Ukraine’s Vasiliy Lomachenko beats Jamaine Ortiz in return from military service

Ukrainian boxer Vasiliy Lomachenko won Saturday night via unanimous decision in a contest over the previously unbeaten Jamaine Ortiz.

Lomachenko (17-2), a three-time lightweight champion, hopes the victory will push him closer to another shot at the title.

“You know what motivated me?” Lomachenko said. “Four belts!”

Vasiliy Lomachenko, right, punches Jamaine Ortiz during a lightweight boxing match Sunday, Oct. 30, 2022, in New York. 
(AP Photo/Adam Hunger)

With a swollen eye and a smile, he added: “Look, I’m ready. I’m ready for any option.”

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For the fight, Lomachenko wore trunks that had military camouflage with Ukraine’s blue-and-yellow flag along the belt. After a slow start, the two-time Olympic gold medalist slowly overcame Ortiz’s 3 1/2-inch reach advantage.

The judges scored the contest 117-111, 116-112 and 115-113, for the Ukrainian.

With the win, Lomachenko is hoping for a shot at Devin Haney, the undisputed lightweight champion.

Vasiliy Lomachenko reacts after his a lightweight boxing match against Jamaine Ortiz Sunday, Oct. 30, 2022, in New York. 

Vasiliy Lomachenko reacts after his a lightweight boxing match against Jamaine Ortiz Sunday, Oct. 30, 2022, in New York. 
(AP Photo/Adam Hunger)

The fight was the Ukrainian’s first since he chose to put his boxing career on hold to fight against Russian forces who invaded his home country in February.

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Following the victory, he intends to head back to Ukraine to continue helping his home country. He will also help relocate his family back to an area of Ukraine they believe is secure.

Vasiliy Lomachenko punches Jamaine Ortiz, right, during a lightweight boxing match Saturday, Oct. 29, 2022, in New York. 

Vasiliy Lomachenko punches Jamaine Ortiz, right, during a lightweight boxing match Saturday, Oct. 29, 2022, in New York. 
(AP Photo/Adam Hunger)

When he resumes fighting, boxing promoter Bob Arum said it would make sense to make his next opponent Haney.

“The fight to make in the lightweight division is Haney versus Lomachenko, and we will do everything we can to make the undisputed championship showdown that all fight fans want to see,” Arum said. “They are the world’s premier lightweights, and it would be a fantastic battle.”

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Haney, who was sitting ringside watching the event, said he did not think Lomachenko’s performance was his best but that he would be open to fighting him.

“I think it wasn’t the best performance, but I know if me and Loma were to fight, we’d see a better version on the night,” Haney said.

Vasiliy Lomachenko, right, punches Jamaine Ortiz during a lightweight boxing match Saturday, Oct. 29, 2022, in New York. 

Vasiliy Lomachenko, right, punches Jamaine Ortiz during a lightweight boxing match Saturday, Oct. 29, 2022, in New York. 
(AP Photo/Adam Hunger)

He also joined him in the ring, telling the victor: “Congratulations, and hopefully we can get it on.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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