Tag Archives: Vasiliy Lomachenko

Jorge Linares Leaning Towards Vasiliy Lomachenko In Possible Teofimo Lopez Rematch: “I Think This Time, Lopez Can Lose The Fight, Lomachenko Is Back”

Posted on 07/06/2021

By: Hans Themistode

Like most, Jorge Linares was completely taken aback with what took place when Vasiliy Lomachenko and Teofimo Lopez squared off late last year. Having shared the ring with the Ukrainian, Linares expected the pound-for-pound star to take care of business against his explosive, yet inexperienced opponent.

Those thoughts, however, simply didn’t come to fruition as Lopez went on to dominate the first half of their contest before holding on down the stretch for a unanimous decision victory.

From the moment Lopez was handed the win, Lomachenko claimed that he should have, in fact, been announced the winner or, at the very least, been given a draw. He immediately asked for a rematch but was denied by the 23-year-old. Instead of continuing to pursue a rematch with Lopez by using his words, Lomachenko figured that the best way to get his rival back into the ring was by sending him a violent message.

Just a few weeks ago, Lomachenko made his return by taking on the highly-rated Masayoshi Nakatani. While the Japanese fighter gave Lopez all he could handle in a losing effort in 2019, Lomachenko ran right through him, stopping him in the ninth round. That performance has Linares not only believing that Lomachenko vs. Lopez 2 is likely next but also, that this time around, the outcome could be completely different.

“I think he can have the rematch with Lopez,” said Linares during an interview with SnowQueenLA. “I think this time, Lopez can lose the fight.”

Although Linares came up short in his bid to dethrone Lomachenko in 2018, the Venezuelan product floored his man in the sixth round and fought him tooth and nail. Unfortunately for Linares, however, his efforts weren’t enough as he ultimately succumbed to a 10th round body shot.

The loss for Linares may have been difficult to swallow but he watched from afar as Lomachenko continued to win fight after fight. What Linares believes he noticed though, was that while Lomachenko was continuing to rack up the wins, he didn’t look quite as dominant.

To the Ukrainian though, his lackluster performances against Lopez and others had nothing to do with whom he was fighting. Instead, it had everything to do with an injured right shoulder. He’s since gone under the knife and by all accounts, appears to be back to his old dominant self.

The performance of Lomachenko not only impressed Linares but also promoter Bob Arum and father of Lopez in Teofimo Lopez Sr.

“I wasn’t thinking about Lomachenko in the past,” said Lopez Sr. after watching Lomachenko stop Nakatani. “But after this performance, I think that the public wants to see this fight. I think I can convince my son to fight him again.”

Before any rematch can be made, Lopez first has to deal with mandatory challenger, George Kambosos Jr. The two had their original bout re-scheduled due to Lopez contracting COVID-19 and will now face off on August 14th.

In the mind of most, Lopez is expected to take care of business against the undefeated Australian native. Should that happen, all roads to Lomachenko vs. Lopez 2 are now clear. If the two do in fact, step into the ring again, Linares warns Lopez of a completely different Lomachenko for their sequel.

“Now, Lomachenko is back.”

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Calvin Ford On Possible Vasiliy Lomachenko Vs. Gervonta Davis Matchup: “Why Should We Fight Loma? When We Wanted To Fight Him, He Didn’t Want To Fight Us”

Posted on 06/30/2021

By: Hans Themistode

It was somewhat ironic to have both Gervonta Davis and Vasiliy Lomachenko compete on the same night. The pair have had a long feud with one another but have yet to settle their differences in the ring.

This past weekend at the State Farm Arena in Atlanta Georgia, Davis moved up two weight divisions to take on Mario Barrios for the WBA “Regular” super lightweight world title. Davis would go on to drop Barrios three times before ultimately stopping him in the 11th.

As for Lomachenko, he to would end his night early, dropping Masayoshi Nakatani several times and stopping him in the ninth round at the Virgin Hotels, in Las Vegas, Nevada.

