My Fighter of the year for 2016 is – Vasyl Lomachenko
By: John Hoolan
There were three fighters on my shortlist, however I could not really see past the 28 year old Ukranian who, as we close out the last few days of 2016 has only had eight fights…
Lomachenko started 2016, In my view, as a fighter with a huge year ahead of him and one that would cement him as a real P4P contender in the world of boxing.
It didn’t quite work out as the busy year that many were expecting or indeed calling for as he had only two fights, however when you look at who he fought and the manner of his wins over those fighters, you see not only does he just ooze class, ability and power, he always is a true world level fighter.
On June 11th 2016, Lomachenko moved up in weight to fight Roman ‘Rocky’ Martinez for his WBO Super Featherweight Title. At the time Vasyl was also the WBO Featherweight champ and was aiming to become a two weight champion. Leading up to the fight, his numerous critics grumbled that Lomachenko lacked a killer instinct, toying with opponents that were no way a threat or test to him.
Their views changed dramatically as with his 5th round knockout win over Martinez he became the fastest boxer to win a world title in two weight divisions. He completely dominated the fight connecting with almost 3 times the amount of punches that Martinez did in an awesome display of ability and power. Some journalists and websites have the knockout as KO of the year for 2016.
On 26th Nov 2016, Lomachenko defended his newly won crown Vs the undefeated Nicholas Walters.
Lomachenko gave Walters a complete and utter master class, completely dominating the fight Vs Walters from the first bell to the end of the fight, when Walters quit on his stool. Referee Tony Weeks asked Walters if he wanted to continue before the start of the eighth round and Walters replied, “No, I don’t”. I don’t like to see fighters lose heart and quit on their stool, however once you have watched the fight I have posted you will see why his heart and ambition in the fight had been decimated. He landed over twice the amount of punches that Walters did.
After the fight Bob Arum said “We watched a modern master, a magician in action tonight. It surprised me he quit, but Walters was going to get knocked out. Lomachenko had worked the kid out and was going to stop him in the next round.”
I find it very hard to disagree with Bob Arum.
Lomachenko is a southpaw, has won Olympic Gold twice in 2008 & 2012, had an amateur record of 396-1 and is listed no6 in the World P4P rankings by The Ring. He can now add my 2016 fighter of the year to his impressive CV.
I fully expect Lomachenko to push on from his wins in 2016 and a rematch to avenge his only defeat Vs Orlando Salido is very likely high on the agenda for early 2017…
Three man shortlist for 2016 fighter of the year –
1. Vasyl Lomachenko
2. Carl Frampton
3. Terence Crawford.
Honourable mention to Joe Smith Jr.