Jorge Linares vs Vasyl Lomachenko TV information, betting odds, ticket info, flight options and more for the Bilbao showpiece
VASYL Lomachenko goes for a world title in a third weight division in just his 12th pro bout on Sunday (AEST) as he challenges WBA lightweight champion Jorge Linares.
Ukraine’s Lomachenko, a two-time Olympic gold medallist who has made a meteoric rise in the pro ranks, will face a daunting introduction to the 135-pound (61kg) class as he takes on the Venezuelan defending his title for the seventh time.
“I always want a challenge — always,” Lomachenko said. “At 130 (pounds) we can’t organize a top fight with a champion. Then my promoter asked about if I want to move to 135 against Jorge Linares. After two seconds I said, ‘Of course I can. I can and I am ready.’”
Linares, 32, boasts a record of 44-3. Like Lomachenko, he possesses speed aplenty and dazzling technical skills.
Currently, atop ESPN’s pound-for-pound rankings, Lomachenko won his first world title at featherweight in his third pro bout and became a two-division world champion when he moved up to super featherweight in his seventh pro fight.
His last four opponents have quit mid-bout — most recently previously unbeaten Cuban Guillermo Rigondeaux in a December crash in New York that went six rounds.
“Now my name is ‘No Mas Chenko’” Lomachenko quipped in the ring after humbling Rigondeaux to improve to 10-1.
But Linares, who has shown his resolve in recent bouts against Anthony Crolla and Luke Campbell, says there’s no way he’ll throw in the towel.
“I will never do that, I will never give up,” he said. “People always talk about and heap praise on Lomachenko because all of his opponents abandon (the fight).
“I’m not a boxer who abandons (a fight).” Linares acknowledged that Lomachenko is “very fast with his hands, he’s got great footwork and great angles,” but said the Ukrainian’s tendency to repeat his moves makes him vulnerable.
“He knows what he’s in for,” Linares said of Lomachenko. “I’m not an ordinary fighter.”