With both men stepping into the ring on the exact same night, many have wondered whether or not they’ll ever face each other. Well, according to Calvin Ford, trainer of Davis, he claims that team Davis attempted to make that fight happen quite some time ago.

“We thought that fight was going to happen before the pandemic,” said Ford during an interview with ESNews.com. “Lomachenko’s team messed up. They studied long, they studied wrong, guess who got the belts now?”

At the moment, Davis does hold a multitude of belts in multiple weight classes simultaneously. The Baltimore native is in possession of the WBA title at 130, 135 and 140 pounds, however, they are all “Regular” titles. For Lomachenko, on the other hand, he’s never shown an interest in fighting for a secondary title. He has though, called for a showdown against Davis on numerous occasions.

Nevertheless, Davis has also stated several times over that if a matchup against Lomachenko can take place on pay-per-view, he would be more than willing to take him on. With that said, it appears as though the expiration date on their showdown has now expired. In the mind of Ford, he has no interest in matching up his young star with Lomachenko at this point. In Ford’s opinion, the Ukrainian has been highly disrespectful to Davis in the past. Now, with the amount of money his fighter is making, Ford believes they call the shots and what that ultimately means, is don’t expect to see the two in the ring anytime soon.

“Ask yourself, why should we fight Loma? When we wanted to fight him, he didn’t want to fight us. He wouldn’t even mention our name and that’s just real talk. Go back and check the records. We wanted to fight him but they wouldn’t give it to us. He kept saying who is tank? Tank is that cash cow now.”

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Teofimo Lopez Sr.: “I Wasn’t Thinking About Lomachenko But After This Performance, The Public Wants To See This Fight, I Think I Can Convince My Son To Fight Him Again”

Posted on 06/27/2021

By: Hans Themistode

Teofimo Lopez Sr. always believed that despite the naysayers, his son, Teofimo Lopez, would get the job done against Vasiliy Lomachenko. The two clashed in mid-October last year in a lightweight unification bout.

To the surprise of many, Lopez walked away with the decisive win. Since then, Lopez Sr. has shown little to no interest in placing his son in a rematch with Lomachenko regardless of the Ukrainian claiming that he wasn’t 100% due to an injured shoulder. In the mind of Lopez Sr., he was simply convinced that Lomachenko was on the downslide in his career and part two would be even less competitive. However, after watching Lomachenko dismantle, toy and ultimately stop highly rated contender Masayoshi Nakatani, Lopez Sr. is now willing to run things back.

“I wasn’t thinking about Lomachenko in the past,” said Lopez Sr. as he spoke to promoter Bob Arum after the fight. “But after this performance, I think that the public wants to see this fight. I think I can convince my son to fight him again.”

Lomachenko, 33, aimed to make a statement last night at the Virgins Hotel, in Las Vegas, Nevada. While the pound-for-pound star could have opted for a light touch for his comeback opponent as he was coming off shoulder surgery, he instead set his sights on Nakatani. Not only did he choose the Japanese product because he respects his skill set but also because he had a plan in place.

In July of 2019, Nakatani gave Lopez all he could handle at the MGM National Harbor in Oxon Hill, Maryland. Although Lopez would eventually win via wide unanimous decision, it was by far the most difficult night of Lopez’s young career. To prove that he could win if given another chance, Lomachenko believed that if he defeated Nakatani decisively, it would place him in the driver’s seat for a rematch with Lopez.

By all accounts, the plan of Lomachenko appears to be going exactly the way he envisioned it. But before he steps into the ring with Lopez again, the unified lightweight titlist has some business to attend to as mandatory challenger George Kambosos Jr. is next on his list. The two were originally scheduled to face off in mid-June. But, due to a positive COVID-19 test result produced by Lopez, their showdown has been moved to mid-August.

