Losing is important in a fighter’s career. For Vasyl Lomachenko, that came early in his second pro fight with Orlando Salido. Chasing something fighters don’t go after, Lomachenko continued to prove he wasn’t a professional to be coddled. He’d done almost 400 amateur fights, as is parroted quite often. His pro debut was against Jose Luis Ramirez who was 25-3 at the time. Against Salido, Lomachenko was chasing a major world title, the WBO World Featherweight title specifically. Salido was 41-12-2 at the time and didn’t seem to be a big step up. Except it would be.
Don’t forget to check out A Career Recap With Vasyl Lomachenko Part 1: Jose Ramirez!
In all of boxing today, there’s not a fighter more technical than Vasyl Lomachenko. While Canelo Alvarez might be the more accomplished and Bud Crawford might show some of the highest IQ, as a boxer, none are better than the Ukrainian. Lomachenko has blazed a path from featherweight all the way up to lightweight. He’s…Read Part 1 Here
Orlando Salido was seen as the sacrificial lamb for Lomachenko. Never had a fighter captured a World Championship in only his or her second fight. The record was held by Saensak Muangsurin who won a welterweight title in his third pro fight. Lomachenko was listed as a massive favorite, getting up to -700 in Las Vegas. But Salido had other plans. He intended to make the young man prove his grit and determination. In this fight, Salido fought incredibly dirty. Scheduled for 126 pounds, Salido missed weight and weighed in at 128 and 147 the day of the fight. Lomachenko was 136. It was his father’s and the rest of his team’s inexperience of not putting a stipulation on what Salido could weigh in at on the day of the fight that came back to bite Lomachenko and company.
While Orlando Salido was rounding the Cape of Good Hope, his veteranship also played a big part in the fight. What we would see from Salido, albeit controversial, is a gameplan that implemented his size and body work to slow Lomachenko down. Salido would easily walk through Lomachenko’s best punches until the end and almost always get back the punches Lomachenko landed. Let’s dive in.
Vasyl Lomachenko vs. Orlando Salido: A Recap
The entire story of Vasyl Lomachenko losing to Orlando Salido was veteranship. Salido had the huge advantage when it comes to professional experience. While Lomachenko had the amount of amateur fights he did, it didn’t make up for the 55 pro fights Salido had under his belt. Orlando Salido knew how to bring the fight to a young fighter and it showed all night.
Now, Salido did come in massively overweight and after watching the fight, it’s obvious that it was the gameplan the entire time. Orlando Salido may have decided to give up the shot at a belt, but he did well to use those advantages. The entire fight, Salido dared the young and inexperienced Lomachenko to hit him all night knowing that he would have the openings to get to the body and try to slow the young star down. Early in the first round, we see Salido daring Vasyl Lomachenko to fire first so he can implement his body work.
Near the end of round one, we see a new layer of footwork for Vasyl Lomachenko. In his pro debut against Jose Ramirez, Lomachenko consistently took the outside foot advantage and overwhelmed Ramirez with volume. Here, we can see Lomachenko step to the side trying to anticipate where Salido was going to be next.
Throughout the fight, Salido would work the body to slow down Vasyl Lomachenko. But that would not be what happened. Instead Lomachenko would be a little too patient. While he was selecting his punches, Salido already knew what he was going to do: punch the body. Rounds 2, 3 and onward were just that. Salido would come out of the round and push the head hunting for a bit and get Lomachenko on the backfoot.
Losing wasn’t the end of Lomachenko’s career. The loss to Salido provided some very good building blocks for the young Ukrainian. Just above, we see that patented pivot that Lomachenko uses in fights today. Lomachenko dips under the punch and pivots around 180 degrees to a new angle. This isn’t the first time he’s done this, but it is the best example he’s done as a professional. While he didn’t capitalize off of it with offense there, it was the genesis of what we know Lomachenko to be now.
Any damage Lomachenko would do was negligible. The size advantage Salido had was a boon in the amount of damage he was able to take and played into his hands. He was able to continue to walk through Lomachenko’s best punches for most of the fight.
After all the body work from Salido, most of which went through unabated, Lomachenko would decide to start blocking the body shots. Orlando Salido would be quite predictable in his gameplan by round 5. His going to the body would be seen coming from a mile away by Loma and his inexpierence would let him get to round six before actually dropping the elbow. This is probably due to the lack of emphasis on body work in amateur competition.
And this would be the theme the rest of the fight. Lomachenko stays out and point fights the entire fight as Orlando Salido dips and comes in with the hooks to the body content to eat one to get two. Lomachenko would have to contend with this as well as the low blows from Salido all night. It became a theme of the fight. While Lomachenko would find good combinations, like the one above, Salido would punch to the body and Lomachenko would inevitably get caught with sixty-seven low blows. But Lomachenko handled it with poise and didn’t complain about the horrible reffing once.
Finally, in round 12, Salido would waiver and near the end of the round, would be wobbled. Lomachenko was in the 12th round and would show that he’s ready for the big leagues, sure enough. He hunted the finish he desperately needed in round 12 but could not get one. Salido would be named the victor of the night, putting a stop to Lomachenko’s youngest-champion plans.
Vasyl Lomachenko: Learning from Losses
The loss put Vasyl Lomachenko at a 1-1 record. As an amateur, he never sniffed a .500 record and this was new territory for him. The fight we reviewed showed that while Vasyl Lomachenko was clearly the better boxer, the better boxer does not always win and that it would take more than skill to win a World Championship. But, Lomachenko would learn from this and we saw new folds of the Ukrainian in his fight with Orlando Salido. This would be the foundation for Lomachenko going forward and he would carry it into his fight with Gary Russell Jr. Arguably a better win, he would carry the lessons learned against Orlando Salido to his next fight and beyond.
If you’re wanting an even deeper dive on Vasyl Lomachenko, consider checking out Vasyl Lomachenko: Layers on Patreon. It’s a deep dive on the footwork of Lomachenko using the recent Richard Commey fight. We talk the outside foot advantage, where that can lead and strike speed variability. For only $5 a month you get access to that and the rest of the Patreon exclusive post that include video, podcasts, and articles. Or, just sign up for a month and check out the Layers post!