Vasiliy Lomachenko – Undisputed or bankrupt, and why they call me Voldemort

Former pound king Vasiliy Lomachenko returned to the ring Saturday night at Madison Square Garden to face Richard Commey (9pm ET on ESPN/ESPN+). This will be Lomachenko’s second fight since a stunning loss to Teofimo Lopez stripped Lomachenko of three lightweight titles.

In his first fight after losing to Lopez, Lomachenko became the first to stop Masayoshi Nakatani, claiming against an old rival of Lopez, who was far ahead of Lopez. This fight against Commey was supposed to bring Lomachenko back to Lopez, but the sadness of George Kambosos Jr. two weeks ago sent the light division reeling.

Two other lightweight players, Devin Haney and Gervonta Davis, took their own wins last weekend, but weren’t overly impressive. Now it’s Lomachenko’s turn, and the 33-year-old star has only one dream in mind: To become undisputed at 135 pounds.

Lomachenko sat down with Mark Kriegel on Thursday to discuss his future, his thoughts and why some have even given him a new nickname – “Voldemort.”

Editor’s Note: Responses have been edited for clarity and brevity.

Kriegel: Vasiliy, you are number 1 in WBC and WBO. This is the second ranked giant you face since a loss. What do you want to happen here?

Lomachenko: That’s the next step towards achieving my goal. I have a dream, to be the undisputed world champion. I failed to fulfill my dream.

Failure?

Failure. I failed the first time, but now I have one more chance. And I go to bed with my dreams, I wake up with my dreams, I live with my goals. So this fight is the next step towards achieving my goal.

Undisputed lightweight champion?

It’s correct.

Does it hurt you? Does it bother you? Does it motivate you?

It pushes me. You know, throughout life – in sports life, you need to have goals. Because if you don’t have a goal, you can’t wake up, you can’t train three times a day. You can’t, because you don’t have a goal, because you don’t understand why you need to, why you need to hit the gym. But if you have a goal, it will motivate you.

Do you want this now more than you did before you lost?

It’s correct. Sure. In my head, it was the same situation as when I was an amateur in 2007. Then I lost my first match to Albert Selimov at the World Championships. It’s in Chicago. I lost that match, but then I came back. I live with this moment, because I’ve never lost before and it was a big, big shock to me. I will always remember that moment, and that moment pushed me to keep going. It is the same situation now. And now I have one more chance.

Tell me about Richard Commey. What makes him so dangerous?

He is a tough guy. He has power. He has experience. He has range. He’s taller than me, and he understands boxing.

What is his weak point?

I know his weakness, but I can’t tell you now.

What’s the difference between him and another very tall light person you just fought in Nakatani?

He understands boxing better. He is more technical if you compare him to Nakatani. He has more power than Nakatani.

Do you have to make a statement here? Do you have to knock him down?

No, I didn’t think about this. I never thought about knockouts or how I needed to finish my match. I just want to show my best style, best skills. And all the strategy, what my father gave me in that war. I want to show it to him, to my father.

What happens after that loss to Teofimo?

A few days later I thought about what had happened to my future boxing career, and one thing popped into my head, “Hey man, life isn’t canceled. Life doesn’t end. Life is not over, life goes on.” So I think my life is not over yet, my goal in life is not to be invincible. It’s a goal in sports. But that’s not an important goal in my life. That does not matter.

What is the most important goal in your life?

Be a real man and give your life to others. I’m talking about my kids. I gave my kids a life, and now I’m a father. Now I need to be responsible for my kids. I need to provide a smart life for my children. This is my goal in life now.

What did you say to your son when you died?

It’s a sport. It happened. And that’s a life lesson. Maybe, I don’t know, maybe I’m not ready for this. But, you know, then I lost. It changed my mind a lot.

For example, a request from a relative, something that I wouldn’t pay much attention to, but something that could be important – to that person – I used to not give enough attention to. , and now I change my attitude.

I lost time to myself. It’s not true. I have a baby, and I need to give him more time in our lives.

This should have been the year that the young men usurped the light weight, boxing. What happened?

That’s your right. No one knows what happened. We have a very good fighter in the tournament. I think it’s the most interesting weight class in the world.

Who is the lightest?

We don’t know, because we didn’t fight each other.

Everyone is talking on social media. But no one calls you out. Why?

I do not know. I was reading some comments on my post yesterday and one guy wrote, “No one calls Loma for Loma now, like Voldemort in the Harry Potter movies.” Everyone was afraid of this man, scared to say his name.

Do you think they are afraid to say your name?

Now I don’t have the title, and that’s a big risk for them. They are pretending to be great, but they are afraid to fight me. I strive for greatness, but they are reluctant to oppose me.

Who do you want to fight? Are you chasing specific competitors or belts?

For me, it’s the belt.

Let me know what you think about what you’ve seen with Teofimo and Kambosos.

Before the game, I gave Kambosos a bit of a chance, but I never thought about knocking or taking out Kambosos. I give some chances. But I believe Lopez will win.

Kambosos does a very good job, a very smart job. And now he’s the best on our team because he has a belt.

What about Devin Haney and ‘JoJo’ Diaz? What did you see?

It was a close fight, but again, if we’re talking clean punches from Diaz, it’s Haney’s cleaner punches. But of course Haney was more belligerent. He took control of the fight. It’s a good fight, but again, the reach, the size, it’s different. Diaz only comes from 130.

But what have you seen with Tank Davis and Isaac Cruz?

I love that fight. A lot of people expect Davis to be able to fight the top boxers, and probably a lot of people think he is ready to do so. But as a result of this war, we saw a lot of problems. I don’t know what round he had a hand problem, but it’s not just your boxing skills. How about your defense? You take a lot of punches. Even if you have problems with your hands, you can protect.

Now I understand why his promoter, Floyd Mayweather, didn’t want to hold a fight with other top boxers.

So in your mind, is Tank Davis a great fighter?

Of course not. He’s not great. How can he be so great if he’s not fighting the top fighters from our weight class?

Ryan Garcia?

What do you know? He surprised me. He surprised me when I watched his battle with Luke Campbell. He goes down and after he can come back. I was surprised. My respect is for him. He is a top level.

Garcia, Davis, Haney, Kambosos – do you think any of those guys will turn against you?

After what I say now, probably yes. You can be a great person. You can’t be at that top level if you don’t fight me, because I’m not a world champion. I’m the third weight class world champion. That’s why if you want to be at the top level, you need to fight me.

So what do you want to do now?

I have a fight on Saturday. After Saturday, we’ll discuss who’s next.

What will it take for you to fight Shakur Stevenson?

If you’re not in my plan, I can’t fight you. But how can I go 130? For what? I need a 130 discount just for a fight with Shakur Stevenson?

What if he has two belts?

Is not. Now I have one goal, 135 lightweight world championships. That’s it. I’m 135th and my goal will be to win in these weight divisions. This is my goal. This is my plan.

But if he has four belts in 130, of course I’ll be down.

Four belts?

Four belts.

How about just two?

No, I don’t need two. I had three.

https://www.espn.com/boxing/story/_/id/32830062/vasiliy-lomachenko-vs-richard-commey-lightweight-bust-why-calling-voldemort Vasiliy Lomachenko – Undisputed or bankrupt, and why they call me Voldemort

John Verrall

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