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List of Articles by Maloney L. Samaco


 

BATTLE OF TWO DOUBLE OLYMPIC CHAMPIONS LOMACHENKO VS RIGONDEAUX SET ON DECEMBER 9

By Maloney L. Samaco
PhilBoxing.com
26 Sep 2017



One of the most awaited fights on the year will happen between Vasyl Lomachenko (9-1-0, 7 KOs) and Guillermo Rigondeaux (17-0-0, 11 KOs) on December 9 at Madison Square Garden in New York. Rigondeaux, who holds the WBA's super bantamweight world title, will increase by two weight divisions up to 130-pounds to challenge Lomachenko for the WBO super featherweight title.

* * *

Lomachenko is seen by many experts as the favorite in the match but Rigondeaux's trainer Pedro Diaz was not at all worried. "Rigo has nothing to prove, he has accomplished more than Lomachenko," Diaz told ESPN Deportes. "This will be Lomachenko's great opportunity to prove his true worth." Lomachenko is No. 4 pound-for-pound fighter by The Ring while Rigondeaux is listed at No. 5.

* * *

Top Rank finally announced the widely anticipated clash that will feature two Olympic double champions. Lomachenko won Olympic gold medal for Ukraine in Beijing in 2008 and London in 2012, while Rigondeaux was Olympic gold medalist for Cuba in Sydney in 2000 and Athens in 2004. "The confirmation of the fight is great news," Diaz said. "Two double Olympic champions face to face is incredible. It will be a historic fight."

* * *

Diaz said their camp are not concerned about having to gain weight from superbantamweight to superfeatherweight. "The weight will not be a problem, Lomachenko has an excellent and serious team, and so does Rigondeaux," Diaz commented. "The greatest virtue of Rigondeaux is that he will go for victory."

* * *

The 36-year-old Rigondeaux had his last fight resulting in a controversial "no decision" against Mexican Moises Flores on June 17 of this year. The 29-year-old Lomachenko recently stopped Colombian Miguel Marriaga in the seventh round on Aug. 5. Arum said Friday that the fight will be held in the Theater at Madison Square Garden. Both boxers are widely considered as two of the best amateur fighters in history.

* * *

Rigondeaux has held world championships at super bantamweight division including the WBA (Super) and lineal titles since 2013, and previously the WBO and Ring titles between 2013 and 2016. Lomachenko has held the WBO super featherweight title since 2016, and previously the WBO featherweight title from 2014 to 2016. He won the featherweight title in only his third professional fight.

* * *

One of Andre Ward's idols, former four division world champion Roy Jones Jr., thinks the unbeaten boxer deserves a high place in boxing history. "I don't know where his place in boxing history is, but it's near the top because he was very dominant in his time," Jones explained to BoxingScene. He said Ward beat a lot of people in a lot of different ways, showing a lot of versatility. Jones called Ward a great fighter, one of the greatest champions, pound for pound the best, and had a brilliant career.

* * *

Ward, only age 33 and is the reigning WBA, IBF and WBO champion and is widely regarded as one of the best pound-for-pound boxers in the world when he retires . Most respected lists have him tabbed as the top pound-for-pound fighter in boxing. He said felt the physicality of the sport, not just in the ring stuff, but the training and the preparation. Ward added it starts to take its toll on him for the last two or three years and he bit down and continued to push through. At this point, he knows it's time to retire.

* * *

Ward was the last American male boxer to win an Olympic gold medal and he won the light heavyweight gold medal for the United States at the 2004 Games in Athens, Greece becoming the first American boxer to capture the gold in 8 years. In the preliminaries, he defeated Clemente Russo of Italy, 17-9. In the quarterfinals, he triumphed over Evgeny Makarenko of Russia, 23–16. In the semifinals, he edged Utkirbek Haydarov of Uzbekistan, 17–15. And in the gold medal match, Ward defeated Magomed Aripgadjiev of Belarus, 20–13.

* * *

Former WBA world featherweight champion Carl Frampton (23-1, 14 KOs) would want to face WBO titlist Oscar Valdez (23-0, 19 KOs) because he is planning to be back as a world titleholder. Frampton lost to Mexican Leo Santa Cruz and his title in January. He commented on Twitter on Monday, Frampton responded: "Fun fight if it ever happens". Valdez defended his title Friday night by unanimous decision over Genesis Servania in Tucson, Arizona but not after the Mexican champ went down for the first time in his career.

* * *

Top Rank CEO Bob Arum said: "We're going to try to get Frampton. We would do it next year, and we would put it maybe someplace in Texas or maybe Las Vegas. Frampton would probably object to coming to Tucson, but we can find a place to do that fight. It's a great fight." The featherweight division is loaded with deadly world champions in Leo Santa Cruz (WBA), Oscar Valdez (WBO), Lee Selby (IBF) and Gary Russell Jr (WBC).

* * *

Boxing was considered too brutal to be included at the first modern Olympics in 1896 in Athens, but it was competed as a demonstration sport in 1904 in St. Louis and then finally joined as a medal sport in 1908 in London. Boxing was excluded once again in 1912 in Stockholm because boxing was banned in Sweden. Boxing was permanently held as an Olympic sport in 1920 in Antwerp. Since then it has produced some of the most popular champions in Olympic history like Cassius Clay, George Foreman, Oscar De La Hoya and Teofilo Stevenson.


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