Lomachenko: It won’t be an easy fight

Photo: Sumio Yamada

By Miguel Maravilla

WBC franchise, WBA super, and WBO lightweight champion Vasiliy Lomachenko (14-1, 10 KOs) returns to the ring this Saturday against undefeated IBF lightweight champion Teofimo López (15-0, 12 KOs) in a unification showdown at the MGM Grand Bubble in Las Vegas live on ESPN.

“I feel great. I can’t wait for Saturday night,” Vasyl Lomachenko told media. “I have a goal, I have a dream and he holds the IBF title. I need this belt. Saturday I will take his belt.”

Having wrapped up his training camp in Camarillo, California with his father, Team Lomachenko is ready to come out on all cylinders.

“We will see what he has, we always come prepared,” Lomachenko said.

It’s been well over a year since the 32-year-old’s last fight when Lomachenko took a unanimous decision over Luke Campbell in August of 2019. Prior to that fight, he scored a fourth round knockout over Anthony Crolla in which he suffered a hand injury in the process. Will the hand injury and the one year layoff affect Lomachenko coming into this fight?

“I don’t think so. I feel good about my age. I’m just 32 years old. Who made the rules about age in boxing? I still feel great,” Lomachenko stated.

Now he gets set to face the very confident young champion Lopez, who carries himself with swagger and won the IBF lightweight title in his last fight with an impressive highlight reel knockout over Richard Commey last December at the iconic Madison Square Garden in New York.

“He has a good punch, speed, and good IQ. He’s young and hungry. We will see,” Lomachenko commented.

Lopez has not held back as he has continued to taunt and tease Lomachenko throughout this camp.

“I heard this before from a lot of boxers that they will beat me or knock me out. In the ring they forget about their words and promises. For me, it’s just trash talk. We will see what happens in the ring,” Lomachenko said. “Back home we don’t have strict laws. Here in the States they are strict. If you insult somebody back home (in Ukraine) someone can confront you and fight you and there are no laws. He wouldn’t be talking that much. But he can talk all he wants. I will do the talking in the ring,” Lomachenko added.

These past few years for Lomachenko have been impressive his 2018 campaign saw him score knockouts over Jose Pedraza and Jorge Linares. 2017 saw him win the Fighter of the Year honors in which he stopped Jason Sosa, Miguel Marriaga, and forced Guillermo Rigondeaux to quit in closing his 2017 campaign.

Having accomplished many achievements, Lomachenko is considered the greatest amateur boxer of all time. Compiling a 396-1 record. That one defeat was avenged twice. A two-time world amateur champion and two-time Olympic gold medalist, taking it all in the 2008 Beijing and 2012 London Olympics.

Turning pro in 2013, Lomachenko got his crack at the world title in his second professional fight in 2016. Dropping a split decision to Orlando Salido (who didn’t make weight) but bounced back with a dominant performance over current WBC featherweight champion Gary Russell Jr. in winning the WBO featherweight title.

“When I became a professional fighter. All I wanted to do is fight the best fighters,” Lomachenko stated.

Moving up to super featherweight in 2016, Lomachenko knocked out Rocky Martinez in five to win the WBO 130 pound title, successfully defending the title four times. Moving up to lightweight to face Linares, Lomachenko won his third world title in his third weight class by winning the WBA Super World lightweight title. Then picking up the WBO title from Pedraza and won the WBC title in his last fight over Campbell.

“Right now I have a top fighter in front of me. I want to improve and do this for my legacy,” Lomachenko said.

Looking to become the undisputed lightweight champion, a victory over Lopez will add another accolade in Lomachenko’s already illustrious career.

“I can’t compare this fight to any fight I’ve had. He is a tough fighter. It won’t be an easy fight. We will see,” Lomachenko said.

Follow Miguel on Twitter @MigMaravilla

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  • Loma knows deep down inside once he weathers the storm after a few rounds, he can slowly chisel away at Lopez’s game plan and take him into deep waters. Lopez may be young, strong, and hungry, but he has not faced anybody like Loma when it comes to a fancy unorthodox style. Loma on a split decision and Lopez will understand the word “frustration” after this Saturday night. It’s pretty tough to hit something when it is not in front of you.

