Former pound-for-pound king Vasiliy Lomachenko steps again into the ring Saturday night time at Madison Sq. Backyard to face Richard Commey (9 p.m. ET on ESPN/ESPN+). Will probably be Lomachenko’s second struggle since a surprising loss to Teofimo Lopez that stripped Lomachenko of his three light-weight titles.
In his first struggle after dropping to Lopez, Lomachenko grew to become the primary man to cease Masayoshi Nakatani, making a press release towards a former Lopez opponent who took Lopez the gap. This struggle towards Commey was imagined to carry Lomachenko again to Lopez, however George Kambosos Jr.’s upset two weeks in the past despatched the light-weight division spinning.
Two different light-weight standouts, Devin Haney and Gervonta Davis, secured victories of their very own this previous weekend, however neither was overly spectacular. Now it is Lomachenko’s flip, and the 33-year-old star has just one dream in thoughts: Turn out to be undisputed at 135 kilos.
Lomachenko sat down with Mark Kriegel on Thursday to debate his future, his mindset and why some have even given him a brand new nickname — “Voldemort.”
Editor’s be aware: Responses have been edited for readability and brevity.
Kriegel: Vasiliy, you are No. 1 within the WBC and the WBO. That is the second ranked massive man you are dealing with since a defeat. What do you wish to occur right here?
Lomachenko: It is the subsequent step to my purpose now. I’ve a dream, be undisputed world champion. I failed to meet my dream.
Failed. I failed the primary time, however now I’ve yet another likelihood. And I am going to mattress with my dream, I get up with my dream, I stay with my purpose. So this struggle is the subsequent step to my purpose.
Undisputed light-weight champion?
Does it harm you? Does it hassle you? Does it push you?
It pushes me. , throughout a life — throughout a sports activities life, it is advisable have a purpose. As a result of if you do not have a purpose, you’ll be able to’t get up, you’ll be able to’t practice thrice a day. You possibly can’t, as a result of you do not have a purpose, since you do not perceive why it is advisable do, why it is advisable go within the health club. However if in case you have a purpose, it is pushes you.
Would you like this extra now than you probably did earlier than you misplaced?
Sure. Completely. In my head it is the identical state of affairs once I was an beginner in 2007. Then I misplaced my first bout to Albert Selimov within the World Championship. It was in Chicago. I lose that struggle, however then I come again. I stay with this second, as a result of I had by no means misplaced earlier than and it was an enormous, massive shock for me. I at all times keep in mind that second, and that second pushed me to proceed. It is the identical state of affairs now. And now I’ve yet another likelihood.
Inform me about Richard Commey. What makes him harmful?
He is a tricky man. He has energy. He has expertise. He has a attain. He’s taller than me, and he understands boxing.
What are his weaknesses?
I do know his weaknesses, however I can not inform you now.
What is the distinction between him and one other very tall light-weight you simply fought in Nakatani?
He understands boxing extra. He is extra technical if you happen to examine him with Nakatani. He has extra energy than Nakatani.
Do you must make a press release right here? Do you must knock him out?
No, I do not take into consideration this. I by no means fascinated with knockout or how I want to complete my struggle. I simply wish to present my greatest type, my greatest talent. And all technique, what my father give me on that struggle. I need present it for him, for my father.
What was it like getting back from that loss to Teofimo?
A pair days after I take into consideration what occurred with my future boxing profession, and one factor go in my head, “Hey man, life shouldn’t be canceled. Life shouldn’t be finished. Life shouldn’t be over, life goes on.” So I feel my life shouldn’t be over, my purpose in life is not to be undisputed champion. It is a purpose within the sport. Nevertheless it’s not necessary purpose in my life. That was not necessary.
What’s crucial purpose in your life?
Be a real man and provides a life to a different. I am speaking about my children. I give a life my children, and now I’m a father. Now I must be accountable for my children. I want to offer a sensible life for my children. That is my purpose in life now.
