They will unify this Saturday the lightweight titles of the four big organizations. On the ring side there will be 250 special guests. And the action will continue until the end of the year.
Although boxing has been active in Las Vegas for four months after the stoppage imposed by the coronavirus pandemic, this weekend he will have his first stellar date at the MGM Grand, where the Ukrainian will meet Vasiliy Lomachenko and the American (from Honduran family) Teofimo Lopez to unify the lightweight titles of the Big Four agencies. The evening, which can be seen through Space from 11:30 p.m., will be attended by 250 special guests, a first step towards the return of the public.
Lomachenko, holder of the belts of the World Boxing Association (he considers him super champion), the World Boxing Council and the World Boxing Organization, is considered almost unanimously by specialists one of the top three pound-for-pound fighters on the planet today. For many, it is the best. That is why he starts as a favorite for Saturday. Anyway, he doesn’t trust himself. “It will be a game of chess”, advancement.
Extremely intelligent and possessing excellent technique, the Ukrainian built a remarkable amateur career, during which he won two Olympic titles (in Beijing 2008 and London 2012) and fought more than 400 fights, of which he only lost one. With that background, he made his professional debut in 2013 and immediately found great challenges.
In his second rented outing, he fought for the WBO featherweight crown, but fell on points in a split decision (and disputed) to Orlando Salido. That defeat against the crafty and seasoned Mexican, who could not aspire to the title because he had exceeded the weigh-in, served as a fast course on the demands of professionalism.
Since then, it has not failed again. In June 2014, he won the WBO featherweight title that had been left vacant by defeating Gary Russell Jr., later added the WBO super featherweight title and finally added the three lightweight division belts that he will play on Saturday.
Measured in his words and a lover of fishing, Lomachenko, 32, built all this at the hands of Anatoly, his father and trainer, who to perfect his son used quite atypical resources, such as doing it take dance classes. “He said, ‘If you want to be a great boxer, you have to practice dancing.’ I did it for a couple of years and it helped me develop my feet, “he revealed. Hi-Tech in a documentary that Space produced especially for this fight.
López is the other side, both on the ring and below. Outgoing and talkative, starred in a meteoric rise since Top Rank, Bob Arum’s promoter, hired him in 2016, when he was just 19 years old. And he did it based on an explosive boxing that allowed him to win his 15 rented fights, 12 of them by knockout. In the last one, in December last year, he dispatched Ghanaian Richard Commey in two rounds and seized the IBF lightweight title.
López was born in Brooklyn, but has a Honduran family, represented that country in Rio de Janeiro 2016, speaks Spanish quite fluently and claims to represent all Latinos. Like his next adversary, he is trained by his father, also named Teofimo, with whom he has a tight but close relationship.
From the López camp, they wanted to attribute a special burden to this combat due to an alleged destruction of Lomachenko to Teófimo Sr. in the lobby of a hotel in New York almost two years ago, and they attacked the Ukrainian with verbal shrapnel, who did not catch on. too much on that. “He is just my rival, he only has my belt. That’s it. I have to get that belt and realize my dream of unifying all the titles, “he explained.
Teofimo promised to win by knockout a battle that he posed in generational terms: “I am very big, very strong and very young for him. This is my time to do great things in this sport. He already did it, now it’s my turn ”.
First, the total suspension of the activity due to the planetary expansion of covid-19 and then the restriction of public attendance (and, therefore, the impossibility of collecting in this way) kept most of the most important fighters in the world out of the ring during the last months. The duel between Lomachenko and López will give the starting gun to a series of fights that in the coming weeks will have as protagonists several of those stars that will end the forced pause.
On October 31, the charismatic and undefeated Gervonta Davis will face Leo Santa Cruz in a duel in which the lightweight championship (held by the American) and super featherweight championship (owned by the Mexican) of the WBA will be at stake. The contest will be at the Alamodome in San Antonio and, for the first time since the restart of the evenings in the United States, there will be an audience in the stadium.
That same day, but at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, the Japanese Naoya Inoue, absolute dominator of the girls’ categories in the last five years, will expose his belts of the WBA and the IBF of the bantamweight division against the Australian Jason Moloney.
While Manny Pacquiao fulfills his duties as national senator in the Philippines and flirts with a fight against Irishman Conor McGregor in 2021, the other good welterweight champions have activity scheduled for this year. On November 14, Terence Crawford, WBO monarch, will be measured with Kell Brook. While the venue has not yet been confirmed, it will likely be in Las Vegas.
For its part, Errol Spence Jr. He will fight again on December 5 after the road accident he suffered in October last year in Dallas: he will expose his WBC and IBF belts to the former world champion Danny Garcia at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, where the public can also attend.
For December, and after the eight-round exhibition that Mike Tyson and Roy Jones Jr. will star on November 28 at Dignity Health in Carson (California), there will be the presentation of Englishman Anthony Joshua, heavy king of the WBA, the FIB and the WBO, who will face the Bulgarian veteran Kubrat Pulev in a duel that will take place at the O2 Arena in London and that, a priori, will not represent a great demand for the champion.