For Lopez Sr., once his son has fully recovered from the deadly disease, he’ll easily take care of Kambosos Jr. Then from there, both he and Arum can begin negotiations for Lopez vs. Lomachenko II.

“After Kambosos it can be made,” said Lopez Sr. “It’s going to be the biggest fight in the world. We can make it happen in December in the Madison Square Garden. I gotta talk to him.”

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Vasiliy Lomachenko is in Familiar Territory Against Masayoshi Nakatani

Posted on 06/25/2021

By: Hector Franco

This weekend, fans and pundits will witness the return of former pound-for-pound king Vasiliy Lomachenko (14-2, 10 KOs). The two-time Olympic gold medalist will face off against Japan’s Masayoshi Nakatani (19-1, 13 KOs) in a 12-round lightweight bout.

The match will take place at the Theater at the Virgin Hotels in Las Vegas and will be televised on ESPN.

The last time Lomachenko was seen inside the squared circle was in October 2020 where he lost a unanimous decision to Teofimo Lopez. Following the loss to Lopez, Lomachenko underwent surgery on his right shoulder.

The injury was undoubtedly a factor in the bout with Lopez as Lomachenko fought in a shockingly reserved fashion in the first half of the match. However, with almost 400 amateur fights and a majority of his professional fights being world title bouts, injuries may be a recurring theme for the Ukrainian for the remainder of his career.

“I have never shown my 100 percent skill because there was always some little problem,” Lomachenko stated on Top Rank’s documentary Relentless, promoting the fight with Nakatani. “The fight with Linares, I had the problem with my shoulder. If we remember Pedraza, it was my first fight after surgery, and with Crolla, I broke my hand, but I finished the fight.

“Now I am healthy, I am ready mentally for this fight, and I want to win.”

Lomachenko’s opponent, Nakatani, may be best known for providing Teofimo Lopez with arguably one of the toughest fights of his career. The Japanese fighter is one of the most unique fighters in the lightweight division, standing at almost six feet with a 71-inch reach.

More notably, Nakatani is a fighter that has no quit, as exhibited in his previous bout with the now-infamous Felix Verdejo. Through the first half of the match, Nakatani was primarily dominated by the jab and knocked down in the first and fourth rounds. The Japanese fighter continued to apply pressure and eventually wore down the Puerto Rican, scoring two knockdowns leading to a ninth-round stoppage.

For Nakatani, the opportunity to fight someone like Lomachenko is something he is not taking lightly.

“This is a fight that I have to win and that I want to win,” said Nakatani. “When this fight came up, I felt that it is the biggest fight of my career. But getting the fight doesn’t mean anything. I must win for this fight to mean something.

“I’m going to win!”

At 33-years of age, the former unified lightweight champion is a fighter that has responded well to losses. When Lomachenko suffered his first and only loss as an amateur to Russia’s Albert Selimov, he responded with two victories in rematches.

After suffering his first loss to Orlando Salido in his second professional bout, Lomachenko, in his next fight, defeated the then-undefeated Gary Russell Jr. to capture the vacant WBO featherweight title.

If history is any indication, Lomachenko may have a standout performance against Nakatani. However, history won’t have anything to do with what happens inside the ring. Nakatani represents a difficult challenge for the Ukrainian, and a victory won’t come easy.

While Nakatani may prove to be arduous opposition for the former pound-for-pound star, fans will look forward to what Lomachenko does next, specifically if a rematch with Lopez will take place.

A rematch clause wasn’t in place for the first bout with Lopez, and the younger fighter has vehemently stated that a rematch isn’t in the cards. However, with Lopez recently resigning with promoter Top Rank if a more significant fight can’t take place, a rematch between the two pugilists could happen.

For now, Lomachenko remains focused on the task at hand.

“I have a fight this Saturday,” said Lomachenko. “After, we can talk about the Teofimo Lopez rematch. But, of course, everyone knows I want that fight again.”

