of 2016, right on the heels of Kovalev-Ward. Kovalev-Ward delivered twelve rounds replete with fierce world class action, a knockdown, some wrestling, a comeback, and a whole lot of controversy, which ended up marring a pretty damn good fight. Lomachenko-Walters was none of the above, but it at least made one matter clear. Vasyl Lomachenko is a virtuoso talent of the same caliber as the great Willie Pep and some pop somewhere a shade south of Sandy Saddler.


From the opening bell at the Cosmopolitan in Las Vegas, Nevada, the defending champion used footwork to establish rhythm and create angles which instantly frustrated the inactive Walters. Walters, inactive prior to the bout, carried that same inactivity into the ring with him and was simply unable to throw punches with any success. Lomachenko worked a jab with authority and immediately began a two fisted attack by the second round. Observing Walters, 30, land a solitary body shot or attempt an uppercut kept the imagination stimulated for only so long as the champion drew a tremendous gap between he and his fellow Pound for Pound rival, who dispatched capable fighters such as Vic Darchinyan and Nonito Donaire. Lomachenko, 28, even brought a little of the dirt he learned from Orlando Salido in his second bout into the ring and did more of the physical stuff that was expected from the seemingly more powerful Walters.


As each three minute frame ticked by, Walters’ sense of desperation grew while Lomachenko’s confidence soared. The Ukrainian champ was really having fun in there while he effectively dismantled a premium talent with straight punches and exemplary footwork through rounds, three, four, five, and six. It was really no surprise to see Walters, a Jamaican who trains out of Panama, surrender on his stool in a "no mas" fashion. Walters was undone by his elite foe and he could not solve the riddle, so rather than face even greater humiliation, he ended the night and moved on to the next dance.


Lomachenko raised his record to 7-1-0 (5). Walters fell to 26-1-1 (21) at the 3:00 mark of round seven. The sky is truly the limit for Lomachenko, who must be favored over any man from 126 to 135 after this terrific performance.


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