Irish Super Featherweight John Joe Nevin has revealed the eccentric sparring sessions he had with pound-for-pound great Vasyl Lomachenko and says he was always “two steps ahead.”
Nevin (14-0, 4 KOs) shared the ring with the Ukrainian star in 2011, as the pair prepared for the 2012 Olympics, with Nevin claiming a silver medal, losing to Luke Campbell in the final, whilst Lomachenko won a second successive gold, adding to his success in the 2008 tournament.
And the 32-year-old admits Lomachenko was almost impossible to catch, even when he sported larger gloves and weights attached to his ankles.
Recalling the sparring in Kiev, Nevin told Pro Boxing Fans: “It was like you were doing a bit of shadow boxing, he’s that hard to hit.
“He’ll only let you hit him if he’s trying to set you up for something.
“So, if you’re having a bit of success here, he’s probably two steps ahead of you planning a nasty shot for you.
“He’d go around with these big 20 oz gloves, whilst everyone else was wearing, 14 or 16 oz at the time.
“He’s going around with these massive paddings, wearing these ankle weights and he was still quick as quick, quicker than any other lad he sparred.
“He’s just tremendous, the stuff he comes up with.”
Lomachenko, who has gone on to become a three-weight World champion is on course to unify his Lightweight World titles against IBF holder Teofimo Lopez, with a September date reportedly targeted, following an enforced break.
And Nevin believes sparring the Ukrainian star, who he says is the best fighter he has shared a ring with will only benefit his career, as he plots his own path towards a World title.
When asked how he tried to nullify Lomachenko, Nevin continued: “Obviously trying to hit him, trying to land some punches on him and again if he was trying to punch back.
“If you made him miss with his hand speed, you’re doing something right.
“It was good, it was nice to share a ring with such talent like him and you’re only going to get better sparring the likes of him.”
Nevin won his first professional title in November, with an impressive unanimous decision victory over Freddy Fonseca at York Hall to take the vacant WBA Super-Featherweight crown.
However, the Mullingar man has set his sights on Irish pair Jono Carroll and James Tennyson, once crowds are permitted.
“I’m rated #14 with the WBA now, so one or two fights away really from getting a major shot at someone,” Nevin added.
“There’s many bouts there for me, I know Jono Carroll is looking at Carl Frampton, that would be a tremendous fight, but if it doesn’t happen, I’m rated in the top #15 now with the WBA.
“I know it could be a step back for him, but it makes sense for the Irish people to see that fight.
“It would be a big fight in Ireland, again Tennyson is there, there’s many good fights for me there.
“With the Irish audience that’s there, they’d love to see those two fights, it would bring out the crowds when the crowds are allowed back in.
“No one every heard of Jono Carroll before John Joe Nevin.
“John Joe Nevin was the name there, Jono Carroll has actually done very well for himself in the pro game and has come through and now he’s well known through the world.
“But again, I think the audience that we’d bring out for them. Me vs Jono Carroll or James Tennyson, them two fights would make sense.
“They’re the fights I want to be in before I go after a title, or maybe who knows for a World title.”
Nevin has a close friendship with former UFC star Conor McGregor, who announced his retirement from the sport earlier this month, having sparred both him and Artem Lobov.
However, Nevin is not ruling out McGregor making a U-turn on his decision to hang up his gloves and has drawn on the challenges of sparring ‘The Notorious.’
“I’ve actually done a few rounds with him [McGregor] in the gym,” Nevin recalled.
“I’ve done a few rounds with Artem Lobov, I’ve done a bit with him, so I’m always at the gym, I’m always at his gym in Dublin.
“Obviously they’re going to have different styles, they have their own styles and it’s something you don’t see everyday, it’s challenging, it’s very interesting.
“Obviously when they’re sparring me, they’re saying the same things.
“It can be very challenging trying to figure out what they’re going to come up with next.”
When asked if he thought McGregor would remain retired, Nevin added: “You never have Conor. He says something here today and then come back with a big, major shock next week that he’s fighting some big name.
“You never have Conor so I wouldn’t read too much into that.”
Fans can watch the interview here: https://www.proboxing-fans.com/