In the 89-year history of THE RING’s Fighter of the Year award, no boxer has ever earned the honor with as few fights under his belt as Vasyl Lomachenko has. Then again, few have achieved as much as the Ukrainian amateur star did after only 11 pro bouts.

Lomachenko (10-1, 8 knockouts) was selected as THE RING’s Prospect of the Year in 2013 after only one fight – his Oct. 12 pro debut against Jose Ramirez. Eight months after that impressive fourth-round KO, the wizardly southpaw won his first world title, the vacant WBO featherweight belt, by taking Gary Russell Jr. to school over 12 rounds. (Lomachenko’s boxing clinic against the highly touted unbeaten U.S. Olympian was performed in his third pro bout, just three months after he received his own education in gritty pro tactics via 12-round split-decision loss to grizzled veteran Orlando Salido.)

Two years and three title defenses later, he won his second world title in a second weight class, the WBO 130-pound belt, with a fifth-round KO of Roman Martinez. His first defense – an embarrassingly one-sided mastery of Nicholas Walters that forced the unbeaten former featherweight titleholder to pull a “No Mas” after seven rounds – was so impressive that he instantly jumped into the top half of most pound-for-pound lists by the end of 2016.

So, what made Lomachenko’s 2017 so special? Why was he selected as THE RING’s Fighter of the Year over worthy candidates such as Terence Crawford, Anthony Joshua, Mikey Garcia and Srisaket Sor Rungvisai?

For starters, he fought more than the other standouts in 2017 – three times – continuing to outclass and bewilder opposition to between-rounds retirements, but he also made large strides toward transitioning from a boxing-world phenom to the kind of general sports standout recognized by casual fans and mainstream media.

Lomachenko (left) tags Jason Sosa. Photo courtesy of HBO

Lomachenko’s humiliating brand of dominance was expected against his first two opponents of 2017, Jason Sosa and Miguel Marriaga, both solid contenders that will give any other world-class featherweight or junior lightweight a grueling night. Lomachenko forced the battle-tested scrappers to remain on their stools after nine and seven rounds, respectively, and he didn’t mind showboating as he gradually picked them apart from every conceivable angle.

Although Lomachenko was favored to beat his third opponent of 2017, fellow two-time Olympic gold medalist Guillermo Rigondeaux, he wasn’t expected to have his way with the counter-punching master.

Rigondeaux, who carried a 17-0 pro record into their anticipated showdown at The Theater inside Madison Square Garden, was the older of the two savvy left-handers (37 to 29) and moving up from the 122-pound division, but the Cuban also brought with him a style that many believed was impossible to dominate or look good against.

Lomachenko did both en route to Rigondeaux’s inglorious retirement after six rounds.

Lomachenko downplayed the victory during his post-fight interviews, basically stating that he did what he was supposed to do, but there can be no downplaying of his boxing ability or his rising stature in the sports world.

Lomachenko appears to be on his way to becoming a bona-fide attraction. It was literally standing room only inside the 5,000-seat Theater (with no space for comps or auxiliary media and tickets rumored to be going for three times face value on the secondary market prior to the ESPN-televised card). Promoter Bob Arum says the two-division titleholder will fight at least three times next year, perhaps once in the “big room” of Madison Square Garden. Lomachenko is clearly done with small venues and fighting in front of limited TV audiences.

Lomachenko (right) took Guillermo Rigondeaux apart. Mikey Williams/Top Rank

Lomachenko-Rigondeaux was watched by 1.73 million on ESPN (twice the number of viewers that tuned into a UFC offering on FS1 that was broadcast during the same time slot). It was ESPN’s highest-rated show on December 9, exceeding viewers for the Heisman Trophy presentation and the MLS Cup.

Lomachenko’s future fights will be televised on Top Rank’s new network partner, ESPN, which contributed to his crossover appeal in 2017 and will undoubtedly enhance his popularity in the U.S. in coming years.

For now, he’s the toast of the boxing world, where hardcore fans use his name as an adjective or verb when expounding on their favorite sport via social media. A talented prospect like Josh Kelly might be described as having “Lomachenko-esque” moves. A fighter who is bewildered into submission might be said to have been “Lomachenko’d.”

Lomachenko’s reputation has been established enough in 2017 that boxing geeks now argue how he would fare in a mythical matchup with a prime Floyd Mayweather Jr. at 130 pounds.

However, Lomachenko isn’t interested in the future hall of famer, but rather one of the standouts of Mayweather Promotions, former IBF 130-pound beltholder Gervonta Davis. His “call out” to Davis, which was directed at Mayweather’s official Twitter account, attracted a lot of attention and eventually pulled Mikey Garcia into the social media conversation.

Lomachenko eventually Tweeted a poll of four potential opponents – Miguel Berchelt, Garcia, Davis and Jorge Linares – which has garnered more than 40,000 votes. Garcia and Davis received the most votes, but if he can get any two of the four in the ring in 2018 he’ll likely be a strong candidate for back-to-back Fighter of the Year honors.

