Vasyl Lomachenko (7-1, 5 KOs) will be putting his WBO Junior Lightweight title on the line against Jason Sosa (20-1-4, 15 KOs) this Saturday night, April 8, 2017 at the MGM National Harbor in Oxon Hill, Maryland.
Lomachenko is steadily moving up the pound-for-pound rankings and gaining fans from all over the world while doing so. While Sosa is coming into Saturday night’s fight with only a single loss, and he is also entering the ring as the clear underdog.
With that being said, it’s safe to say that there probably isn’t a single fighter in the Featherweight to Lightweight division that would be favored against Lomachenko right now.
But this is boxing–and anything could happen.
Tale of the Tape
|Vasyl Lomachenko||Jason Sosa|
|Record||7-1, 5 KOs||20-1-4, 15 KOs|
|Hometown||Bilhorod-Dnistrovskyi, Ukraine||Camden, New Jersey, USA|
On paper, this fight looks like it could be a toss up and Jason Sosa would likely even be chosen as the favorite if someone had never seen either man fight. Sosa has more than triple the amount of fights that Vasyl Lomachenko has, with triple the amount of knockouts as well.
The Tale of the Tape depicts that Sosa is the more experienced fighter, and while he has more professional fights, this is not the case. Lomachenko had a remarkable amateur career with 396 wins and only one loss.
In regards to height and reach, Sosa does have slight advantages. If Sosa is able to use his reach to find and dictate the range, he has the power to give Lomachenko problems. Sosa fights in the orthodox stance while Lomachenko is a southpaw.
Sosa has faced southpaws in the past, but none with half of Lomachenko’s ring IQ and ability to cut off the ring.
Bob Arum, who promoted 27 of Muhammad Ali’s fights, has stated numerous times since singing Vasyl Lomachenko out of the 2012 Olympics that he [Lomachenko], “is technically the best fighter that I have ever seen since Muhammad Ali.”
“I don’t think anybody beats Lomachenko, but Sosa has a puncher’s chance,” said Arum (via ESPN). “He’s certainly a respectable opponent.”
While Lomachenko is the favorite going into Saturday night’s fight, Sosa has proven that he has good power. At one point, he was barreling through opponents with a 13-fight knockout streak.
The bump in the road came when fighting Nicholas Walters in December 2015, with the fight being scored a majority 10-round draw.
Lomachenko also faced Walters this last November in his first title defense. Lomachenko dominated Walters throughout the fight, forcing Walters to quit after the seventh round.
In June, Sosa faced Javier Fortuna in Beijing and despite starting out slow and falling behind on the scorecards, he rallied to score an upset knockout in the 11th round to win the secondary belt. Sosa made his first defense of the belt in November in Monte Carlo, where he walked away with a clear unanimous decision win.
“Sosa beat two good fighters in Fortuna and [Stephen] Smith, and he wants to find out how good he is,” said Russell Peltz, Sosa’s co-promoter with Top Rank.
“He wants to test himself against the best and Lomachenko is one of the best. If there were more fighters with Sosa’s attitude, boxing would be in better shape.”
“I know Lomachenko was this great amateur with [close to] 400 fights, but that takes a toll on your body. There’s a point where it adds up and it takes its toll on the body. I’ve seen Lomachenko fight, and everybody is beatable. I saw Cassius Clay beat Sonny Liston. On April 8, we are going to have the best chance of everybody to beat Lomachenko because we’re gonna be the one in the ring with him. Sosa is a world-class puncher and still learning to fight. He only had three amateur fights, but he’ll give it everything he has like he always does.” -Russell Peltz
While both fighters and their promoters are very confident going into Saturday night’s fight, only one man will prevail.
Will Lomachenko easily walk over yet another contender on his way to the top of the pound-for-pound list or will Sosa be able to pull off a massive upset?
Strengths for Each Fighter
Vasyl Lomachenko is probably the most technical fighter in boxing today and his ring IQ is far more advanced than anyone in his weight class.
Lomachenko has great footwork and makes cutting off the ring look easy. His resilience and constant pressure often proves too much for his opponents.
The power Lomachenko possesses along with his persistent attacks often wears on his opponents allowing him to end the fight with a knockout.
Along with his superb offense, Lomachenko is hard to hit. His footwork and ring IQ allow him to work the ring and avoid taking any unnecessary punishment.
Lomachenko is simply something special and each fight he continues to prove he deserves to be climbing in the pound-for-pound rankings.
Jason Sosa hasn’t lost since 2010 and by no means should he be taken lightly. Sosa’s biggest strength is probably how tough he is.
He is not someone who is going to give up against Vasyl Lomachenko.
Sosa also packs a punch and with his old school boxing mindset, he has proven to be dangerous. Like Bob Arum said, he has a “puncher’s chance.”
It really is hard to find flaw in Vasyl Lomachenko’s game, but in the Orlando Salido fight he was too cautious early in the fight. In the first half of the fight, Lomachenko was getting beat to the punch and he wasn’t able to find his rhythm.
Salido was able to frustrate Lomachenko which obviously prevented him from performing at his best.
Against Sosa, who is also aggressive, Lomachenko needs to bring the fight to him and stay busy.
While Jason Sosa is a good fighter, his weakness in the fight is simply that he is not as well-rounded of a fighter as Vasyl Lomachenko.
His aggressive style will only get him so far especially against a fighter with the technical abilities of Lomachenko.
Another weakness that has been apparent in previous fights is Sosa starting out slowly.
He will not want to let Lomachenko get too big of a lead on the scorecards early on because it is unlikely Lomachenko will slow down in the later rounds.
The Winner and Why
Though Jason Sosa lacks the technical qualities of Vasyl Lomachenko, Orlando Salido wouldn’t be characterized as a technical fighter either.
A game plan like Salido’s is Sosa’s best bet–he needs to come out aggressive and even make the fight a little dirty if he wants to come out victorious.
Sosa cannot go into this fight thinking he will outbox Lomachenko.
As previously mentioned, Sosa is a good fight, but so are Nicholas Walters and Roman Martinez and Lomachenko beat them both with ease. Lomachenko continues to improve with each fight and prove he is one of the best boxers in the sport today.
While Sosa deserves nothing but respect for stepping up and taking this fight, Saturday night, Lomachenko will improve his record to 8-1 and continue his rise to the top.
Boise State Alum 🐴💙 Las Vegas 🎲 Staff Writer for Round by Round Boxing. @rbrboxing Snapchat: ShelbiKeyes