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Vasyl Lomachenko Still Wants Teofimo Lopez: “The World Knows I Want This Fight Again”

Posted on 06/24/2021

By: Hans Themistode

Vasyl Lomachenko still has a hard time processing what exactly happened.

After reigning on top of the boxing world as the consensus number one fighter for years, Lomachenko was expected to take care of business relatively easily against Teofimo Lopez. The two matched up in a unification showdown in mid-October last year.

Despite the long odds, Lopez thoroughly outboxed his man early on before eking out a close unanimous decision victory. The mere thought of Lopez holding a win over the Ukrainian irritates him to no end. While Lopez has already gone on record stating that he has no intention of giving Lomachenko a rematch, the former multiple division champion is still hungry for it. Still, although he’s made his feelings clear, Lomachenko would much rather take care of business this Saturday before discussing what could possibly be next.

“I have a fight this Saturday night,” said Lomachenko during a press conference earlier today. “After we can talk about a rematch but of course, the world knows, I want this fight again.”

The fight that Lomachenko alludes to, figures to be a big challenge for the former back-to-back Olympic gold medalist as the highly rated Masayoshi Nakatani steps into the ring against him this Saturday night at the Virgin Hotels in Las Vegas, Nevada. Recently, the Japanese star picked himself up off the deck on multiple occasions to stop Felix Verdejo.

At the moment, the betting public is firmly backing Lomachenko as he’s currently pegged as a substantial favorite. Regardless of those odds, the Ukrainian will be facing an uphill battle as Nakatani has a four-inch height and six-inch reach advantage.

But while Nakatani’s imposing dimensions would worry most fighters in the division, Lomachenko appears unafraid of what he’s up against this Saturday night.

Heading into his showdown against Lopez, Lomachenko was lambasted for his refusal to throw many punches in the first half of the fight. He would eventually find his rhythm in the second half but it was a case of too little too late. With the chance to somewhat wipe away the stain from his latest performance, Lomachenko is determined to show that his loss against Lopez was nothing more than an aberration.

“I want to show my best skill and show who I am.”

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Vasiliy Lomachenko Analyzes Devin Haney’s Performance Against Jorge Linares: “Haney Was Trying To Survive, When I Fought Linares, He Was In His Prime”

Posted on 06/12/2021

By: Hans Themistode

Vasiliy Lomachenko is busy putting the final finishing touches on his training camp as he prepares to return to the ring against lightweight contender Masayoshi Nakatani on June 26th, at the Virgin Hotels, in Las Vegas, Nevada. But even as the Ukrainian is fully focused on the task at hand, he still took a bit of time away from his busy schedule to flick on the television and watch some boxing. Just a few weeks ago, Lomachenko found one matchup, in particular, to be very intriguing.

Current WBC lightweight champion Devin Haney took on former multiple-time champion, Jorge Linares. Over the past few months, both Haney and Lomachenko have exchanged verbal jabs with one another over the possibility of a future showdown. Although Lomachenko believes he’ll punish Haney if the two ever did face off, he did give the 22-year-old his props for looking explosive in the ring.

“It was a very good fight,” said Lomachenko during an interview with SnowQueenLA. “He show us his skill. He’s a very smart boxer.

Haney, a Las Vegas resident, used every weapon in his toolbox on that Saturday night to pull off the win. While he looked impressive for the vast majority of their fight, Haney had serious problems going down the stretch.

At the tail end of the 10th, Haney was rocked and visibly staggered to his corner. For the remainder of their contest, Haney refused to let his hands go and held Linares seemingly every second he could. Before getting rattled, Lomachenko couldn’t help but be impressed with the young titleholder but considering how he finished the fight, all the Ukrainian could do was shake his head in disappointment.

“He had a problem in the fight,” continued Lomachenko. “The last three rounds were very hard for him. Nobody knows if Linares catches him one more time. Referee helped him a little bit because Haney always hold the last three rounds. If the referee take away a point from Haney, I think it will be another picture.

