Washington (AFP) - Vasyl Lomachenko, who has established himself as one of boxing's most explosive talents in just eight pro bouts, puts his World Boxing Organization super featherweight title on the line Saturday against American Jason Sosa.
Two-time Olympic gold medalist Lomachenko is widely regarded as one of the top pound-for-pound fighters in the world on the back of building a 7-1 pro record.
He won the WBO featherweight world title in 2014 -- in his third professional fight -- and grabbed the super featherweight belt with a knockout victory over Roman Martinez on June 11 of last year.
In November, he dismantled Jamaica's Nicholas Walters, whose corner threw in the towel after seven rounds of a lopsided bout.
Lomachenko's speed, skill and power have made top fighters in the super featherweight ranks reluctant to face him, according to his promoters Top Rank.
Top Rank chairman Bob Arum, who promoted such greats as Muhammad Ali, says he's "never seen" a fighter with the skill set Lomachenko boasts.
Enter Sosa, who got the call after Orlando Salido declined a rematch with Lomachenko -- who is eager to avenge the only defeat on his record, for the vacant WBO featherweight belt in 2014.
Jezreel Corrales, holder of the World Boxing Association belt, also opted against taking on Lomachenko before Sosa, who brings a record of 20-1 with four drawn and 15 knockouts to the bout, got the call.
"I have to be ready to fight one of the top pound-for-pound fighters in the world and the best amateur fighter that ever lived," said the 29-year-old Sosa, a former WBA champion. "At the end of the day, my team and I have got to be prepared. We want to fight the best. Lomachenko is the best in our weight division right now. That's what boxing is all about."
But Lomachenko goes in the heavy favorite in a bout that will mark the first fight card at the MGM National Harbor in Oxon Hill in suburban Washington DC.
"For me, it's kind of like a historical thing because other big names opened Madison Square Garden, other hotels, other casinos," Lomachenko said at the final pre-fight press conference. "This for me means I can put that into my history."