    • loma’ s comments concerning the Ukraine are spot on. He is a product of real wars and hardship. The man will be tough to beat and is courage is cast in blue twisted steel.

      • It should be a good fight, but Loma’s skills and experience should make the difference in a victory for Loma…must see fight!!!

  • Just a quick note to the writer: Lomachenko’s fight with Jose Pedraza ended in a decision, Lomachenko did not knock him out as you said in the article.

  • I’m so happy the promoters put this fight together during the pandemic, thanks ESPN and it’s a free fight! Early x-mas present, I would have happily paid $79.99 for this fight. Now for my prediction, the mature Loma will weather the early Lopez storm and frustrate the young KO artist, taking him into deep waters where he will win by unanimous decision. Lopez will not be doing any backflips in this fight and will have a good helping of humble pie.

  • Thus far, I am favoring Loma. However, I can imagine Lopez supporters asking the following questions to the Loma supporters because they may believe Lopez has the unique style to defeat Loma:

    1) Will Lopez have a 10-15 pound weight advantage on fight night?

    2) Has Loma ever faced a larger fighter with a quick, long, authoritative jab?

    3) Has Loma ever faced a larger fighter who will present heavy body punching power?

    4) Has Loma ever faced a larger fighter who may have an inside physical strength advantage to create impactful discomfort?

    5) Will Loma have sufficient power to cause a larger fighter to mentally/physically hesitate for rounds 1-12?

    6) If the fight goes 12 rounds, will Loma have the physical stamina to withstand a larger fighter’s pressure, body punching and possible “rough house tactics?”

    7) From rounds 1-12, does Loma have the chin to withstand the power punching from a real deal 135-pounder?

    8) Is Loma underestimating Lopez’s attempt at a most known/recent Mayweather defensive style?

    9) Is Loma underestimating Lopez’s ability to cut off the ring behind powerful hooks and quick uppercuts with power?

    10) Will Loma (at age 32) get discouraged while facing Lopez’s quick, long, straight, powerful right hand?

    11) Has Loma ever faced a larger fighter with powerful hand speed? and

    12) Does Loma have retirement thoughts leading to the fight?

    • Question for Lopez….has he ever managed to KO fresh air?
      Loma is a ghost in the ring and seemingly a gent outside it.
      Fairly easy wide points win for Loma I believe.

  • Odd makers have Lomachenko as a favorite for many reasons, one of the most important: how both contestants have looked on training, and seems Lomachenko has been impressive. Also, we have to take into account the conditions or circumstances the fight will happen. No public will affect more Lopez, because Lomachenko is used to this,
    due to his long amateur career, where most fights take place in empty arenas.
    If Lopez overcomes the absence of public, the fight could be epic, but if he is overwhelmed by that, expect a walk through from Lomachenko.

  • If López keeps Loma at the end of his punches he will win. If. López is taller and has a much longer reach.

  • Back in the day in the 70s and 80s it wasn’t so. I knew three guys who hung out with each other. A power lifter, heavy weight pro boxer, and a mafia strong arm. They would trash wannabes out there and nothing much became of it. Now? Assault and potential years in prison. Its a bit extreme in certain cases.

  • A unification fight will truly determine the best of the best among the contenders in boxing… Erniezorbe

  • This is the young lion against an older experienced fighter who has as been put down before, has Loma ever been in with a big hitter like Teo? Legends are made in the ring, cant wait and I hope the fight ain’t on at 1am in the morning.

  • “It won’t be an easy fight”. (Snickers), O….Okay Lomachenko we hear you (rolls eyes). We all know this is another easy predictable win for Lomachenko. After this fight we won’t remember Lopez.

  • Loma will win a easily unanimous decision!!! Loma will dominate the last 10 rounds to a easy victory!!!!

  • Lopez is 2-3 years away from being ready for Lomachenko. If it goes the distance Lopez might win 2-3 rounds. This will be like when Mayweather schooled Canelo.

  • Lomachenko had a long and decorated amateur career. It has taken a huge toll on his body and Lopez will systematically chop down the remains.The winner and new Champion Teofimo Lopez by stoppage in 5. Lomo’s corner will throw in towel causing ref to stop fight.

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