“Haney was trying to survive. He was trying to finish the fight somehow because he couldn’t do anything else. All he was able to do was wrestle and hold. That is illegal in boxing. By doing that, he was able to avoid the fight. But then again, before that one shot, he was winning the fight. He won this fight no question but it was not easy.”

In the mind of many, the criticism of Lomachenko would seem a bit unfair. Having shared the ring with Linares roughly three years ago, the pound for pound stalwart knows good and well how difficult he is to overcome. In May of 2018, Lomachenko was caught with a straight right hand from Linares and hit the deck for the first in his career. Despite the knockdown, Lomachenko quickly peeled himself up off the canvas to stop Linares in the 10th.

Lomachenko has no issue with anyone who brings up his hard-fought battle against Linares. All that he asks, is that everyone use the proper context when discussing it.

“It was flush. Yea I lost balance but I get up and feel good and was ready to finish the fight. When I fought Linares, he was in his prime. It was three years ago and I fought Linares with one hand because I had a problem with my shoulder in the second round. Before this knockdown, I didn’t have a problem. In my opinion, there is nothing to compare between Haney vs Linares and my fight vs Linares. It doesn’t mean anything to me because the time we fought Linares was different. He was at the top back then, right now he is an older fighter.”

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Vasiliy Lomachenko Open To Moving Down In Weight To Face Oscar Valdez

Posted on 03/19/2021

By: Hans Themistode

Despite facing a size disadvantage almost every time he steps foot inside the ring, Vasiliy Lomachenko wants to continue his boxing journey at 135 pounds. The former three-division titlist saw his dream of becoming an undisputed lightweight champion turn into a nightmare as he was outboxed and out-hustled by Teofimo Lopez in October of last year.

Since then, Lomachenko has regurgitated on numerous occasions that he doesn’t plan on moving down in weight. With that said, the Ukrainian does find a matchup with newly crowned super featherweight champion Oscar Valdez an interesting fight.

In fact, if the business of boxing can be taken of, he would be more than willing to drop down in weight to make the fight happen.

“I didn’t watch the full fight but I saw highlights, of course. I saw the KO,” said Lomachenko as he answered questions regarding Valdez knockout win over Miguel Berchelt during an interview with SnowQueenLA. “I can make 130. But I choose a different route, which for me is to keep boxing at 135 but it all depends on Bob Arum if he can make the Valdez fight happen.”

Valdez, 30, was a sizable underdog heading into his contest against Berchelt on February 20th. Regardless of the doubters, Valdez punished his man, dropping him in the fourth, ninth and for the final time, the tenth round.

The moment Valdez landed his overhand left in the period, referee Russell Mora immediately waved off their contest as Berchelt was out cold long before his body hit the canvas.

While Lomachenko has expressed interest in taking him on at 130 pounds, at this point, the former two-time Olympic Gold medalist would settle for a fight with anyone at this point.

Before facing Lopez late last year, Lomachenko had been sidelined for well over a year. Now, with no fight date in sight, the 33-year-old is getting a bit antsy. Although a few names have been lofted in his direction in terms of possible future opponents, including lightweight contender Masayoshi Nakatani, nothing is concrete just yet.

For now, Lomachenko simply continues to wait until his name is called. Something he hopes happens very soon.

“I want to fight. I’m ready. But I don’t have an opponent or date yet. First, I thought it would be Masayoshi Nakatani but we haven’t agreed on anything yet. I don’t have any news on when I’ll be back. I hope they’ll give me a date in June.”

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Devin Haney On Vasiliy Lomachenko: “There’s Different Ways That He Can Be Beat

Posted on 03/16/2021

By: Hans Themistode

Devin Haney hasn’t signed his name to any contracts just yet, but he knows a showdown against former multiple division champion Jorge Linares is most likely next for him.

Currently, both sides are locked in negotiations with May being floated around as the target date. With Haney’s resume shallow in terms of elite-level opponents, the WBC lightweight titlist has welcomed a showdown against Linares with open arms. But while he’s locked in on the former champion, he is still holding out hope that a certain Ukrainian sneaks in through the backdoor.