Anthony Joshua
Terence Crawford
Mikey Garcia
Srisaket Sor Rungvisai

Following “Fighter of the Year” tradition, Vasyl Lomachenko will feature as cover star in the next issue of RING Magazine.


Vasyl Lomachenko named 2017 RING Magazine Fighter of the Year




By Jerome S. Galunan Jr.-

BACOLOD CITY, Philippines –Reigning World Boxing Organization (WBO) and Ring magazine junior flyweight champion Donnie “Ahas” Nietes (35-4-1, 21KOs) of Murcia and Bacolod is well-prepared to take the challenge from Mexican challenger and former unified WBO/International Boxing Federation (IBF) minimumweight world champ Francisco Rodriguez, Jr. (17-2-1,11KO’s) on July 11 for the Pinoy Pride 31: Clash of World Champions at the Waterfront Cebu City Hotel and Casino.

This was revealed yesterday by ALA gym’s lead trainer Edmund Villamor adding that the longest reigning Filipino champion has the edge over the Mexican when the bell rings.

“Donnie (Nietes) is more experienced than Rodriguez. He has also an edge in skills, speed and power. And, most importantly has the home court advantage,” Villamor said.

In any sport, home court is always an advantage in which gave an athlete more confidence in fighting before his home crowd. However, this doesn’t apply that much to Nietes as he is also undefeated in all his fights in Mexico – beating down his opponents despite the pressure from the home fans.

But, Villamor reiterated that they won’t be that complacent against Rodriguez as he is a former champion who has an impressive record against Filipino fighters including erstwhile WBO minimumweight champion and Bacolod-hailed Merlito ‘Tiger’ Sabillo.

Murcia town Mayor Andrew Montelibano, earlier, stressed that he also believes that the champion will retain his title.

“With the kind of conditioning and training he is in, I believe Donnie (Nietes) will retain his title. I am in contact with him personally and I can see he is more ready than ever,” Montelibano said.

Also featured in Pinoy Pride 31 is co-main event Mark “Magnifico” Magsayo alongside another promising young prospect Kevin Jake Cataraja.

The undefeated Magsayo (10-0) will face Mexican Rafael Reyes (16-4) for the vacant IBF Youth featherweight title while, Cataraja meets Indonesian Ardi Tefa for a 6-round clash.

This boxing event is presented by ALA Promotions International in partnership with ABS-CBN Sports.(WATCHMEN DAILY JOURNAL)

Photo: World champion and longest reigning Filipino champion Donnie ‘Ahas’ Nietes at ALA gym (JAMES TOGA/SCOOP-Bacolod Photo).


By Rene Bonsubre, Jr. –

MANILA – WBO junior flyweight champion Donnie “Ahas” Nietes was presented the Ring magazine lineal world title belt by the publication’s correspondent Anson Wainwright during the final press conference for PINOY PRIDE 30: D-Day at the Solaire Resort and Casino.

The magazine known as the “Bible of Boxing” recognized Nietes as the world champion in the 108 lb division when he stopped Moises Fuentes of Mexico in nine rounds in their rematch at the Mall of Asia Arena last May 10,2014.

He has since defended his title again by seventh round TKO against another Mexican, Carlos Velarde in Cebu City. Nietes(34W-1L-4D,20KO’s) is due for another Mexican opponent Gilberto Parra (19-2,17KO’s), this Saturday at the Araneta Coliseum in Quezon City.

The 32 year old Nietes also broke the 7 year 3 month barrier set by the great Flash Elorde at the start of 2105. In this span where he reigned at minimumweight from 2007 to 2010 before moving up to win a title at junior flyweight, Nietes has beaten ten Mexican opponents.

But his latest challenger Parra is unfazed. Despite the fact that he was not the first reported opponent for Nietes – it was another Mexican fighter, Luis Ceja – Parra stated that he has trained adequately for this title fight.

Nietes was also not bothered by the change in opponents. During the presscon he said that he has seen the tapes of Parra and has prepared for his power right hand. Nietes is confident that his opponent will fall.

Set to appear on this card is multi-division champ Nonito “The Filipino Flash’ Donaire (33-3,21KO’s), who will be going for the NABF super bantamweight title against Brazilian William Prado (22-4-1,15KO’s).

Nietes said that it is a big honor to be fighting in a card with a superstar like Donaire.

Also set to appear at the Big Dome this Saturday are “Prince’ Albert Pagara, who will defend his IBF Inter-continental 122lb division title against Mexican Rodolfo Hernandez, Ryo Akaho of Japan and Prosper Ankrah of Ghana for the WBO International bantamweight title, AJ ‘Bazooka’ Banal will be pitted against Junior Bahawa of Indonesia (8 rounds), Joepher Montano of Bacolod City vs Tyson Maher of Australia (4 rounds), Jeson Umbal vs Eric Panza (8 rounds) and Ralph Lulu vs Gerry Patenio (4 rounds).


