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Lomachenko takes defeat on the chin

By MURRAY GREIG | China Daily | Updated: 2020-10-27 09:34
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Vasiliy Lomachenko, pictured dishing out punishment to Anthony Crolla in a 2019 title fight, has apologized for his shock defeat to Teofimo Lopez in Las Vegas on Oct 17. AP

Upon further review, Vasiliy Lomachenko is offering an apology-but no excuses-for his stunning decision loss to Teofimo Lopez in their four-title lightweight unification bout in Las Vegas on Oct 17.

A week after losing by scores of 116-112, 117-111 and 119-108, the former three-division world champion-a heavy favorite going intold TV channel 112 Ukraine on Saturday that he had studied the film and no longer thinks he was a victim of biased judging in favor of the unbeaten American.

"I would like to apologize to everyone, apologize to my team, and thank you for all the support," said the 32-year-old southpaw, who compiled an astonishing amateur record of 396-1 and won his first world title at featherweight in just his third pro fight in 2014.

In a ringside interview with ESPN immediately after losing to Lopez, Lomachenko insisted he was the victor and said he wanted to go back home to Kiev to watch the film in order to draw a clearer conclusion about his performance.

"It is always challenging to comment on something right after the fight. I wanted to watch it first and then say something," he told 112 Ukraine.

What Lomachenko (14-2, 10 KOs) saw was that he landed just 31 punches over the first seven rounds, while Lopez (16-0, 10 KOs) landed 65. The Ukrainian closed the gap through rounds 8-11, but in the 12th Lopez connected on 50 of 98 punches-the most Lomachenko has ever been hit with in a single pro round.

The final CompuBox stats showed Lopez throwing 659 punches and landing 183, compared to Lomachenko landing 141 of 321.

"Getting close to Lopez was quite a challenge; his size and reach played a huge role," said the twotime Olympian, who was uncharacteristically cautious for the first half of the fight-perhaps due to a preexisting injury.

Lomachenko's manager, Egis Klimas, confirmed on Friday that his fighter underwent right shoulder surgery two days after the fight. Lomachenko previously had surgery on the shoulder in May 2018.

"When he arrived in the States to prepare for the fight, he said that in Ukraine he felt some sharp pain in the shoulder," said Klimas, who noted that a pre-fight MRI didn't reveal a significant injury.

Six weeks before facing Lopez, Lomachenko was given an injection and Klimas alerted both the Voluntary Anti-Doping Association and the Nevada State Athletic Commission.

"We lost one week of training and one week of sparring because the doctor forbid him to do much work after the injection," Klimas said, adding that the pain flared up again during one of Lomachenko's last sparring sessions.

At that point he was given another injection, and his father and trainer, Anatoly, "wanted out of the fight", said the manager.

"Vasiliy said he would not withdraw from the fight, and he made it clear to his team that if he dropped out, he would retire."

There was no rematch clause in the contract for the unification bout, but Lomachenko said he would welcome the opportunity to face Lopez again.

"It depends on him," said the ex-champion. "If he wants to give me a rematch, then of course I will be ready."

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