Gary Russell Jr's lack of proper preparation in his first world title fight wound up biting him, as he was outclassed by Vasyl Lomachenko, with Lomachenko claiming the WBO featherweight title in his third pro fight tonight on Showtime. Lomachenko won on majority decision scores of 116-112, 116-112, and 114-114.
BLH had it 118-110 for Lomachenko, while Showtime's Steve Farhood scored it 117-111 for Lomachenko.
Lomachenko (2-1, 1 KO) was simply much more effective tonight than Russell (24-1, 14 KO), whose hand speed looked good, but didn't lead to much real offense, and got slower as the fight wore on, and he was beaten up by the Ukrainian. Lomachenko still showed some tricky amateur habits, and took a more passive stance than you might like to see, often letting a clearly hurt Russell off the hook.
But he clearly won tonight, too, and only Lisa Giampa's 114-114 card said otherwise. Luckily, she was overruled by Max DeLuca and Pat Russell, who probably had the fight as close as was possible.
Lomachenko said through a translator that he was happy to win a title and tie a record by winning one in just his third professional fight. Russell landed a paltry 10% of his punches, according to SHOStats, opening up with a lot of combinations that just didn't get home. The body punching of Lomachenko and his movement may have been the two biggest keys to his victory.
For Russell, this may have been an eye-opener for a clearly talented fighter, whose record was very legitimately criticized; criticism that looks even more valid following this fight.
"It's definitely a little disappointing, but it's all good. We're gladiators, we're warriors. We gotta go back to the drawing board. He had real good lateral movement. We tried to close the distance with the jab. He was moving really good. I take my hat off to him," Russell said, accepting the defeat very gracefully.
"I feel as though I didn't execute the game plan to a T the way we worked on it in the gym. It's my fault."