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+). It will likely be Lomachenko’s second battle since a surprising loss to Teofimo Lopez that stripped Lomachenko of his three light-weight titles.
In his first battle after dropping to Lopez, Lomachenko turned the primary man to cease Masayoshi Nakatani, making a press release in opposition to a former Lopez opponent who took Lopez the gap. This battle in opposition to Commey was presupposed to deliver 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 word: 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 large man you are dealing with since a defeat. What do you wish to occur right here?
Lomachenko: It is the following step to my objective now. I’ve a dream, be undisputed world champion. I failed to satisfy my dream.
Failed. I failed the primary time, however now I’ve yet one more probability. And I am going to mattress with my dream, I get up with my dream, I dwell with my objective. So this battle is the following step to my objective.
Undisputed light-weight champion?
Does it harm you? Does it hassle you? Does it push you?
It pushes me. You already know, throughout a life — throughout a sports activities life, it is advisable have a objective. As a result of if you do not have a objective, you may’t get up, you may’t practice thrice a day. You’ll be able to’t, as a result of you do not have a objective, since you do not perceive why it is advisable do, why it is advisable go within the health club. However in case you have a objective, 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 after I was an novice in 2007. Then I misplaced my first bout to Albert Selimov within the World Championship. It was in Chicago. I lose that battle, however then I come again. I dwell with this second, as a result of I had by no means misplaced earlier than and it was a giant, large shock for me. I at all times do not forget that second, and that second pushed me to proceed. It is the identical state of affairs now. And now I’ve yet one more probability.
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 am unable to 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 in the event you examine him with Nakatani. He has extra energy than Nakatani.
Do you need to make a press release right here? Do you need to knock him out?
No, I do not take into consideration this. I by no means eager about knockout or how I would like to complete my battle. I simply wish to present my greatest model, my greatest ability. And all technique, what my father give me on that battle. 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 performed. Life shouldn’t be over, life goes on.” So I believe my life shouldn’t be over, my objective in life is not to be undisputed champion. It is a objective within the sport. Nevertheless it’s not necessary objective in my life. That was not necessary.
What’s an important objective in your life?
Be a real man and provides a life to a different. I am speaking about my youngsters. I give a life my youngsters, and now I’m a father. Now I must be chargeable for my youngsters. I would like to offer a sensible life for my youngsters. That is my objective in life now.
What did you inform your son whenever you misplaced?
It is sports activities. It occurs. And it is a lesson of life. Perhaps, I do not know, perhaps I used to be not prepared for this. However, you understand, then I lose. It modified numerous 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 is likely to be necessary — for that individual — I used to not give sufficient consideration to that, and now I modify my angle.
I misplaced my time for myself. It is not proper. I’ve youngsters, and I would like to offer him extra time in our life.
This was presupposed to be the 12 months 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’ve an excellent boxers within the division. I believe it is essentially the most attention-grabbing weight class on this planet.
Who’s the most effective light-weight?
We do not know, as a result of we did not battle 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 afraid of this man, scared to say his title.
Do you suppose that they are scared to say your title?
Now I haven’t got a title, and that is a giant threat for them. They’re faux on the greatness, however they’re afraid to battle me. I attempt for greatness, however they’re reluctant to battle me.
Who would you prefer to battle? 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 battle, I give some probability for Kambosos, however I by no means eager about some knockdown or knockout from Kambosos. I give some probability. However I believed Lopez would win.
Kambosos does an excellent job, a really sensible job. And now he is the most effective 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 battle, however once more, if we’re speaking about clear punches from Diaz, it was extra larger clear punches than Haney. However in fact Haney was extra aggressive. He managed battle. It was an excellent battle, however once more, attain, dimension, it is completely different. Diaz simply got here from 130.
However what did you see with Tank Davis and Isaac Cruz?
I preferred that battle. Lots of people count on Davis to have the ability to battle high boxers, and perhaps lots of people suppose that he is prepared to take action. However on account of this battle, we noticed numerous points. I do not know what spherical he has an issue together with his hand, nevertheless it’s not solely your boxing ability. How about your protection? You are taking numerous punches. Even in case you have an issue together with your hand, you may defend.
Now I perceive why his promoter Floyd Mayweather do not wanna manage a battle with the opposite high fighters.
So in your thoughts, is Tank Davis a terrific fighter?
No, in fact not. He isn’t nice. How can he be nice if he not battle the highest fighters from our weight class?
You already know what? He stunned me. He stunned me after I noticed his battle with Luke Campbell. He goes down and after he can come again. I used to be stunned. My respect goes to him. He is a high degree.
Garcia, Davis, Haney, Kambosos — do you suppose any of these guys are going to battle you?
After what I mentioned now, perhaps sure. You is usually a nice. You’ll be able to’t be on that high degree in the event you not battle 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 in the event you wanna be on the highest degree, it is advisable take a battle with me.
So what do you do now?
I’ve a battle on Saturday. After Saturday we focus on who’s subsequent.
What would it not take so that you can battle Shakur Stevenson?
In the event you’re not a part of my plans, I am unable to battle with you. However how can I am going 130? For what? I have to go down for 130 only for a battle with Shakur Stevenson?
What if he had two belts?
No. Now I’ve a objective, 135 light-weight world championship. That is it. I keep at 135 and my objective will likely be a champion in these weight lessons. That is my objective. That is my plan.
But when he has 4 belts in 130, in fact I am going down.
What about simply two?
No, I do not want two. I had three.