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Boxing Breakdown: Vasyl Lomachenko vs. Nicholas Walters preview

Get a full preview of Vasyl Lomachenko vs. Nicholas Walters in a huge fight this Saturday night live on HBO.

Boxing: Lomachenko vs Rodriguez Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Saturday night is once again a big night for boxing, as for the second week in a row, we have a top 10 pound for pound fighter in action in a great fight. Here, it’s Vasyl Lomachenko (6-1; 4 KO) defending his WBO 130 pound title against challenger Nicholas Walters (26-0-1; 21 KO). Ring Magazine puts Lomachenko at #3 in the division and #7 on the pound for pound list. Walters has been out of action for nearly a year, so is unranked at this time. HBO World Championship Boxing Lomachenko vs. Walters airs live this Saturday, November 26 on HBO with a fight time of 10:35 p.m. ET / PT.

In looking at this fight, it’s hard not to draw parallels to last weekend’s big Kovalev vs. Ward showdown. Like that fight, this one is very well matched between two world class talents at the peak of their powers. For the second week in a row, boxing delivers the kind of fight we want to see - and in this case, it’s a fight with a higher chance of excitement.

How do these two stack up?

Lomachenko: 28 years old | 5’6" | 65" reach | southpaw stance
Walters: 30 years old | 5’7" | 73" reach | orthodox stance

What have these two done recently?

Lomachenko: W - Rocky Martinez (KO) | W - Romulo Koasicha (KO) | W - Gamalier Rodriguez (KO)
Walters: D - Jason Sosa (Maj. Draw) | W - Miguel Marriaga (UD) | W - Nonito Donaire (KO)

How did these two get here?

Vasyl Lomachenko has been described with a tremendous amount of superlatives, and for good reason. He’s a two time Olympic gold medalist for the Ukraine, with an amateur record of 396-1. He made his pro debut in 2013 and immediately jumped into the deep end, challenging veteran Orlando Salido for a world title in his second fight. Salido showed him what a crafty pro veteran is capable of, roughing Lomachenko up to take a win. Since then, Lomachenko has been flawless, going 5-0 and claiming world titles at both 126 and 130 pounds. He comes in off a win over Rocky Martinez in one of the best performances of the year. Now, Arum is talking about him as a possible future Pacquiao opponent.

Nicholas “Axe Man” Walters was one of the breakout fighters of 2014. Already a 126 pound champion, that is the year Walters reached the next level as a fighter, knocking out first Vic Darchinyan, and then Nonito Donaire to cement his status as a true world champion. Unfortunately, he has not been able to capitalize on that momentum, failing to make weight and losing his title on the scale, then following that up with a Majority Draw that should have been a Walters win. He’s been inactive since, and moves up to 130 here. Walters is a strong puncher, but also a very talented technical boxer with a wide range of tools at his disposal.

What can fans expect?

From a stylistic standpoint, this is a fascinating battle. There’s no doubt that Lomachenko is the superior technical fighter - he may be the best technical fighter in boxing today. His footwork is amazing, he uses angles perfectly to land on opponents and confuse them, and his combinations are beautiful to watch. At the same time, he’s a more aggressive fighter than many other technicians like Guillermo Rigondeaux or Erislandy Lara, utilizing those skills to connect on perfectly timed power punches. It’s gorgeous to watch. All that said, Walters is a very tough challenge. It’s easy to view him as the power puncher here, and he will hit harder than Lomachenko, but he’s also a very technical fighter himself, using his big reach to wear down opponents before closing the show. Walters is the understandable underdog, but with his reach, his power, and his own technical skills, expect him to push the fight here and force Lomachenko to rise to the occasion and exhibit his greatness in a close fight. I see Walters taking the opening rounds, but Lomachenko outworking him as the fight gets deeper.

Prediction: Lomachenko, late KO

Who should watch?

Like last week, this is one every fight fan should watch, and in fact, this is probably the better fight for the casual boxing fan - the style of these two seems destined to produce fireworks.