Lomachenko looks for historic Martinez success, Provodnikov goes to war with Molina Jr


Lee Gormley | June 10, 2016

Roman Martinez v Vasyl Lomachenko

  • WBO super-featherweight title fight
  • Sunday, June 12th
  • Scheduled for: 03:00 BST
  • The Theater at Madison Square Garden, New York
  • Live on BoxNation

Lomachenko targets historic win over Martinez

Ukraine’s Vasyl Lomachenko takes to the ring this weekend in search of history, with a victory over Puerto Rican champion Roman Martinez set to see him become the fastest two-weight world titlist ever, after already claiming the WBO featherweight strap within his six professional outings.

Hailed as arguably the greatest amateur fighter to ever grace the squared-circle, Lomachenko (5-1, 3 KOs) captured that 126-pounds strap in only his third pro bout, and the 28-year-old could overcome the record held by Japanese prodigy Naoya Inoue with success at Madison Square Garden in the early hours of Sunday morning.

The two-time Olympic Gold medalist outpointed America’s Gary Russell Jr to clinch his currently held title in 2014 and now makes the step up to super-featherweight to challenge for Martinez’s (29-2-3, 17KOs) 130lbs belt, which he is 6/5 with Coral to secure by another points triumph in New York.

Ukraine’s finest out to put on a show

Standing in Lomachenko’s path towards a historic feat is ‘Rocky’ Martinez, an established 33-year-old champion that claimed his present super-featherweight title when outpointing Orlando Salido, a fighter his next opponent lost to in his second outing, then retained it against the Mexican too.

The Puerto Rican is a three-time super-featherweight title holder, who was beaten by Scotland’s Ricky Burns back in 2010, but will still enter the ring as the underdog at 13/2 to retain his strap, against an already esteemed contender that is ready to put on a show for the fans.

“I try to paint in the ring. I want to show fans in one fight you can do everything,” stated Lomachenko. “You can throw punches, throw combinations, you can defend, you can move, feint your opponent, the tricks. I need big bouts to prove that.”

Lomachenko looks up to Mayweather

After a glittering amateur career in which he is believed to have accumulated an incredible record of 396-1, with his only defeat to Albert Selimov having been avenged twice, Lomachenko is now considered to be one of the best technicians in the sport, with his promoter Bob Arum calling him the Picasso of boxing.

“Floyd Mayweather said the most important thing in boxing is defence. I agree with him. I want to finish my boxing career healthy, and not get hit,” added the slick southpaw, who is 11/2 to stop Martinez in rounds 1-3.

“Mayweather, if you go back years ago, he was an aggressive boxer. The problem when you’re aggressive is that your opponent will land something on you. Mayweather, what he started doing, was work on defence to just win the bouts, not taking the chances and risks. That’s where he went.

“Like Bob was saying about Picasso giving his paintings away, I came here because I wanted to be known in boxing. I wanted to be in that same light as Mayweather, Pacquiao, Tyson – I want to be a legend.”

Arum hails his Picasso-like fighter

Experienced promoter Arum has been full of praise for his latest shining light, already placing him alongside the likes of recently-deceased legend Muhammad Ali and retired Mayweather in terms of technical talent.

“Not only do I think he’s the most talented fighter in the world, next to Ali, he’s the most technically talented fighter I’ve ever seen,” declared Lomachenko’s veteran promoter Arum.

“My wish is for people to watch fights with that appreciation. Nobody around can do it like him. The closest is Mayweather. For me, I now know what it must’ve been like for Picasso to introduce his paintings at his first show.

“You might not have full appreciation for them at first, but after a while you do. Same with Lomachenko. I just have to get people to appreciate his artistic method. By everyone knowing what they’re seeing, he’ll be a big star.”

With such huge expectations placed upon his shoulders, Lomachenko will look to avoid a stumbling block against Martinez this weekend, but the classy southpaw can continue his rampant rise in the professional ranks by adding another historic chapter to his short but sweet career with a second world title success.

Ruslan Provodnikov v John Molina Jr

  • Light-welterweight fight
  • Sunday, June 12th
  • Scheduled for: 04:00 BST
  • Turning Stone Resort and Casino, Verona, New York
  • Live on Sky Sports 1

Provodnikov and Molina Jr collide in New York

Former WBO light-welterweight champion Ruslan Provodnikov collides with the experienced John Molina Jr in New York this weekend in what could be one of the fights of the year, as the ‘the Siberian Rocky’ targets an eye-catching victory to set up another world title shot.

Russian warrior Provodnikov (25-4, 18 KOs) is hoping to earn himself another crack at world title supremacy, having previously lost the WBO strap to Chris Algieri in 2014 in what was voted the Upset of the Year, and he is evens to stop Molina Jr (28-6, 22 KOs) this time out.

“If my team decides it’s the right thing to do I will do it,” stated Provodnikov. “I would be very interested in fighting Ricky Burns. He is a good fighter and a fight between us would be exciting for the fans.”

Another epic bout on the cards

Provodnikov has become one of the most exciting fighters to watch for fans worldwide, with the 32-year-old having been involved in many gruelling encounters, including 2013 Fight of the Year against Timothy Bradley and 2015 nominee for that award with Lucas Matthysse.

The high-pressure fighter lost both those bouts, and has tasted defeat in three of his last six ring outings, but he is 11/8 to emerge victorious on points this time around and recently claimed his aggressive style stems from fighting on the streets.

“I never chose to fight the way I fight,” Provodnikov said. “When I was a kid, I used to fight on the streets, and this is the way I fought.

“That’s actually why I wanted to box, because I fought a lot as a kid and my parents took me to the gym. But I don’t think this is a choice you make. It’s the way you are, it’s part of your character.”

Another shock loss to his Californian opponent could spell disaster heading towards another world title fight, as Provodnikov looks to put on a strong showing against Molina Jr in what should be another treat for the fans watching in New York and on Sky Sports.

Get ready for the bout between Ruslan Provodnikov and John Molina Jr by watching Showtime’s heart-racing promo for the upcoming scrap in the US.


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Coral’s top tip: Back Ruslan Provodnikov to stop John Molina Jr in New York at evens this weekend.

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