Two of boxing's hardest hitters will slug it out when two-division world champion and two-time Olympic gold medalist Vasyl “Hi-Tech” Lomachenko defends his World Boxing Organization junior lightweight title against undefeated former world featherweight champion Nicholas "Axe Man" Walters. Lomachenko vs. Walters takes place Saturday, Nov. 26, at The Chelsea inside The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas. It will be televised live on HBO World Championship Boxing beginning at 10:35 p.m. ET/PT.
"Boxing fans will be able to spend their Thanksgiving holiday weekend feasting on the year's most anticipated showdown," said Hall of Fame promoter Bob Arum. "Forget their weight class. With more than three-quarters of their victories coming by way of knockout, they punch and win like heavyweights. We know how the fight is going to end. The question is, which fighter will end it?"
Known for his aggressive style, hand speed and staggering punch combinations, Ukraine's Lomachenko (6-1, 4 KOs) has quickly ascended the boxing ranks to become one of the best pound-for-pound fighters in the world. In June 2016, Lomachenko moved up a weight class to challenge Roman Martinez for the 130-pound title at Madison Square Garden. Hi-Tech outclassed Martinez en route to a devastating fifth-round knockout victory -- he outlanded the Puerto Rican 87 to 34, per CompuBox -- winning the title to become the fastest boxer to claim a world title in two weight divisions.
"I want to thank HBO and Bob Arum for giving me this opportunity to test myself in the fight with the best," said Lomachenko. "Walters, you are next on my list."
Walters (26-0-1, 21 KOs), from Montego Bay, Jamaica, has won 11 of his last 14 fights by stoppage. A former amateur standout who collected gold medals at the 2007 Pan American Games Qualifier III and the 2005 and 2007 Caribbean Championships, Walters is known for his expert boxing skills, movement and two-fisted punching power. In his last fight, on Dec. 19, 2015, Walters moved up to the junior lightweight division and took on top-10 contender Jason Sosa, who entered the fight riding a 17-bout unbeaten streak. Walters and Sosa fought to a controversial majority draw in a bout where most observers had Walters winning by a wide margin.
"Any fighter can be knocked out no matter who he is," said Walters. "I like fighting the best and I like fighting against great technical fighters like Lomachenko. Look at what happened when I fought a great technical fighter like Nonito Donaire. Lomachenko is great, he knows what he is doing in the ring. But I always look for a knockout against whomever I fight. If I can do it quick, I will. This is the best fight out there in boxing today. It will be the Fight of the Year."