By Ian S Palmer
Vasyl Lomachenko of Ukraine will be attempting to take away the WBO Super Featherweight Championship from titleholder Roman ‘Rocky’ Martinez of Puerto Rico this Saturday, June 11th at the Theater in Madison Square Garden New York. The 12-round bout can be seen live in the U.S. and Canada on HBO while British fans can catch the action on BoxNation. Lomachenko, the former WBO Featherweight Champion, last fought in November when he beat Romulo Koasicha of Mexico by a 10th-round stoppage. Martinez was last in action in September when he fought to a 12-round split-decision draw with Orlando Salido of Mexico. He also beat Salido by unanimous decision five months earlier.
The 28-year-old Lomachenko is a southpaw who is just 5-1 with 3 Kos in his pro career. His lone loss came via a decision at the hands of Salido by a controversial split decision in March of 2014. Lomachenko turned pro in 2013 after winning two Olympic gold medals for his homeland. He had an excellent and extensive amateur career and is already considered by most experts to be one of the top pound-for-pound boxers on the globe. He won the WBO crown against Gary Russell Jr. via a majority decision in June of 2014 and has defended it against Chonlatarn Piriyapinyo, Gamalier Rodriguez and Koasicha.
The challenger possesses fantastic footwork, speed, and accuracy, but may be lacking slightly when it comes to power. However, he breaks his opponents down with solid combination and body and head shots. Fans weren’t too happy about the level of opposition in his last two bouts, but he’ll be meeting a quality opponent this time around in the 33-year-old Martinez. Lomachenko stands 5-feet-7-inches tall and has a wingspan of 65.5 inches and has fought 59 rounds since turning pro. His knockout ratio currently stands at 50 per cent.
Martinez has won world belts both the 126 and 130 lb divisions and he enters the ring with a record of 29-2-3 with 17 Kos to his name. Martinez won his titles via a fourth-round TKO over Nicky Cook in England 2009 and by a split decision against fellow countryman Miguel Beltran Jr. in 2012 in Las Vegas and now he’s in for another tough test against Lomachenko. Martinez’s two losses have been to Scotland’s Ricky Burns in 2010 by decision and he was stopped by Mikey Garcia in eight rounds in 2013. He’s also drawn with Juan Carlos Burgos and Jose Leonardo Cruz and has beaten Walter Estrada and Daniel Attah.
Martinez is 5-foot-8 and also has a 67-inch reach so has a slight advantage in each department there. He turned pro back in 2001 in and has gone 238 rounds since then and also has a current knockout ratio of 50 per cent. Martinez is a solid pro, but probably just a little shy of the Grade A level, which may be needed to beat Lomachenko. He’ll put in a good effort though and his experience should help him out.
Lomachenko is a little bit better than Martinez in all areas, but doesn’t have his experience. It could also be argued that Martinez has a little more power than the Ukrainian too. Lomachenko has a solid chin though and should be able to do enough to take Martinez’s belt by a relatively close decision when all is said and done.