What did you inform your son if you misplaced?
It is sports activities. It occurs. And it is a lesson of life. Possibly, I do not know, perhaps I used to be not prepared for this. However, you recognize, then I lose. It modified lots of pondering in my head.
For instance, a request from a relative, one thing that I might not pay a lot consideration to, however one thing which may be necessary — for that particular person — I used to not give sufficient consideration to that, and now I alter my angle.
I misplaced my time for myself. It is not proper. I’ve children, and I want to offer him extra time in our life.
This was imagined to be the yr that the younger guys took over the light-weight division, took over boxing. What occurred?
It is boxing. No one is aware of what occurred. We have now an excellent boxers within the division. I feel it is essentially the most fascinating weight class on the planet.
Who’s one of the best light-weight?
We do not know, as a result of we did not struggle one another.
All people talks on social media. However nobody calls you out. Why?
I do not know. I learn some touch upon my publish yesterday and one man writes, “No one name Loma as a result of Loma now, like Voldemort from film Harry Potter.” All people is fearful of this man, scared to say his identify.
Do you suppose that they are scared to say your identify?
Now I haven’t got a title, and that is an enormous threat for them. They’re faux on the greatness, however they’re afraid to struggle me. I attempt for greatness, however they’re reluctant to struggle me.
Who would you prefer to struggle? Are you chasing particular opponents or belts?
For me, it is belts.
Give me your ideas on what you noticed with Teofimo and Kambosos.
Earlier than the struggle, I give some likelihood for Kambosos, however I by no means fascinated with some knockdown or knockout from Kambosos. I give some likelihood. However I believed Lopez would win.
Kambosos does an excellent job, a really sensible job. And now he is one of the best in our division as a result of he has the belts.
What about Devin Haney and ‘JoJo’ Diaz? What did you see?
It was a detailed struggle, however once more, if we’re speaking about clear punches from Diaz, it was extra greater clear punches than Haney. However after all Haney was extra aggressive. He managed struggle. It was a very good struggle, however once more, attain, measurement, it is completely different. Diaz simply got here from 130.
However what did you see with Tank Davis and Isaac Cruz?
I favored that struggle. Lots of people anticipate Davis to have the ability to struggle high boxers, and perhaps lots of people suppose that he is prepared to take action. However on account of this struggle, we noticed lots of points. I do not know what spherical he has an issue along with his hand, however it’s not solely your boxing talent. How about your protection? You are taking lots of punches. Even if in case you have an issue along with your hand, you’ll be able to defend.
Now I perceive why his promoter Floyd Mayweather do not wanna set up a struggle with the opposite high fighters.
So in your thoughts, is Tank Davis a terrific fighter?
No, after all not. He isn’t nice. How can he be nice if he not struggle the highest fighters from our weight class?
what? He shocked me. He shocked me once I noticed his struggle with Luke Campbell. He goes down and after he can come again. I used to be shocked. My respect goes to him. He is a high stage.
Garcia, Davis, Haney, Kambosos — do you suppose any of these guys are going to struggle you?
After what I stated now, perhaps sure. You generally is a nice. You possibly can’t be on that high stage if you happen to not struggle with me, as a result of I wasn’t a world champion. I used to be a three-weight division world champion. That is why if you happen to wanna be on the highest stage, it is advisable take a struggle with me.
So what do you do now?
I’ve a struggle on Saturday. After Saturday we focus on who’s subsequent.
What would it not take so that you can struggle Shakur Stevenson?
For those who’re not a part of my plans, I can not struggle with you. However how can I am going 130? For what? I have to go down for 130 only for a struggle with Shakur Stevenson?
What if he had two belts?
No. Now I’ve a purpose, 135 light-weight world championship. That is it. I keep at 135 and my purpose will likely be a champion in these weight courses. That is my purpose. That is my plan.
But when he has 4 belts in 130, after all I am going down.
What about simply two?
No, I do not want two. I had three.