Senior Boxing Journalist @JamesDielhenn
Usyk fights Chisora in high-stakes heavyweight battle on October 31, live on Sky Sports Box Office
Last Updated: 18/10/20 7:47am
Vasiliy Lomachenko fell to a unanimous decision defeat to Teofimo Lopez in their world lightweight title unification fight in Las Vegas on Saturday night.
Undefeated IBF champion Lopez tore away Lomachenko’s WBA, WBO and WBC ‘franchise’ belts in a significant upset of the pound-for-pound great who was rated as the world’s top boxer.
But Lomachenko had a difficult time against Lopez who was naturally larger and more powerful, and nine years younger, and whose pre-fight trash talk was backed up impressively.
It was only Lopez’s 16th professional fight but he is now the leading 135lbs fighter in the world after dethroning the brilliantly talented Lomachenko with a performance of authority and poise.
He did not allow Lomachenko the freedom to display his genius.
By the halfway point it was remarkable how cautiously Lomachenko had approached the fight.
Unwilling to trade punches, he remained on his back foot with Lopez throwing far more shots and trying to force the action.
Lopez’s right hand, which previously ripped away the IBF belt from Richard Commey in just two rounds, started to repeatedly finds its target in the seventh round.
By this time it was clear that Lomachenko was struggling to contend with a younger, larger opponent.
Lomachenko had his first meaningful success in the eighth round with a left-hand counter and he did emerge from his cautious shell towards the end of the fight, by which point his face wore the damage inflicted by Lopez.
The later rounds were the Ukrainian’s best – his footwork remained crisp and he was allowed to let more punches go as Lopez tired and became lacklustre.
The last 10 seconds was a brawl that many had hoped for much earlier and Lopez emerged with a small cut.
But the judges all gave the nod to Lopez (116-112, 119-109, 117-111) whose pre-fight brashness was justified as he went home as the No 1 lightweight in the world.
A victory for his father
Lomachenko and Lopez were each led to this unification fight by their fathers, two extremely different men who also act as their sons’ trainers.
Lopez Sr started the rivalry with Lomachenko two years ago in a hotel lobby when he screamed at the then-champion that his son would eventually take over.
Lopez Sr was a hustler but also the only member of the family to attend his son’s wedding when others disapproved.
“We’ve had our trials but we work well together now,” Lopez Jr told Sky Sports. “We have learned.
“I can’t see myself being where I am now without him.
“My father never gave up on me, and I never gave up either.”
Sky Sports schedule
Usyk vs Chisora – Oct 31, live on Sky Sports Box Office
Oleksandr Usyk vs Derek Chisora
Lee Selby vs George Kambosos Jr
Dave Allen vs Christian Hammer
Tommy McCarthy vs Bilal Laggoune
Amy Timlin vs Carly Skelly
Taylor vs Gutierrez – Nov 14, live on Sky Sports
Katie Taylor vs Miriam Gutierrez
Terri Harper vs Katharina Thanderz
Rachel Ball vs Ebanie Bridges
Jamie Cox vs Jack Cullen
John Docherty vs Jack Arnfield
Povetkin vs Whyte 2 – Nov 21, live on Sky Sports Box Office
Alexander Povetkin vs Dillian Whyte
Conor Benn vs Sebastian Formella
Chris Billam-Smith vs Deion Jumah