Boxing view: Lomachenko to return with win

Ukrainian sensation Vasyl Lomachenko (8-1) returns to the ring this weekend to defend his WBO super-featherweight title against Colombian challenger Miguel Marriaga (25-2) in Los Angeles this Saturday night.

The man known as Hi-Tech became a two-weight world champion after just seven fights – the fastest in boxing history to do so – and will make his third defence of his super featherweight strap on Saturday night.

His debut, back in October 2013, was a 10-round title contest for the WBO International featherweight strap, resulting in a fourth-round knockout of Jose Ramirez (25-3), who had previously never been stopped before.

That resounding statement set up a crack at the full WBO World title at 126lbs against two-time World champion, Orlando Salido (41-12-2) in March 2014.

Fighting for a world title in his second professional bout ended in a split decision defeat for the double Olympic Gold medalist.

However, three months later, the 29-year-old fought for the belt again, this time against unbeaten Gary Russell Jr. (24-0), and won on points, crowned a World champion in his third fight.

The Ukrainian wizard met Puerto Rican Roman Martinez (29-2-3) in June 2016, putting on a masterclass in footwork before knocking out the champ in the fifth round to claim his current WBO strap.

Most recently, the Olympian, with 396 wins from 397 amateur bouts, outclassed Jason Sosa (20-1-4), again putting on a dazzling display before earning his fifth knockout victory in a row.

Challenger Marriaga, known as The Scorpion, has twice fought for featherweight world titles – WBA and WBO – and lost on both occasions, including last time out against Oscar Valdez in April, and Nicholas Walters, prior to that, in June 2015 – both via unanimous decision.

The 30-year-old Colombian is as game as they come and has proven power – 21KO’s from 25 victories – so he will be keen to meet the champion in the centre of the ring, which will please the Los Angeles crowd in attendance.

It’s a match-up that can’t fail to excite viewers, but also one that is very one-sided, in my view.

The first blemish on Marriaga’s record came from an unbeaten Walters, who Vasyl toyed with for seven rounds in November last year, eventually forcing the former WBA Super World featherweight champion to quit.

Lomachenko made Marriaga’s maiden conqueror look silly with his superior boxing skills and class.

The Jamaican is a fine boxer, though, beating The Filipino Flash Nonito Donaire (33-2) with a sixth-round stoppage to win the WBA Super at 126lbs – the only man to ever stop the four-weight world champion in his illustrious 41-fight career.

My prediction is a very dominant Lomachenko performance, culminating in a seventh-round stoppage.


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