In his dominant, one-sided fight against Guillermo Rigondeaux, Vasyl Lomachenko put on display a masterful performance. Despite the anti-climatic finish, six rounds were more than enough for us to identify some great moves that students of the fighting game can utilize to enhance their skills.
As a southpaw, Lomachenko’s game is heavily based on footwork, angles and body positioning. He has a unique way of using the right jab in combination with right uppercuts and hooks and his style can be described in a simple phrase: volume punching.
Before we proceed, please keep in mind that this article is a quick study of this specific fight and not Lomachenko’s complete game. That being said here are ten boxing moves/combinations from the fight between Vasyl Lomachenko and Guillermo Rigondeaux.
Both Rigondeaux and Lomachenko fight from a southpaw stance. Here you can see Lomachenko’s preemptive footwork. He likes to move towards Rigondeaux’s back by steeping slightly to the right and then to the left with his left foot and then keeps moving towards the back as his opponent tries to reset. Vasyl’s footwork reminds me of basketball and how NBA players stay close to their opponents so that the ball is not visible by them and use footwork to constantly change directions to keep them guessing.
The interesting thing about example above is that once Lomachenko moves to the back he does not always attack with a power left hand. Instead, he often chooses to attack with continuous right jabs, thus keeping Rigondeaux guessing. Keep in mind that Guillermo kept bending his hips and crouching really low, often attacking with illegal punches to the groin and that forced Vasyl to adjust his game.
Here is a similar version of the same technique. In this instance, once Rigondeaux tries to follow Lomachenko, he attacks with a right hook and a left cross. His relentless jabs often force opponents to try and duck under in order to clinch or close the distance and Vasyl just follows them and moves to their back.
This is another example of Vasyl following his opponent, constantly moving towards his back. Rigo attacks with a right jab, Lomachenko slips the punch, moves his back foot to the right and keeps moving until he attacks with a left cross from the side. I call this method “follow the ear”. It is based on a Cus D’Amato concept, if you can move towards your opponent’s side, where his ear is fully visible, you have a split second advantage to deliver strikes that your opponent will not be able to counter. So in reality, here Lomachenko is always moving towards Rigo’s right ear, always keeping himself at an advantageous position.
This is an excellent display of aggressive use of the jab. I call this jab the “search-and-destroy” jab. Notice that Lomachenko uses continuous right hands, jabs uppercuts and right hooks. He is relentless in execution and uses constant movement and a machine-gun like rhythm.
Here you can see Lomachenko’s ability to jab while moving and slipping punches using subtle head and hip movement. For Lomachenko, it’s all about adjusting in motion.
In order for fighters to achieve this level of striking they also need to focus on eye training or what is often reffered to as “keeping their eyes on the ball”.
Here Lomachenko jabs and slips a right jab from Guillermo. Instead of counterattacking with a right hook, the jab is his the weapon of choice. Again, please notice how his footwork makes his head move with all punches and it is not a stationary target. This is the best way to keep yourself out of trouble.
Rigondeaux attacks with a right jab, Lomachenko slips right and attacks with a right hook/uppercut to the body. He continues with a jab of his own and blocks an incoming left cross to the body while pivoting left. Lomachenko never stands still, it is always his footwork and his ability to constantly cut angles that keeps him leading the pace.
Lomachenko often confuses his opponents using fakes with his front right hand in order set-up attacks with the left. Here he lifts his right hand up and attacks with a series of straight left hands, a right uppercut, a left cross and a series of jabs to control the distance.
Here is another example of his right hand feints. Please examine the clip above. Like an Olympic style fencer he moves his front hand up and down, in order to close the distance and attack with a left cross to the body to a right hook. In order to mix-things-up you need to go from left to right, high to low and single to double or triple attacks. Remember: it is a lot easier to set the pace than follow the pace. The latter can be an exhausting and demoralizing experience for the fighter who is following.
Here is a last example of these right hand feints. He moves his right hand up-and-down and then attacks with a jab, left cross , jab, left cross. Notice that he combines right jabs and straight left hands, not always mixing hooks in his attacks.
One of Vasyl Lomachenko’s most effective weapons is the uppercut so I had to include such a combo here.
Vasyl jabs and as Rigo uses his crouching stance to stay out of trouble, Lomachenko jabs really low, missing on purpose and then just twists his arm to deliver a right uppercut, followed by a number of left and right uppercuts in order to force Rigondeaux to lift his head back up. Once Guillermo does so, Lomachenko goes back to his bread-and-butter move which is the jab. Beautiful execution.
Let’s not also forget this amazing triple uppercut:
As I expected, Rigondeaux was completely outclassed. He does not have the necessary tools to beat a younger, larger and faster volume puncher like Vasyl. The outcome of this fight was totally predictable.
Lomachenko is a great and unorthodox fighter, and this article is not a complete analysis of his game. I plan to post more techniques of this amazing fighter in the future here on BloodyElbow. I will also continue to analyze important boxing fights as the study of boxing is important in advancing the technical level of modern MMA.
Please join me next week for another breakdown. For a list of my previous technique breakdowns on Bloody Elbow, check out this link.
About the Author: Kostas Fantaousakis is a researcher of fighting concepts, tactics, and techniques, and a state-certified MMA, grappling, and wrestling coach in Greece. He teaches his unique Speedforce MMA mittwork system © which combines strikes, takedowns, knees, and elbows applied in the Continuous Feedback © mittwork system of the Mayweather family. Kostas is a brown belt in BJJ under MMA veteran and BJJ world champion Wander Braga (the teacher of Gabriel Napao Gonzaga).
Follow Kostas on Twitter: https://twitter.com/kostasfant and search #fantmoves for more techniques.
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