Mikey Williams/Top Rank
VASYL LOMACHENKO believes he will knockout Cuban foe Guillermo Rigondeaux in one of the most anticipated fights in recent years.
Two of boxing’s most decorated amateurs are set to do battle this Saturday night, exclusively live on BoxNation in the UK, in a showdown that will see Ukrainian superstar Lomachenko’s WBO super-featherweight world title up for grabs.
The broadcast begins at 2am on BoxNation. In the USA ESPN televise at 9pm eastern time.
Despite the belt being on the line both men are regarded by most observers as the sport’s two most skilled fighters, with 29-year-old Lomachenko aiming to make a quick night of it.
“I am going to walk through him like a tank and knock him out. I am like every single fighter – going into the ring I have in my mind ‘finish the bout before all the rounds are over and to get the victory before that,” said Lomachenko.
“There is a good possibility that the fight will end before the twelfth round. I am not promising to knock him out but I am promising to squash him.
“I have a plan in my head, a picture of what I am going to do but I don’t think it would be too smart to talk about it right now. I think it is better one time to see than 100 times to say,” he said.
It looked unlikely that the pair would ever share the ring but this historic clash will now mark the first time two-time Olympic gold medallists have fought each other professionally at the highest level.
“I agree that it is a historical bout, it is an interesting bout and most importantly it is an interesting bout for me,” said Lomachenko.
“A lot of time was spent to make this bout. For a while it was never happening and finally it happened. It is very, very interesting and all of the boxing fans wanted to see the fight and finally we can deliver it,” he said.
37-year-old Rigondeaux has held multiple world titles at super-bantamweight but will be moving up eight pounds to take on Lomachenko at the 130-pound super-featherweight limit.
However, ‘The Jackal’ is unconcerned at this and believes he will be just as strong at the new weight, as he looks to give fans a fight to remember at the sold-out Madison Square Garden.
“I went up to 130 because it was the only way I could get this fight made. I would rather it have been at a lower weight, but I want to show the world that I can do it by moving up two weight classes,” said Rigondeaux.
“I feel stronger than ever and I am going to do it and do it right. Moving up has had no negative effect whatsoever on my speed or power.
“It is the first time in history that two multiple Olympic champions are going to fight each other and it is going to be a very good fight.
“It’s going to be a great fight for the fans and it’s going to be a great historical fight that fans will forever look back on,” he said.