When Will Vasiliy Lomachenko Vs. Teofimo Lopez Take Place?
Ever since Top Rank returned to action at the beginning of June, competitive bouts have slowly been turning into title fights. Bob Arum has been adamant that huge title fights should have crowds to watch them, to create a revenue. With Las Vegas appearing to loosen up when it comes to coronavirus conditions, a lightweight clash may be ready to be booked.
Arum recently told Boxing Scene a date that is being looked at for a fight between IBF Lightweight Champion Teofimo Lopez (15-0) and WBA, WBO, and WBC Lightweight Champion Vasiliy Lomachenko (14-1). With September on his mind, Arum might be looking towards the end of the month.
“Our tentative date for that fight is the 19th of September,” Arum said. “That’s when we’re hoping to do it. It could be at the MGM Grand. It could be at the Mandalay Bay, which is re-opening soon. It could be at T-Mobile [Arena]. It would really be up to them.”
Originally, Arum was considering having the fight inside Allegiant Stadium, home of the now-Las Vegas Raiders.
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 at one point, “Loma” won the WBA Lightweight Title from Jorge Linares. He has since beaten Jose Pedraza for the WBO title and Luke Campbell in August, where he won the WBC Lightweight Title.
Arum initially had them fighting in tune-up fights, which was rejected. Both fighters want to face one another right away.
“The original plan was to give them each an interim fight,” Arum ended up stating to Boxing Scene. “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.”
Top Rank has been hosting events inside “The Bubble”, which has secluded fighters and Top Rank personnel from others. This is complying with the Nevada Atheltic Commission following boxing’s approval to return to action. No fans have been at any events the promotion has held.
As far as when fans will be allowed, Arum believes the Lomachenko-Lopez fight would be the perfect fight to experiment. If all goes according to plan, the end of the month could see a select number of fans watching boxing live, while following safety guidelines.
“In August, we’ll continue to have all ‘Bubble’ fights, with no spectators,” Arum stated. “I think starting in September, you’ll see us doing fights with spectators, small numbers of spectators. And hopefully, by the end of this year and the beginning of next year, we’ll be back to fights with full capacity [at venues].”