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Boxing | Incredible Lomachenko continues to make history

"I am telling you without any reservation that Lomachenko is the greatest fighter I have seen since Muhammad Ali" - Bob Arum 396 amateur wins. Two Olympic gold medals (2008,2012). Two World Championship gold medals. One European Championship gold medal. Vasyl Lomachenko had an incredible amateur career, and he continues to make history in the professional ranks. The Ukranian boxer (10-1) retained his world title last night with a victory over Guillermo Rigondeaux in New York last night. Cuban fighter Rigondeaux (who moved up two weight classes to face Lomachenko) retired after the sixth round at Madison Square Garden in a hotly anticipated fight which saw two double Olympic champions face each other for the first time. 29 year old Lomachenko was ahead on all of the scorecards when Rigondeaux retired due to pain in his left wrist, becoming the fourth successive opponent to retire against the Ukranian. Lomachenko has fought just 11 times as a pro, but is being heralded as one of the most skillful boxers of all time. He is renowned for his handspeed, technique and footwork, and ESPN and Box Rec rank the former Olympian as the second best pound-for-pound boxer on the planet, and the world's best active super-featherweight. Vasyl's father Anatoly has coached him throughout his career, and made his son undertake ballet lessons and gymnastics before allowing him to train in the ring. "I've never seen a fighter as technically perfect as him," says legendary promoter Bob Arum. Arum has represented Ali, Mayweather, and Pacquaio, and says Lomachenko should be remembered in the same breath as boxing's greatest champions. "For me to take a modicum of credit would not be correct," the 85 year old told the BBC. "I'm not going to have any real part of it except to get him the fights necessary so that people acclaim him when he retires as the greatest fighter of all time and mention him in the same breath as Ali, Sugar Ray Robinson and those types." His amateur record speaks for itself, and Lomachenko has also been fast tracked in the paid ranks since turning pro following his gold medal at the 2012 Olympics. He made history by winning two world titles in two weight classes - featherweight and super-featherweight - in his first seven fights. The devastating Ukranian knocked out Jose Ramirez on his professional debut, and fought for the WBO featherweight world title in just his second fight against Orlando Salido in March of 2014. Salido failed to make weight, and controversially inflicted the sole defeat of Lomachenko's professional career with a majority points decision, despite landing far fewer punches than the Ukranian. However, Salido's belt was made vacant due to his failure to make weight, and Lomachenko seized it in his next fight by beating Gary Russell Jr on points in California. The victory also meant that Lomachenko equalled Saensak Muangsurin's record of winning a world title in just his third fight. The 29 year old successfully defended his belt three times before moving up to super-featherweight to face Roman 'Rocky' Martinez for the WBO super-featherweight title. Lomachenko knocked out Martinez in the fifth to become the fastest ever fighter to win world titles in two weight classes. He has defended that belt four times including last night's victory over Rigondeaux (another amateur legend), and has been mooted to push up from 130 pounds to 135 pounds to challenge for further world titles. “He’ll make a joke of [Jorge] Linares, he’ll make a joke of Garcia,” Arum said after last night's impressive victory. “Oh Jesus, these guys, they’re really good fighters, Linares, Garcia. This guy is super-special. You’ve never seen anything like this. He’ll go up to 135, maybe to 140. I don’t know. But he’s gonna do this to everybody.” Vasyl Lomachenko has already gone some way towards being remembered as one of the all time greats, but he's far from finished.

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