By: Dallas Orysiuk (@Chargers204)
Lately, we have seen a new breed of fighter emerge; the highly skilled, slick, yet highly entertaining offensive fighter. Last night, in Maryland, three of these fighter’s abilities were on full display, as Oleksandr Usyk, Oleksandr Gvozdyk and Vasyl Lomachenko dominated in their respective bouts. Since the 2012 Olympics, where Usyk and Lomachenko won gold, Gvozdyk won a bronze medal, there has been a rise of highly skilled amateur boxers who have successfully acclimated to the professional game. With the emergence of these three Ukranian boxers, Gennady Golovkin (hailing from Kazakhstan), and Kovalev from Russia, there has been a rise in highly decorated amateurs having success in the professional rankings and many seem to be emerging from Eastern Europe.
In the first fight of the night, Oleksandr Usyk put his WBO Cruiserweight title on the line against undefeated Michael Hunter. It was a slow start for Usyk who is known to be a slow starter, as it looked like Hunter was controlling the early rounds. Usyk who normally takes over, showing movement, angles and a lot of jabs did begin to take over… but not in the way we all expected; Usyk began throwing punches from all angles and continuing to use a barrage of power punches. Usyk used the jab to set up, but not like we were used to seeing and began ripping Hunter to the body and the head. Hunter showed that he has an iron chin and the heart of a lion as he continued to hold on. In the 10th Usyk had Hunter badly hurt and continued to pepper him with hard punches and it looked the referee was going to stop it. Hunter held on. In the 12th Hunter was hurt again and was given a standing eight because the ropes had to hold him up. Michael Hunter took a bad beating in the 12th and it is a surprise that the referee allowed it to continue. Usyk won 117-110 on all three score cards and improved to 12-0, 10 KOs and showed that he is the man to beat in the Cruiserweight division.
Then in the next bout, Oleksandr Gvozdyk took on Yunieski Gonzalez, who had given Jean Pascal hell in the past. Gonzalez came out swinging, but Gvozdyk proved he was too skilled and too fast for Gonzalez, peppering him with lighting fast combinations and moving his head to stay out of the way from his power. In the third, Gvozdyk proved he was too much, hurting and staggering Gonzalez whose legs were gone and finished him when he sent him to the canvas. The referee called a halt to the fight when Gonzalez couldn’t regain his balance. Oleksandr Gvozdyk improved to 13-0, 11 KOs and looks to be emerging as a real threat in a stacked light heavyweight division.
The final bout went exactly as everyone had predicated, with Vasyl Lomachenko putting on a clinic and making his case for being considered as the best fighter in the world. The main event was actually the least entertaining of the three because it was so one sided. Jason Sosa came out trying to win and showed the heart of a lion, but Lomachenko proved he was in another league. Lomachenko’s full arsenal was on display as he landed blistering fast combinations from all angles while showing tremendous footwork and defense. Sosa tried to trash talk Vasyl but to no avail, and Vasyl continued to dominate and taunt Sosa. At the end of the 9th round Sosa’s corner through in the towel. Lomachenko improved to 8-1, 6 KOs and continued to make a case of the number one fighter in the world. After his performance, I feel comfortable with my assessment that Vasyl Lomachenko is the number 1 pound 4 pound fighter and that he will continue with this position for several years to come.
It was a great night of boxing and it will be exciting to see these Ukrainians continue their ascent in boxing and I look forward to a whole slew of entertaining matchups in the future.by