Saturday’s light-weight battle between Vasyl Lomachenko and Jamaine Ortiz needs to be one for the boxing purists, writes Elliot Worsell
GIVEN his undoubted expertise, Vasyl Lomachenko ought to, in 2022, in all probability be headlining Madison Sq. Backyard towards a fellow pound-for-pound celebrity for the precise to assert dominance within the newest of the quite a few weight courses wherein he has dipped his toes.
As a substitute, although, he fights this Saturday (October 29) on the Madison Sq. Backyard Theatre towards Jamaine Ortiz, an unbeaten however principally untested prospect from Worcester, Massachusetts. This, Lomachenko’s nineteenth as a professional, just isn’t a nasty battle essentially, nor one with out intrigue, but it’s nonetheless truthful to say Lomachenko deserves and maybe wants higher at this level, particularly given his age (34).
By no means a vastly marketable attraction even at the very best of instances, the wheels of the Lomachenko bus began to gradual in 2020, shortly after Teofimo Lopez outhustled him to take his world light-weight title. That was thought-about a captivating battle moving into, however most believed Lomachenko’s better expertise and all-round skillset could be sufficient to show to Lopez the chance had come a bit quickly for him. That this didn’t occur was not solely a shock to most, but it surely additionally derailed Lomachenko considerably, at the least by way of him being a pound-for-pound star. Since then, he has fought a few instances, stopping Masayoshi Nakatani in 9 rounds and outpointing Richard Commey over 12, but when ever there was a fighter in want of a revamp subsequent 12 months it’s the southpaw from Ukraine.
Certainly, this upcoming battle with Ortiz will likely be Lomachenko’s first of 2022, arriving virtually an entire 12 months after his win towards Commey. That’s not ideally suited for any boxer, not to mention a light-weight of 34, and, furthermore, it’s a disgrace extra isn’t being fabricated from a high quality operator who’s undoubtedly one of the crucial aesthetically pleasing we’ve within the sport at this time. We could solely come to understand this – Lomachenko’s brilliance – as soon as his profession is over, sadly.
Nonetheless, for now he embarks on one other title run, which might solely be an excellent factor, and his subsequent opponent, Ortiz, ought to deliver out the very best in him, too. Often known as “The Technician”, a nickname virtually blasphemous when used within the firm of Lomachenko, Ortiz is a promising, well-schooled light-weight who can function as both an orthodox boxer or southpaw. He used each these stances to good impact towards Jamel Herring, a former WBO belt-holder at super-featherweight, in Could, a 10-rounder Ortiz received by way of determination. That outcome alerted others to his potential and was additionally his second win of this 12 months, following scorching on the heels of one other determination, this time towards Nahir Albright, in February.
In addition to extra lively than Lomachenko, Ortiz is eight years his junior at 26 and could be very a lot having fun with the fruits of momentum proper now, with the one blip on his 17-fight professional file a majority draw he recorded towards Joseph Adorno in April 2021. Ortiz was dropped twice that evening, as soon as within the second spherical and once more within the seventh, however battled again properly to make sure he remained undefeated.
Clearly, nevertheless, regardless of Ortiz’s potential and his current kind, there’s a gulf in school and expertise between him and Lomachenko, 16-2 (11), one thing most will anticipate to see demonstrated on Saturday evening. The truth is, one may even go as far as to argue that Ortiz, whereas nonetheless unproven, ranks pretty low down on the record of opponents Lomachenko has to this point confronted and overcome in his profession. That doubtless says extra about Lomachenko’s degree than it does Ortiz’s, however, both approach, it’s onerous to see something aside from a large Lomachenko victory, in all probability on the playing cards, when the 2 evaluate their respective strategies this weekend.
Supporting Lomachenko and Ortiz on the MSG Theatre is a featherweight battle between gifted Cuban Robeisy Ramírez and Argentina’s Jose Matias Romero,who changed Jessie Magdaleno, Ramírez’s unique opponent, when Magdaleno withdrew because of a hand damage.
This needs to be an easy sufficient project for Ramírez, 10-1 (6), who, like Lomachenko, is among the most expert boxers on the planet, with little on Romero’s file suggesting he’ll provide a lot in the way in which of upset potential. At 26-2 (9), he’s each skilled and sturdy – by no means stopped – however clearly lacks the punch energy to threaten most opponents, particularly these of a good grade, and has additionally come up brief in two earlier journeys to the US. The primary man to beat Romero was Isaac Cruz, who outpointed him over 12 in March 2021, then seven months after that Michel Rivera did the identical, this time over 10 rounds.
These journeys to America served to spotlight Romero’s limitations and, with this in thoughts, it’s powerful to see how Ramírez, a fighter superior to each Cruz and Rivera, struggles to do one thing related, if not higher, this weekend. He’s on a roll proper now, too, Ramírez, with eye-catching stoppages of Eric Donovan and Abraham Nova already scored this 12 months, and one would again him to change into the primary man to cease Romero ought to he discover himself impressed to proceed this run of knockouts in New York.