Lomachenko raises ‘No Mass-Cenko’; What’s next for Camposos?

Vasily Lomachenko put on a vintage performance in Perth, Australia on Sunday to become a champion again, proving he is still one of the sport’s elite.

Lomachenko (18-3, 12 KOs) has been arguably one of the best boxers in the world since June 2014, when he won his third pro fight. From that dominant performance against Gary Russell Jr. to Sunday’s 11th-round TKO victory over Jorge Camposos Jr. to capture the vacant IBF lightweight title, Lomachenko has been otherworldly.

Lomachenko’s first win since June 2021 — at the age of 36 — was a reminder of the Ukrainian’s greatness. This was Kamposos’ third loss, but his previous two defeats came by decision against Devin Haney. Camposos has won ESPN’s 2021 Upset of the Year, Teofimo Lopez.

Lomachenko became the first fighter to finish the Australian and did so in style. He cracked Camposos with a string of sharp lefts, leaving the right eye bleeding. Lomachneko finally floored him with a left hand to the body, followed by a flurry that forced Corner to throw in the towel.

“He’s a legend of the game,” Camposos said. “… He’s one of the best fighters in history.”

That’s not an exaggeration, of course. The two-time Olympic gold medalist is a future Hall of Famer, and coming off the disappointment of her controversial decision loss to Haynie a year ago, Lomachenko is building momentum again.

He could find his next opponent in a week. On Saturday, Emmanuel Navarrete meets Denis Perinchik for the vacant WBO lightweight title in San Diego.

Navarrete is a heavy favorite to become a four-division champion, and the top seed wants to match the Mexican with Lomachenko later this year. It’s a fascinating style of conflict. Navarrete is a Hurricane with a 72-inch reach at 5-foot-7.

Lomachenko proved on Sunday that he still has the reflexes to shoot through openings when they present themselves. During his time as the pound-for-pound king, he can still manifest memories of No Mas-Senko, who created an opponent after the opponent is off the stool. With a title around his waist, he looks primed for one final run at the top of the game.

— Coppinger

Camposos’ life now hangs by a thread; What’s next for him?

When Camposos entered the ring to fight pound-for-pound superstar Lomachenko, he was fully aware of the sport’s monumental stakes.

He knew victory would cement his legacy as an Australian boxing icon, a world champion who would have produced not one, but two stunning upsets of the era against a pair of generational fighters. Camposos argued that such a feat would be enough to earn him a place in the International Boxing Hall of Fame, which is only awarded to five of his countrymen. A win would open the door for more championship fights at 135 pounds.

But Camposos also knew that a loss to Lomachenko would mark the end of his international boxing career. On Sunday afternoon, after 11 rounds of humiliation on home soil, Camposos cut a dejected figure as he left the ring.

For Camposos, a loss to Lomachenko on Sunday would see him drop down the lightweight pecking order, sitting precariously at the top of not only the division but the boxing world as well. It’s unlikely Camposos will fight for another world title, but he has no regrets about taking the fight.

“I tried my best. I had the best preparation. I gave everything in training camp, unfortunately it wasn’t enough today, but that’s it. I stepped up to the best. I fought the best. You take the loss.” Kambosos told ESPN. “He’s a true champion. He’s a legend of this game and I have a lot of respect for him. I’ve never disrespected him. I’ve always given him respect and we know what we’re up against.”

Camposos’ victory over Lopez will never be taken away from him, but Sunday’s latest loss — his third in four fights — proved that winter night at Madison Square Garden was an anomaly of the highest order.

Since then, the Australian hasn’t come close to being a world champion-caliber fighter. He hasn’t been outboxed in each of his past four fights, but he hasn’t been able to settle in the ring and has shown no signs of changing momentum when things aren’t going his way.

Camposos’ promoter Lou DiBella spoke earlier in the week about the possibility of him moving up to junior welterweight for a rematch against Lopez. One caveat is that he needs to show he remains a world-class fighter. His performance against Lomachenko did nothing of the sort. Camposos was out of the opening bell until Lomachenko threw punches to force Lomachenko to wave the white flag in his corner.

— Michaels

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