“Jorge Linares is the frontrunner,” said Haney during an interview with FightHype. “But I’m still looking forward to hopefully making a fight with Loma (Lomachenko).”

Over the past few weeks, both Haney and Lomachenko have thrown jabs at one another over social media. Although it is unlikely, both sides have agreed to take each other on in May. Yet, they appear to be heading in opposite directions.

Haney (25-0, 15 KOs), as previously mentioned, is deep in negotiations with Linares. As for Lomachenko, promoter Bob Arum recently claimed that he is interested in matching him up against Masayoshi Nakatani.

Haney though, is hoping that they will simply fight each other instead. While his interest in facing Lomachenko has somewhat waned since the Ukrainians defeat at the hands of Teofimo Lopez just a few months ago, Haney still believes that a showdown between them would be nothing short of box-office.

“I’m happy that he finally acknowledged me and interested in fighting me. It sucks that now it comes after he takes a loss. I would rather it happen when he was on top but at the end of the day, a fight with Loma would still be huge and a fight that I would welcome.”

Lomachenko, 33, was thoroughly outboxed when he was last seen in the ring against Lopez. At the time, most pegged him as the best fighter in the world. Fast forward to today however, and Lomachenko is attempting to repair his once unbeatable image.

For what it’s worth, Haney still has a tremendous amount of respect for the former two-time Olympic Gold Medalist. But with now two losses straddled to his docket, Haney views him as vulnerable. At one point, there was seemingly only one game plan to defeat him. In 2014 in only his second pro fight, former world champion Orlando Salido handed Lomachenko the first loss of his career.

The crafty veteran pulled out every trick in the book, including what many felt was a few dirty ones as he roughed up Lomachenko (14-2, 10 KOs) on his way to the victory. Now, with Lopez providing a different game plan to beating him, Haney believes the book on beating Lomachenko is out for the entire public to see.

“Teofimo did lay another blueprint on how to beat Loma. It just shows that there’s different ways that he can be beat.”

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Vasiliy Lomachenko To Devin Haney: “You Still Haven’t Fought With Anyone, I’m Waiting For You Cowards”

Posted on 03/01/2021

By: Hans Themistode

The moment Vasiliy Lomachenko fell from his pound-for-pound throne, the criticism has come in waves.

In what many believed would be another routine win, Lomachenko found Teofimo Lopez a much more complex puzzle to solve when the two battled it out with all of the lightweight marbles on the line in mid-October 2020.

Watching Lomachenko fall was a surprise to just about everyone. But even more of a shock is, outside of a handful of interviews, how he has virtually disappeared since the defeat. Amongst those wondering where Lomachenko has gone, is WBC lightweight champion, Devin Haney.

“Where the f*ck is Loma at?” Said Haney on his Twitter account.

Despite having close to 200,000 thousand followers on Twitter, Lomachenko seldom uses social media. This time around though, he took the time to address Haney on his own personal account.

“I’m here!” Said Lomachenko. “I’m waiting for you cowards to decide on a real fight and not on Twitter.”

For Haney, he’s heard the same thing over and over throughout the course of his short career. The talent is obvious but the names he’s fought up until this point have been underwhelming. The Las Vegas resident has called for matchups against Ryan Garcia, Gervonta Davis, Teofimo Lopez and of course, Vasiliy Lomachenko.

Yet, no matter how loud he screams for any of the big-name fighters to face him, they have all seemingly ignored him. With no marquee wins under his belt, Lomachenko is convinced that Haney is simply all bark but no bite.

“Waiting is your favorite action,” continued Lomachenko. “You still haven’t fought with anyone.”

Ironically enough, Haney was once the mandatory challenger to face Lomachenko when he held the WBC title. Although the 22-year-old planned on facing him, WBC President Mauricio Sulaiman had other ideas in mind as he stripped Lomachenko of his title and instead, gifted him with the Franchise tag, a new and still confusing term fans are trying to wrap their heads around.

