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LOMACHENKO vs RUSSELL JR, VACANT WBO FEATHER BELT

 

 

Lomachenko, Russell take different paths

DAMIAN CALHOUN / STAFF WRITERocregister.com

Vasyl Lomachenko and Gary Russell Jr. will meet Saturday night for the vacant WBO featherweight title at StubHub Center.

Their roads to the championship bout have been vastly different.

Lomachenko, a two-time Ukranian gold medalist, after an extensive amateur career decided to make a jump to professional boxing. His second pro fight, March 1, was for the featherweight title, but he lost to Orlando Salido.

Russell, from Washington D.C., also had a stellar amateur run. He made the 2008 U.S. Olympic team but didn’t compete. He has been a professional since 2009. His progression has been methodical in the eyes of boxing insiders and fans, but Saturday night, he finally gets his chance for a title.

“Every fight that we fight has been a learning experience,” Russell, 26, said Wednesday. “You can look at my fights when I was 8-0 and 10-0 and when you look at my fights now, you will see plenty of maturity as a fighter and as a person. I’ve been pleased.”

The last fight for Russell (24-0, 14 KOs) was a four-round knockout victory over Miguel Tamayo in January. Although he has a brief professional career, Lomachenko (1-1) has faced the toughest opponent, having lasted 12 rounds with the rugged Salido.

To both, this is a moment to prove something to everyone.

“Of course I learned how to adjust to professional boxing, because I’ve never been in the ring so much,” Lomachenko said. “But I think just fighting the 12 rounds with Orlando Salido I got more experience, more than if I would be fighting just regular level guys for two years.”

The WBO featherweight title was vacated when Salido failed to make the 126-pound limit in his fight against Lomachenko.

Eventually, Golden Boy Promotions won the purse bid against Top Rank to promote the fight. Lomachenko will earn $631,350 and Russell will make $420,900 because of WBO rules, Lomachenko being from the Ukraine but fighting in Russell’s home country.

“At the end of the day, the objective is to get out of the ring with the W,” Russell said. “That’s all we’ve been focused on. My focus is on him and looking good doing it.

“Sometimes I want to jump out there and do things a little sooner than my team wants, but it all goes back to understanding the purpose of everything that we’re doing, and I feel like we’re right on track.”

There has been some backlash toward Lomachenko for his rapid ascent to title contender. One of the main reasons he signed with Top Rank was the agreement that he would placed on the fast track in the pursuit of a title.

“I want to expose this guy, and hopefully he will understand the importance of taking your time as a professional,” Russell said. “I feel like this is my time. He happens to be the person in front of me. This is just another guy in the way that’s trying to stop me from accomplishing what I want to accomplish.”

Russell-Lomachenko will be followed by the main event featuring Robert Guerrero (31-2-1, 18KOs) against Yoshihiro Kamegai (24-1-1, 21KOs).

Sourcewww.ocregister.com/articles/fight-622609-russell-lomachenko.html

 

 

 

 

 

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