Photo: Will Hart
Two-division world champion and two-time Olympic gold medalist Vasyl Lomachenko will put his World Boxing Organization (WBO) junior lightweight world title on the line against World Boxing Association (WBA) super featherweight world champion Jason "El Canito" Sosa on Saturday, April 8 at the MGM National Harbor in Oxon Hill, Md. The fight between the two world champions will be televised live on HBO World Championship Boxing beginning at 10 p.m. ET/PT.
The non-televised undercard will feature undefeated No. 1 super middleweight contender Jesse “Hard Work” Hart from Philadelphia, Pa., as well as local favorites from the Washington, D.C. metro area, including undefeated prospects Mike “Yes Indeed” Reed and Patrick Harris, fighting in separate bouts. Full details on the undercard will be announced at a later date.
"I would like to thank Jason Sosa, who unlike the other champions, agreed to take this fight to determine the best in this weight division, even though everyone knows I am the division's Papi," said Lomachenko. "I moved up to 130 pounds hoping champions in this division were not cowards like those at 126 pounds. It looks like I was wrong. To all the other 'champions' in the 126-pound and 130-pound divisions, I say this to you: 'You are not champions, you are businessmen. Bad businessmen. By avoiding risks, you cheat the boxing fans and that is bad business.' I came to this sport to prove to myself and others that I am this big and loud champion. So while all of you continue to hide from me, I am going forward to achieve my goals. My next step is on April 8th. See you there!"
"We understand that this is the most difficult fight of our career due to the fact that we are fighting the best fighter - Vasyl Lomachenko - in the history of amateur boxing," said Sosa. "The beauty of all of this is that I only had three amateur fights and will prove to the world that we are by far the better fighter."
Lomachenko (7-1, 5 KOs), of Bilhorod-Dnistrovskyi, Ukraine, makes his 2017 debut coming off a year that saw him named "Fighter of the Year" by several media outlets, including The Fight Game with Jim Lampley. In his last fight, on Nov. 26, 2016, Lomachenko made his first defense of the WBO junior lightweight title, completely dominating previously undefeated former WBA featherweight world champion Nicholas Walters, who quit on his stool after the seventh round. Lomachenko captured his first world title -- the vacant WBO featherweight title -- on June 21, 2014, winning a scintillating majority decision over the previously unbeaten Gary Russell Jr. It was Lomachenko's third professional bout, tying him with Thailand's Saensak Muangsurin for fewest fights to win a world title. Lomachenko first gained international renown by winning gold medals in the 2008 Beijing Olympics and the 2012 London Games as a featherweight and a lightweight, respectively. He retired from the amateurs with a 396-1 record.
Sosa (20-1-4, 15 KOs), from Camden, N.J., and managed by Raul Chino Rivas, enters this fight riding a five-year, 20-bout unbeaten streak which includes 14 knockout victories dating back to 2011. Sosa's been a fan favorite since turning pro in 2009 due to his exciting, aggressive style and strong punching power. He captured the WBA super featherweight world title on June 24, 2016, coming from behind on all three judges' scorecards to knock out undefeated defending champion Javier Fortuna in the 11th round. Sosa successfully defended the title in his last fight, on Nov. 19, 2016, winning a unanimous decision over No. 7 contender Stephen Smith.