RingTV.com has a live, round-by-round update of Saturday's featherweight clash of southpaws between former amateur standouts Gary Russell Jr. and Vasyl Lomachenko at StubHub Center in Carson, Calif., for the right to be called the winner of the WBO's vacant belt.
It is a battle being fought against the backdrop of a much larger battle with Russell (24-0, 14 knockouts), 26, calling his match-up with Lomachenko (1-1, 1 KO) a potential "breakthrough" in the long-running "Cold War" that has prevented Top Rank Promotions' fighters from facing those promoted by Golden Boy Promotions and advised by the powerful Al Haymon.
Not only is there a bitter rivalry between the promotional companies, Golden Boy and Top Rank, but Haymon and Top Rank CEO Bob Arum are also adversaries.
Russell is advised by Haymon and promoted by Golden Boy, the latter of which out-bid Top Rank for the bout's promotional rights and had appealed to the WBO for a 50/50 split of the purse between the Maryland-based Russell and the Ukrainian Lomachenko based on Golden Boy's belief that Lomachenko resided in California.
The WBO regulations states, "If the fight is held in the country of origin, residence or nationality of one of the contenders, the resident contestant shall receive 40 percent and his opponent shall receive 60 percent off the total purse offered."
The WBO determined that Lomachenko is entitled a favorable 60-40 advantage in accordance with an organization regulation which allows Lomachenko to receive $631,350 compared to $420,900 for Russell – career highs for both boxers.
Russell was a 2008 U.S. Olympian, qualifying for the team but never competing due to missing the weigh-in. Russell was declared by Valcarcel in October to be the WBO’s mandatory challenger to face then-beltholder Orlando Salido.
The ruling did not preclude Salido from making a voluntary defense against Lomachenko, which the two-time Olympic gold medalist did on March 1. Lomachenko fell by split decision but Salido lost his belt at the scales after failing to make the 126-pound weight limit.
As a result, the title was rendered vacant.
The Showtime broadcast begins at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT
Russell Jr. vs. Lomachenko
Refresh this page often for updates.
Referee: Jack Reiss
Judges: Pat Russell, Lisa Giampa, Max DeLuca
Round 1: Russell comes out firing his quick jab and enough power shots to win the round. Lomachenko spent much of the round trying to corner his quick opponent. He succeeded at times, landing eye-catching blows to make the round competitive. The fighters are both remarkabilty quick and skillful.
Round 2: Close round. This is a chess match between two very quick, powerful young fighters. Russell is still popping his jab more consistently than Lomachenko is and following with some power shots, although none were truly eye-catching. Lomachenko landed some hard body shots that got the attention of the crowd.
Round 3: Russell remains a little busier, throwing his jab and fast combinations. I'm not sure many are landing, though. Lomachenko is the one landing noticeable punches. He landed a few more to the body and one to head in that round, each of which surely caught the eyes of the judges.
Round 4: Russell remains the busier fighter and did a little better than round, finding Lomachenko's head on a number of occasions. That's saying something; the Ukrianian is a terrific defensive fighter. The same can be said of Russell, though. He took only one or two eye-catching punches that round.
Round 5: Good round for Lomachenko. He cracked Russell with a number of good shots to the head and body early. Then, with about a minute to go, he seemed to stun Russell with a punch to the head. That was followed by a ferocious attack by Lomachenko, who landed many hard shots to the head and body. Russell weathered the storm and fired back before the bell.
Round 6: Good round for Russell. He came out more aggressively and clearly outworked Lomachenko, who more or less took the round off. Russell scored with rapid-fire combinations even if he never hurt Lomachenko.
Round 7: Russell had outworked Lomachenko for most of the round when the Ukrainian landed a series of punishing shots to the head and body that seemed to hurt Russell. As a result, Lomachenko probably stole the round.
Round 8: Good round for Russell. Once again, he was the much busier fighter, clearlly outworking Lomachenko. And this time the Ukrainian couldn't catch Russell with hard punches to slow him down.
Round 9: Lomachenko is trying to win rounds one punch at a time. It didn't work in Round 9. He's throwing occasional shots while Russell is keeping busy, jabbing, following with power shots, working hard.
Round 10: Lomacheno bounced back that round, fightling with purpose. He threw a higher volumn of punches and many landed, including a punishing uppercut that almost lifted Russell off his feet toward the end of the round. When Lomachenko is busy, he does very well.
Round 11: The fighters threw a similar number of punches, which worked in Lomachenko's favor. He landed the harder, more eye-catching shots, which has been the case when he has worked hard. Russell held his own, though. The round was reasonably close.
Round 12: Lomachenko hurt Russell late in the round. If he had more time, he might've scored a knockout. Until then, it was a fairly close round, although Lomachenko seemed to land the harder, clearner shots once again.
Official scores: 116-112, 116-112 and 114-114, a majority-decision victory for Lomachenko. Lisa Giampa scored it a draw. THE RING had it 115-113 for Lomachenko.