After the Mayweather/McGregor fight, I’ve become mildly interested in boxing and MMA. This amounts to reading a bit about the sports, and watching a few historic fights such as Foreman’s comeback win at 45 years old, some Tyson, Ali.
But what I’ve found really exciting is one of the other biggest names out there: Vasyl (Basil) Lomachenko from Ukraine. I’ve now watched almost all his 7 pro-fights, and one of his two gold metal fights. He’s a virtuoso.
I know nothing about the history and art/mechanics of boxing but what I’ve learned listening to commentators in the last month or so, but Lomachenko is exhilarating to watch.
They call him the “Matrix” fighter because he moves like Neo, and it’s an apt exaggeration.
In one fight, he hurts his hand halfway through and finishes (winning every round) using only his right hand.
He beats world champions one after another, without seeming to shift out of third gear. He fights defensively for a few rounds, doesn’t break a sweat, downloads the opponent’s strengths and weaknesses and patterns, and then goes to work. He works on guys from the side in a way that no one else does or (according to commentators) ever has. He dodges well, counters well, and attacks well. He launches 5 punch combos that actually land five punches in a row. When he wants to put you away, he becomes positively relentless and lethal. He doesn’t box the same way in round 1 as round 5 or round 10. It’s like watching a musical piece unfold in movements.
Lomachenko described his approach in artistic terms:
I try to paint in the ring. I want to show fans in one fight you can do everything. You can throw punches, throw combinations, you can defend, you can move, feint your opponent, [all] the tricks.
Add to all that, he is a humble guy, a Christian who is apparently pious. Of course he knows his talent, but he doesn’t live out the egotistical trend that a lot of American athletes aim for. For example, he gives full credit for his excellnce to his trainer: his father, Lomachenko Sr.
Asked whether he models his style after any of the greats of the past, he said: “No. I use the style invented by my father.”
Have you seen Lomachenko? What do you make of him?