With the WBC title now vacant, Haney, who was the interim belt holder, was then elevated to full champion. Since then, he’s gone on to defeat journeymen Alfredo Santiago and the long-faded former multiple division champion Yuriokis Gamboa.

He may won have every single round against both fighters but Lomachenko doesn’t appear to be impressed. In fact, fighters such as Lopez have said that Haney is nothing more than an email champion since his title reign began with an email notifying him that he had become a full belt holder.

Helping him in his efforts to shut up the doubters could be former multiple division champion Jorge Linares. Both camps are currently locked in negotiations for an April clash.

As for Lomachenko, he appears to have his eyes on Haney. Those plans however, could be forced to wait as promoter Bob Arum has already said that he plans on matching up Lomachenko with top contender Masayoshi Nakatani who is coming off an upset win over once highly touted prospect Felix Verdejo.

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Bob Arum: “Nakatani Is A Really Hard Punching lightweight And We’re Looking To Him As The Opponent For Lomachenko”

Posted on 02/11/2021

By: Hans Themistode

Following Vasiliy Lomachenko’s surprising loss at the hands of Teofimo Lopez in mid-October last year, promoter Bob Arum did not want to bother him just yet. Lomachenko had always dreamed of becoming an undisputed world champion and needed only one more win to achieve his ultimate goal.

Lopez though, would hear none of it as he outboxed Lomachenko to a clear unanimous decision victory. Not only did the loss strip Lomachenko (14-2, 10 KOs) of the world lightweight titles that were in his possession, but it also dropped him from the consensus number one pound for pound spot as well. With Arum giving him nearly four months to sulk and dust himself off, the long time promoter has begun discussions with his star about his return.

Although Lomachenko was adamant in his desire to run things back with Lopez, that ship has seemingly sailed. With that being said, Arum believes he’s found a more than suitable replacement for his return fight.

“The Japanese boy, (Masayoshi) Nakatani,” said Arum during a recent interview with IFL TV. “He knocked out (Felix) Verdejo and gave (Teofimo) Lopez all he could handle. Nakatani is a really hard-punching lightweight and we’re looking to him as the opponent for Lomachenko.”

As previously mentioned by Arum, Nakatani is currently riding the high associated with the best stretch of performances in his career. In July of 2019, Nakatani (19-1, 13 KOs) took it to Lopez during their showdown. Coming in, the Japanese native was viewed as an easy victory. However, he proved that he could compete at the highest level.

The results on the night weren’t exactly what he was looking for, but after taking a year and a half to recover from his back and forth battle with Lopez, Nakatani would return to the ring. As was the case in his previous contest, Nakatani was once again the underdog, this time against Felix Verdejo. A short and unsuccessful night at the office appeared to be on the cards for Nakatani as he was dropped twice during the first and fourth rounds.

Nevertheless, he not only climbed back to his feet each and every time but he also went on to hand Verdejo a savage beating. One that culminated in two knockdowns in the ninth round before the referee waved things off entirely as Verdejo fell flat on his face in an attempt to beat the count.

The win for Nakatani has now placed him in the driver’s seat for Lomachenko’s return to the ring. Unlike the Ukrainian’s last contest which was held in the empty arena of the MGM Grand Bubble in Las Vegas, Nevada, Arum has revealed that he isn’t planning on subjecting his fighter to that lonely atmosphere once again.

According to Arum, he’s confident that by the time Lomachenko’s fight date comes rolling around, a limited amount of fans will be able to attend events.

“We’ve talked with him and we’re looking at early summer. He’s tired of fighting in bubbles, he’s a big-ticket seller so we think we can do a big fight in early summer in the United States. We’ve been talking with MSG, so we believe by June, they’ll be able to accommodate hopefully 50-60 percent.”

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