Boxing fans were in for a special surprise treat during the celebratory concert by Cuban salsa superstar Willy Chirino at the new Hialeah Park Casino in South Florida which took place Saturday August 30, 2013. Willy Chirino put his performance on pause in front of 10,000 fans of mostly Cuban heritage as new Ring Magazine top 10 P4P fighter and current WBA/WBO Jr. Featherweight World Champion Guillermo “El Chacal” Rigondeaux was  brought on stage to be awarded the Ring Magazine Championship belt  in the Jr. Featherweight division by former fight judge and current representative of Ring Magazine, Chuck Giampa.

Rigondeax was respectful of his comments during the award ceremony about the legendary Hialeah Park racetrack and expressed joy that the new casino would make this gem once again the premier location for South Florida entertainment. In closing he expressed that he is looking forward to the possibility of fighting in front of his adoptive city of Miami at Hialeah Park Racetrack and Casino. Rigondeaux further stated that he is looking for his co-promoters Caribe Promotions and Top Rank to work with HBO to consider the possibility of making boxing history by bringing his next fight to the renowned Hialeah Park Race track and Casino.

Rigondeaux was recognized for his honor by decisively outpointing former WBO Super Bantamweight Champion Nonito Donaire at Radio City Music Hall in New York City in April of this year. Press & Photo Credits:  Creativas Group Public Relations & JC Pixz





By Ronnie Nathanielsz –

Former WBO, Ring Magazine and WBC Diamond super bantamweight champion Nonito “The Filipino Flash” Donaire knew all along that his friend Mikey Garcia would be “too good and had too much power” for former two division champion Juan Manuel “Juanma” Lopez and the possibility of a fight with Lopez for the vacant title if he had won was far-fetched, even though Lopez had announced he wanted to fight Donaire after Garcia.

Donaire told Standard that Garcia is likely to move up in weight because he has had a hard time in making the 126 pound limit but after his 4th round demolition of Lopez, Garcia appeared to have a change of heart.

The younger brother of 2012 “Trainer of the Year” Robert Garcia, who also trains Donaire, had lost his title on the scales when he came in two pounds over the featherweight limit and had to pay a penalty of $150,000 to Lopez who had originally demanded $200,000.

Garcia who reportedly entered the ring at 142 pounds compared to Lopez’ 137.5 said he had failed to make the 126 pound limit because he had missed several days of training and was undecided on whether to stay at 126 or to move up to 130.

Donaire told us a possible fight with Juanma “is out” and that if he has “to go up in weight, I go up but I hope I can get a rematch with Guillermo Rigondeaux” who scored a stunning twelve round decision over Donaire at the Radio City Music Hall in New York last April 13. “it would be better.”

Donaire said he has been training but “nothing hard, just building the body.” He said his shoulder “is coming along well” following surgery after the Rigondeaux fight to remove a bone spur and to mend two torn ligaments.

The undefeated Garcia dropped Lopez with a right straight in round two and sent Lopez crashing to the canvas with a big left hook in round four and referee Raphael Ramos called a halt at 1:35 of the round before a crowd over 5,600 at the American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas.–66693

23MAR13 McMorrow vs. Raoui
by Ryan Songalia
Mar 24th, 2013

Melissa McMorrow made the second successful defense of her WBO and WIBF women’s flyweight titles with a split-decision victory over Nadia Raoui at the GETEC Arena in Magdeburg, Germany. Two judges saw it 99-91 and 96-94 for the San Francisco, Calif. resident McMorrow, while a third had it 96-94 for the native of Herne, Germany Raoui.

McMorrow (9-3, 1 KOs), who won the title by scoring THE RING’s female boxing upset of the year last year by handing Susi Kentikian her first loss in May, came out aggressively as usual, working the midsection of Raoui. Raoui (15-2-1, 3 KOs) took advantage of McMorrow’s eagerness with counter uppercuts, but was met by a flush McMorrow right cross to punctuate the first round.

McMorrow found success upstairs at well to the head, particularly in round four as her Joe Frazier-like bobbing and weaving opened up opportunities for her overhand right. Raoui, whose lone previous defeat came via a split decision to Kentikian in 2010, landed good right hand counters in round five but, without significant power, they failed to halt the momentum of the incumbent champion. McMorrow continued to press the action for the remainder of the ten-round bout.

McMorrow, who is trained and managed by three-time former world title challenger Eddie Croft, has no won three straight since her thrilling split-decision loss to Arely Mucino last February. She is one of three female flyweight titleholders located in California, joined by WBA titleholder Carina Moreno of Watsonville and IBF claimant Ava Knight of Chico.

The fight was an undercard bout supporting the Robert Stieglitz-Arthur Abraham II WBO super middleweight title fight. In addition to German television, McMorrow-Raoui was televised in the United Kingdom by BoxNation and will be shown in America by Epix on a delayed basis.

Photo / Martin Rose-Bongarts