WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING RETURNS TO THE COSMOPOLITAN OF LAS VEGAS VASYL LOMACHENKO vs. NICHOLAS WALTERS WBO JR. LIGHTWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP
Saturday, Nov. 26, Live on HBO® The Chelsea at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas
LAS VEGAS (Sept. 28, 2016) — Boxing Day comes to Las Vegas one month early with a blockbuster fight between two of the hardest hitters in the sport. Two-division world champion and two-time Olympic gold medalist VASYL LOMACHENKO will defend his World Boxing Organization (WBO) junior lightweight title against undefeated former world featherweight champion NICHOLAS “Axe Man” WALTERS. Lomachenko vs. Walters will take place Saturday, Nov. 26, at The Chelsea inside The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas. It will be televised live on HBO World Championship Boxing® beginning at 10:35 p.m. ET/PT.
Promoted by Top Rank®, ticket information for the Lomachenko-Walters world championship event, including room/ticket packages, will be announced shortly.
“Boxing fans will be able to spend their Thanksgiving holiday weekend feasting on the year’s most anticipated showdown,” said Hall of Fame promoter Bob Arum. “Forget their weight class. With more than 3/4 of their victories coming by way of knockout, they punch and win like heavyweights! We know how the fight is going to end. The question is, which fighter will end it.”
“I want to thank HBO and Bob Arum for giving me this opportunity to test myself in the fight with the best. Walters you are next on my list.” said Lomachenko.
“I am very happy and excited about this upcoming bout between Lomachenko and Walters,” said Egis Klimas, Lomachenko’s manager. “Ones again Vasily proved he wants to fight the very best fighters in his weight division and I want everyone to understand when he says so, he means it. Thank you to our promoter Top Rank and HBO network for putting this fight together.”
“Any fighter can be knocked out no matter who he is,” said Walters. “I like fighting the best and I like fighting against great technical fighter like Lomachenko. Look at what happened when I fought a great technical fighter like Nonito Donaire. Lomachenko is great, he knows what he is doing in the ring. But I always look for a knockout against whomever I fight. If I can do it quick, I will. This is the best fight out there in boxing today. It will be the Fight of the Year.”
“On November 26, live on HBO, Vasyl Lomachenko and Nicholas Walters will step up to deliver for the fans the fight they’ve been demanding to determine another of boxing’s top pound for pound stars,” said Peter Nelson, executive vice president, HBO Sports. “We are proud to feature this junior lightweight title showdown on our flagship World Championship Boxing series.”
The greatest amateur boxer of his era and arguably of all time, two-time Ukrainian Olympic gold medalist Lomachenko (6-1, 4 KOs), of Odessa, became a two-division world champion just as he did with his first professional world title, he won world title No. 2 in a record least amount of fights — SEVEN! In his last fight, on June 11, he annihilated defending three-time WBO junior lightweight champion Roman “Rocky” Martinez via a cringe-worthy knockout punch in the fifth round .
Lomachenko captured his first world title — the vacant WBO featherweight title — on June 21, 2014, winning a scintillating majority decision over the previously unbeaten Gary Russell Jr. It was Lomachenko’s third professional bout, tying him with Thailand’s Saensak Muangsurin for fewest fights to win a world title. Muangsurin won a junior welterweight title in 1975, also in his third professional fight.
Russell, a former U.S. Olympian and current World Boxing Council (WBC) featherweight world champion, was totally blitzed by Lomachenko, battered around the ring throughout the fight. From the outset of his professional career, Lomachenko made it known that he was ready for the best in his division. He made his professional debut in 2013 knocking out the WBO’s No. 7-rated featherweight contender Jose Luis Ramirez (24-2-2, 15 KOs) in the fourth round of a bout that was scheduled for 10. Less than five months later, on March 1, 2014, in his second professional bout, he challenged WBO featherweight champion Orlando Salido, losing a split decision to the heavier defending champion whose title had been stripped because he could not make the weight limit.
Lomachenko successfully defended the featherweight title three times, winning a 12-round unanimous decision on November 23, 2014, against No. 1 contender Chonlatarn Piriyapinyo (51-1, 33 KOs), a ninth-round knockout of Gamalier Rodriguez (25-2-3, 17 KOs) on the undercard of the May 2, 2015 Floyd Mayweather – Manny Pacquiao extravaganza and a 10th-round knockout of Top-10 contender Romulo Koasicha (24-4, 14 KOs), on November 7, 2015 . Lomachenko first gained international renown by winning gold medals in the 2008 Beijing Olympics and the 2012 London Games as a featherweight and a lightweight, respectively.
Walters (26-0-1, 21 KOs), from Montego Bay, Jamaica, has won 11 of his last 14 fights by stoppage. He captured the vacant World Boxing Association (WBA) featherweight title on December 12, 2012, knocking out Daulis Presscott (26-1, 19 KOs) in the seventh round. He successfully defended the title three times during his three year reign — all by knockout — stopping Alberto Garza, former two-division world champion Vic Darchinyan and 2012 Fighter of the Year and four-division world champion Nonito Donaire in the fourth, fifth and sixth rounds, respectively.
A former amateur standout who collected gold medals at the 2007 Pan American Games Qualifier III and the 2005 and 2007 Caribbean Championships, Walters is known for his expert boxing skills and movement and two-fisted punching power that are at a caliber of a much higher weight class. On June 13, 2015, at Madison Square Garden, Walters was forced to vacate the title when he failed to make the weight limit by one pound. However, he emerged victorious, winning a unanimous decision over the previously undefeated Top-10 contender Miguel Marriaga.
In his last fight, on December 19, 2015, Walters moved up to the junior lightweight division and took on once-defeated Top-10 contender Jason Sosa, who entered the fight riding a four-year, 17-bout unbeaten streak, which included 13 consecutive knockout victories. Walters and Sosa fought to a controversial majority draw in a bout where media and fans alike had Walters winning by a wide margin.
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