Boxing Spotlight

Ukrainian Vasyl Lomachenko fights for history in just his second match


Coming up

Friday (9 p.m., ESPN2): Brandon Adams vs. Daniel Edouard, 6, middleweights.

Friday (11 p.m., Showtime): J’Leon Love vs. Vladine Biosse, 10, super middleweights.

Saturday (9:45 p.m., HBO): Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. vs. Brian Vera, 12, super middleweights; Orlando Salido vs. Vasyl Lomachenko, 12, for Salido’s WBO featherweight title.

Special to the Miami Herald

He didn’t equal Pete Rademacher’s accomplishment, but Vasyl Lomachenko still has an opportunity to achieve an unimaginable feat.

Lomachenko will fight for a world title in only his second professional fight Saturday night. The native of Ukraine will face defending champion Orlando Salido for the World Boxing Organization featherweight title at the Alamodome in San Antonio.

Rademacher beat Lomachenko by one bout when he fought Floyd Patterson for the world heavyweight title in his professional debut in 1957. But Rademacher, who won an Olympic gold medal in the 1956 Summer Olympics, was stopped in six rounds and eventually became a journeyman fighter.

Like Rademacher’s, Lomachenko is an Olympic gold medalist. Moreover, Lomachenko won gold in the two previous Olympics. The medal winning performances, coupled with two world amateur championships, helped Lomachenko toward a quicker path to the professional world title bout.

Although Rademacher disappeared from the title trail following his loss to Patterson, Lomachenko is viewed as another of the emerging stars from Eastern Europe.

“I know that my skill level allows me to fight current champions in my weight division,” Lomachenko said. “And if am capable of making history, why not make history? And that’s why I am fighting for a world title in my second professional bout. So [on Saturday] I’m planning to make my own history.”

Lomachenko, 26, made his professional debut last October in Las Vegas, knocking out Jose Ramirez in four rounds.

“It seems like such a short time ago I was a kid dreaming about winning the Olympic gold medal,” Lomachenko said. “Now I am fighting professionally.”

Salido (40-12-2, 28 KOs) began a third stint as 126-pound titleholder after his seventh-round TKO win over Orlando Cruz on the same card in which Lomachenko defeated Ramirez. The native of Mexico is intent on retaining his belt and denying Lomachenko’s history-seeking achievement.

“I know people expect Lomachenko to beat me and take my title away,” Salido said. “And, while I respect all he did as an amateur, professional boxing is not the same.

“He has had just one professional fight. My experience, strength and hunger will be the difference.”

The Salido-Lomachenko bout will be part of an HBO telecast that also will feature the rematch between Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. and Brian Vera. Chavez won a hotly disputed unanimous decision against Vera in their first bout last September.

Around the ring

• Miami resident Glen Johnson scored a fourth-round TKO win over Jaime Velazquez in their cruiserweight bout Friday in Lincoln, R.I. Johnson, 45, is now 54-18-2 with 37 knockouts.

• Another local fighter was not as fortunate in his bout Friday night. Miami resident Angelo Santana lost a unanimous decision against Hank Lundy in Cleveland.

Lundy (23-3-1) became the busier fighter as the lightweight bout moved into the middle and late rounds. Lundy’s punch volume won him the 10-round match on all three judges’ scorecards, 98-91.

For Santana, it was his second consecutive defeat after starting his career with 14 straight victories.

“He didn’t surprise me, it was just an off night,” Santana said. “I’m disappointed, but I’ll be back.”

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