Pound-for-pound superstar Vasyl Lomachenko has the opportunity to further enhance his standing in the sport, by becoming a unified champion for the first time when he faces Jose Pedraza this Saturday night at Madison Square Garden
As does Pedraza, a former IBF super-featherweight champion whose undefeated reign came to a devastating end at the precocious and powerful hands of Gervonta ‘Tank’ Davis nearly two years ago in neighbouring Brooklyn’s Barclays Center.
Having captured WBO honours by dropping and outclassing seasoned veteran Raymundo Beltran earlier this year, the Puerto Rican will no doubts be hoping that his return to New York will be a fruitful one; one that will enable him to propell his career to new heights by claiming what would unquestionably be the biggest scalp of his career.
After unseating erstwhile WBA king Jorge Linares in a May thriller where skill and will alike was on display in abundance once again at the so-called Mecca of Boxing, Lomachenko has his sights firmly set on establishing himself as the lightweight division’s undisputed number one.
In what was probably the fight of the year, Lomachenko was dropped for the first time of his career by the silky Venezuelan – in addition to sustaining a severe shoulder injury in the second round – before rallying in the tenth to stop Linares in sensational style.
Pedraza, with his penchant for rangy slashing combinations and switching stances in addition to his toughness and tenacity, definitely has the potential to make things somewhat awkward for Lomachenko throughout the early proceedings. However, expect the Ukrainian’s class to ultimately shine through with a resounding points triumph or even a late stoppage, if Hi Tech is in a spiteful mood.
Lomachenko will look to showcase his considerable skillset by overwhelming his opponent with his surgical relentlessness and heavily targeting the body of his taller and stronger counterpart, as he did against Linares.
On the undercard, Ghana’s heavy-handed super-bantamweight champion Isaac Dogboe will be aiming to make the second successful defence of the WBO title he wrested from Jessie Magdaleno’s grasp in April.
Royal-Storm faces Emmanuel Navvarrate in what will probably transpire to be a lengthier challenge than his last outing in July, where he annihilated Hidenori Otake inside a round.
Similarly undefeated lightweight contender Teofimo Lopez will be looking to extend his record to 11-0 against Mason Menard, someone who was thoroughly dismantled by Devon Haney earlier this year but still represents a solid name for any resume.
Article by: Navi Singh
Follow Navi on Twitter at: @DarkMan________