With a combined amateur record of 951 wins and 46 defeats, it’s little wonder that the Ukrainian trio of Vasyl Lomachenko, Oleksandr Usyk and Oleksandr Gvozdyk have been billed as the “dream team” among fight fans.
Combined the three pugilists hold three Olympic golds and a bronze, have won 46 of their 47 professional fights and of those 47, 76% of their opponents failed to see the distance.
Ukraine has bred boxers of a high pedigree for a long time - you needn’t even look too far back into the annals of boxing history to see Vitali and Wladimir Klitschko’s reign of almost total dominance in the heavyweight division, but with Lomachenko, Usyk and Gvozdyk, all fighting across separate divisions, the cream of the crop from the Eastern European nation has never shone brighter and a lot of that is down to innovative tutelage of Anatoly Lomachenko, father of Vasyl, and affectionately monikered “Papachenko.”
The elder Lomachenko, and 2018’s Ring Magazine Trainer of the Year, has guided the three fighters across both their amateur and professional careers with great success so far.
His son has so far seen the most success of the three, a three-weight world champion unbelievably in just 12 bouts, followed by big Oleksandr Usyk who reigned as the undisputed cruiserweight champion between 2018 and 2019 before making the switch to the heavyweight, whilst Gvozdyk, not quite the household name that the other two are yet, is certainly carving out an impressive legacy himself, having picked up the WBC light heavyweight title in 2018.
This weekend, Lomachenko Jr. takes on Hull’s Luke Campbell at the 02 Arena and although the Briton brings bags of talent to the table, the 31-year-old Ukranian is widely expected to emerge victorious.
What the man nicknamed ‘Hi-Tech’ has achieved so far speaks for itself and it’s no surprise people are hailing him as one of the best to ever lace-up a pair of gloves. This week, Top Rank’s legendary promoter Bob Arum, who’s seen so much in this bloody sport, told The Sportsman:
He’s the greatest technical fighter I’ve seen since a young Muhammed Ali.
“I mean he’s an absolute phenomenon. Nobody around today fights with the technical skill and ability that Lomachenko does.”
Even Luke Campbell’s own promoter, Eddie Hearn, is aware of the task that stands in front of his charge on Saturday night and knows Campbell will need something to go his way if he’s to upset the odds. Speaking to The Sportsman this week he said:
A good Luke Campbell, or an average Luke Campbell is not going to beat even a bad Vasyl Lomachenko.
“Luke has to have a moment or a spell of brilliance in this fight to win. We may need a bit of help from Vasyl on the way. Maybe a low par performance or whether an injury can reoccur then that would be very helpful.”
Should Lomachenko get past fellow-Olympic gold medallist Campbell, he’s said he’d be happy to move back down to 130lbs to challenge Floyd Mayweather protege Gervonta ‘Tank’ Davis in what would be a blockbuster showdown.
Fellow ‘Dream Team’ member, Oleksandr Usyk will make his heavyweight debut in Chicago on October 12 but fight fans are already excited for him to shake-up an already tumultuous division, whilst Gvozdyk could be lining up a unification fight with fellow 178lbs beast and IBF holder, Arter Beterbiev - a mouth-watering encounter.
The Ukrainians are making waves in the ring, and they aren’t going anywhere anytime soon.