On December 8, New York's Hulu Theater will host the fight between Vasyl Lomachenko and Jose Pedraza. The latter will defend his WBO champions' belt in the lightweight category; Lomachenko, on the other hand, will try snatching the belt from him. 112 International offers the audience - at least, those interested in boxing - to get acquainted with Vasyl Lomachenko's next opponent.
Jose Gonzalez Pedraza was born May 8, 1989. His amateur career includes the final of World Amateur Championships in Milan in 2009, the participation in 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing and prizes of continental competitions. The decent career in the amateur division allowed him to switch to the professional career rather early.
In his maiden fight against another debutant Felix Riviera, Pedraza knocked out the opponent in the very first round. The Puerto-Rican spent five years in the Americas, making his rank and status grow until he made it to his first title bout for the IBF World Super belt. Pedraza defeated Andrei Klimov, with the victory granted by the unanimous decision.
In 2017, Pedraza lost to Gervonta Davis, the protegee of the legendary Floyd Mayweather. The fighters put up a great bout; in Round 7, Davis managed to send Pedraza to a knockdown. HE got up, but the referee stopped the fight.
After his first defeat in the professional career, Pedraza went for a long-lasting recovery, which took more than a year. However, 2018 has been (so far) quite successful for him; the Puerto Rican overmatched Jose Rodriguez, Antonio Morana and Ray Beltran; the latter lost his WBO lightweight title to Pedraza. A nice upper-cut, Beltran's subsequent knockdown and the following series of blows against him brought Pedraza victory and the WBO belt.
Beating Beltran, Pedraza found himself in position to fight against Lomachenko, as he signed the respective contract before the title bout with Beltran. The very status of this fight is quite important for Pedraza; he has so far only reached the top fighters to fight against, but never actually became the top fighter himself. He has enough knowledge and skills to make it to the top, but he simply can't stay there for a long time.
Pedraza's coach Luiz Espada realizes that his fighter needs to boost speed and power, which is vital in the bout against Lomachenko.
'Lomachenko may have found boxing easier before, but with the oppponent like Pedraza, with his skills and brain, this fight will not be an easy one', he said.
It's practically impossible to catch the Ukrainian, but one needs to counter his flash-like movements in the ring. Punching needs work, too, as Pedraza never KO'd his opponents since 2014. His rich amateur career brought him a great arsenal of skills and moves. Though not deadly in terms of power, his combos reach the target quite often. Some even refer to him as 'The Sniper'. But Lomachenko still had a more versatile career than Pedraza did, so his opponent will have to think of something else.