Vasyl Lomachenko (9-1, 7 KO’s) and Guillermo Rigondeaux (17-0-1, 11 KO’s) will face off for Lomachenko’s WBO junior lightweight title tonight at the sold-out Madison Square Garden Theater in New York City. It will mark the first time in boxing history that duel Olympic gold medalists have ever fought. Astoundingly, there are only three boxers in history that have won two Olympic gold medalists and a world title.
Rigondeaux, 37, is moving up two weight classes to take on the Ukrainian sensation, who is a former featherweight world champion, and is expected to move up to 135 pounds in 2018.
Lomachenko is the heavy favorite, but can he overcome the Cuban style? Let’s take it round-by-round.
Round 1: Lomachenko knocks down Rigondeax in the opening round with a combination right for a flash knockdown. Rigondeaux recovers nicely, landing a short uppercut on the inside, and light jabs to the stomach.
Winner: Lomachenko 10-8
Round 2: The Cuban connects with a counter straight left hand and a hard jab to the body. Hi-Tech traps Rigondeaux in the corner and lands with a sharp uppercut and a short left hook. Lomachenko takes control at the end of the round with combination to the body.
Winner: Lomachenko 20-17
Round 3: Lomachenko has the upper hand in an action-packed exchange. Rigondeaux misses with a big overhand left, but connects with a lead left to the head. The Cuban land with a combination and Lomachenko gets away from the ropes and is back to the center of the ring. Rigondeax comes back with a hard uppercut.
Winner: Rigondeaux 29-27
Round 4: Rigondeaux-paced round. Hard right hook to the jaw connects for Rigondeaux. Lomachenko closes in and lands with two short lefts and a right hook to the body. Rigondeaux comes back with a vicious cross, and Lomachenko misses with a home run left hook.
Winner: Rigondeaux 38-37
Round 5: Lomachenko comes out more aggressive as the fifth round begins, not allowing Rigondeaux to get into his regular groove and lands with a violent combination. He has Rigondeaux blocked in, and scores with several light punches to the head and a left hook to the body. Hard cross to the stomach finds the target for Lomachenko. Rigondeaux counters Lomachenko with a jab and a short hook to the head. Hi-Tech was momentarily stunned.
Winner: Lomachenko 48-46
Round 6: Lomachenko bobs and weaves his way inside and lets his hands go, scoring with a hook. Rigondeaux is off target with the counter and gets countered himself. That knocked Rigondeaux back. Lomachenko traps him on the ropes and lands with a terrifying left hook to the body. Rigondeaux lands with an uppercut. Now Lomachenko is gasping for breath. It’s a hard fight, but Lomachenko is landing more at the right time.
Winner: Lomachenko 58-55
Round 7: Rigondeaux dictates the pace in this round and drives home a potent uppercut to the head of Lomachenko. Their heads may have come together on the inside, but no significant damage was done. The Ukrainian absorbs a hard shot to the body and counters with a left hook.
Winner: Rigondeaux 67-65
Round 8: Straight cross from Rigondeaux gets through Lomachenko’s guard. Lomachenko charges Rigondeaux to get inside and takes a hard straight to the ribs. A hard combination also connects downstairs for Rigondeaux. Lomachenko lets his hands go, but Rigondeaux blocks them all.
Winner: Rigondeaux 76-75
Round 9: Lomachenko fires a jab to the body, side-steps, and lands a hard uppercut to the body. Rigondeaux connects with a combination. Lomachenko looks shaken by those punches. He takes another hard left hook and a straight left hand from Rigondeaux.
Winner: Rigondeaux 85-85
Round 10: Both fighters are trading heavy leather in this round. Rigondeaux landing with wicked hooks to the midsection. Lomachenko, again, slips his way to the inside and finds Rigondeaux’s head with a solid hook. Rigondeaux counters him with an overhand left to the jaw. The action shifts to the middle of the ring. Lomachenko comes back with a beautiful short hook and a hard jab.
Winner: Lomachenko 95-94
Round 11: Lomachenko motions Rigondeaux to the ropes. He wants to fight. Both fighters are trading heavy leather again, but it’s Rigondeaux who is landing with more authority. Lomachenko is starting to swell under the left eye. The overhand left of his opponent has been landing consistently.
Winner: Rigondeaux 104-104
Round 12: Rigondeaux being a little conservative. He’s boxing from the outside and keeping Lomachenko at bay with the jab. He doesn’t want to take any unnecessary risks in a razor close fight. Loma slips in and here comes a blistering exchange between both fighters. Lomachenko was a little more effective, but Rigondeaux ends the fight with an authoritative left hook.
Winner: Vasyl Lomachenko 114-113
Outcome: Vasyl Lomachenko by somewhat controversial split decision over Guillermo Rigondeaux