Lomachenko-Lopez Looking At September Clash
Sometimes, sacrifices must be made to accomplish a goal. That is what Top Rank’s Bob Arum is dealing with at the moment when it comes to booking a lightweight bout between Teofimo Lopez and Vasiliy Lomachenko.
Speaking with Boxing Scene, Arum discussed alternate plans that were in place for IBF Lightweight Champion Lopez (15-0) and WBA, WBO, and WBC Lightweight Champion Lomachenko (14-1). The two were meant to fight one another in March, but the coronavirus affected the booking. Even if they have to wait a few more months, the two do not want any shortcuts when it comes to fighting one another.
“The original plan was to give them each an interim fight,” Arum stated. “Loma was against that, and so was Lopez. We said, ‘Listen, we’re gonna postpone it because we don’t know when we can get a live audience.’ And our plan was in June and July to give Loma a fight and give Lopez a fight. And they each turned that down. They said they’re prepared to wait until September to fight each other.”
While September is a ways away, it is unknown the situation surrounding Lomachenko. As of now, travel into and out of the United States is impossible due to restrictions. Lomachenko is in Ukraine right now, waiting for his opportunity at more gold.
Lopez turned professional in 2016. He won NABF gold in 2018 and ended up knocking out Richard Commey back in December to win the IBF Lightweight Title. The 22-year-old has twelve wins via knockout.
Lomachenko won gold in his first professional fight in 2013. He ended up winning the WBO Featherweight Title in his third fight. Holding junior-featherweight gold as well, “Loma” won the WBA Lightweight Title from Jorge Linares. He has since beaten Jose Pedraza (for the WBO title), Anthony Crolla, and Luke Campbell. That last bout was in August, where he won the WBC Lightweight Title.
Top Rank is looking to hold events in June. Arum has been adamant about holding fights like Lomachenko-Lopez and Wilder-Fury with crowds. However, the fighters are looking to do whatever it takes to compete. They are willing to make the necessary sacrifices.
“We wanted to stall for time, until we were able to do the fight with a live audience,” Arum went on to say. “But it’s clear that each of them wanna go right into that fight, so that’s what we’re gonna be planning for September, with or without an audience.”
“Obviously, we would love to do that fight with an audience. But again, how realistic is that? When are we gonna be able to do fights with an audience? Once we get Loma here, which Egis [Klimas, Lomachenko’s manager] tells me we’re gonna try to bring him here in the beginning of June, then we’re gonna set a date for that fight. And if we can’t do it with spectators, we’re gonna still do the fight. It may very well be that we have to do that fight without spectators. But we can’t keep everybody waiting while we hope to open it up to spectators.”
Events outside of the United States have been an option, as Arum knows the profits that can come from that. Matchroom Boxing is currently in the process of working out that plan.
If everything regarding travel, testing, and training can work out well, Lomachenko-Lopez could end up being the first big fight to be held as boxing slowly makes its way back into the world.