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Vasiliy Lomachenko: ‘I want to put my name in boxing history’

Vasiliy Lomachenko talks about his unification bout with Jose Pedraza.

Vasyl Lomachenko v Guillermo Rigondeaux Photo by Steven Ryan/Getty Images

Over at ESPN, famed trainer and analyst Teddy Atlas sat down with Vasiliy Lomachenko to discuss Saturday night’s main event on the network, which will see Lomachenko attempt to unify a pair of 135-pound titles with fellow titleholder Jose Pedraza.

Lomachenko (11-1, 9 KO) said this about his goals with the fight and in boxing:

“I want to unify titles. It was my first goal when I came into the pros. I tried to unify titles at 126, 130, now I try at 135. Maybe this weight will be lucky for me. ... I want to prove my father is the best coach, a genius of boxing. That’s why I do this. But it’s not his plan, it’s not his choice about second titles, third titles, it’s my choice. I want to put my name in boxing history.”

As for Pedraza (25-1, 12 KO), Lomachenko said he leaves the scouting and planning up to his father:

“My father watched when he won his title, and he explained what I need to do in the training. ... My father is the gamer, I am the game. ... We have a little secret for this fight, we’ve changed a little bit of the strategy. So we’ll see in the ring.”

The 30-year-old Lomachenko is coming off of a shoulder surgery following his stoppage win over Jorge Linares in May, and probably could have taken the rest of this year off understandably, but he wanted to get back in the ring as quickly as possible, and he’s not doing it against a creampuff opponent, either. Pedraza is a two-division champion, and the last time we saw him in August was when he lifted the WBO 135-pound title from Ray Beltran, a tough pro.

So although Lomachenko is the heavy favorite — after all, he’s arguably the No. 1 fighter in the sport today, pound-for-pound — there are some potentially intriguing elements to this matchup. On paper, Loma should win, but we’ve got the shoulder, the fact that he’s pushing himself now at 135 pounds in the first place, and the fact that Pedraza can fight. If Vasiliy isn’t 100% himself, Pedraza is plenty good enough to make things more interesting than a lot of people expect.

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