MANILA, Philippines -- Filipino mixed martial arts phenom and ONE Championship strawweight Lito "Thunder Kid" Adiwang was an interested spectator when Vasiliy Lomachenko of the Ukraine and Teofimo Lopez of the United States faced off in a lightweight unification bout over the weekend.
Having started his martial arts career as a boxer, Adiwang was excited for the showdown where four belts were at stake.
Lopez emerged as the winner after scoring a unanimous decision over Lomachenko. It was a shocker as Lomachenko was a 3-1 favorite, and very few expected Lopez to outbox one of the most technically gifted boxers of this generation.
Like many boxing fans, Adiwang was surprised at how the match unfolded. Lomachenko took a while to get going, and was timid for the first seven rounds of the bout. As a result, Lopez built up an early lead before holding off Lomachenko late. He won with scores of 117-111, 119-109, and 116-112.
Adiwang said he agreed with the judges' decision, even though he understood Lomachenko's game plan.
"I respect the judges' decision. I love Lomachenko's boxing style and skills. He had his dominant rounds in this fight, but honestly, I think Lomachenko did throw a lot of rounds and Lopez was clever enough to capitalize on it, especially earning a lot of points while Lomachenko wasn't active," Adiwang explained.
"I have to agree with the decision on this one," he added.
Adiwang felt that Lomachenko wanted Lopez to tire himself out with his activity in the first half of the fight, and believed that the American would eventually slow down.
It was a "great strategy," said Adiwang, but Lomachenko ended up giving away too many of the early rounds and starting too late.
"Four rounds would have been enough for Lomachenko. If he started going to work from the fifth round, this would have been a different story," said the 27-year-old Filipino standout.
"But the way it played out, Lopez took rounds until the seventh, and Lomachenko had a hard time catching up on the scorecards. It was an uphill battle from there," he added.
There is no rematch clause in the Lomachenko-Lopez contract, but Adiwang is hopeful that the two parties will come to an agreement for another meeting.
"I think a rematch is in order. Honestly, I enjoyed the fight but it wasn't the outcome I expected. I am hoping for a rematch because I know it's going to be even more exciting and dramatic than the first," said Adiwang.
"Now that they have both tasted each other's skills and power, I am excited to see what adjustments each man makes in the rematch," he added.
It remains to be seen if a rematch will take place, however, especially as Lopez is already eyeing a showdown with WBC world lightweight champion Devin Haney. A Lopez-Haney showdown would crown the undisputed lightweight champion of the world.