Vasiliy Lomachenko set for Unification Bout with Teofimo Lopez
Pound-for-pound boxing champion Vasiliy Lomachenko will defend his lightweight titles against IBF lightweight champion Teofimo Lopez in a unification bout this Saturday.
Updated: Oct. 16, 2020 • 5:31 AM ET
Las Vegas will host this weekend's championship boxing card.
Boxing’s pound-for-pound king will return to the ring this Saturday, as Vasiliy Lomachenko puts his WBO and WBA lightweight titles on the line against undefeated IBF champion Teofimo Lopez in a unification bout. Set to take place in Las Vegas at the MGM Grand Conference Center, Saturday’s fight is one of the most anticipated of 2020.
Lomachenko last fought in August 2019 to a unanimous decision victory over Luke Campbell, his second straight successful defense of the WBO and WBA titles. The 32-year-old is 14-1 and became a three-weight world champion by just his 12th professional fight, holding the WBO featherweight title from 2014 to 2015 and the WBO junior-lightweight title from 2016 to 2017.
The Ukrainian is widely considered the best pound-for-pound boxer in the world, and he’ll get a chance to prove that claim yet again against a surging young champion. Lomachenko, however, doesn’t know how such a long layoff will impact his performance heading into the fight with Lopez.
"I'll check on Saturday, I don't know," Lomachenko recently said via Sporting News. "I never stay one year outside ring, now it will be first time and I don't know."
In his career, Lomachenko has key victories over Gary Russell Jr, Roman Martinez, Guillermo Rigondeaux, Jorge Linares and Jose Pedraza. A win over Lopez would give him a fifth belt in historic fashion and further extend the legend of boxing’s pound-for-pound great.
Meanwhile, Lopez has plenty to say about Lomachenko’s status in boxing. The 23-year-old won the IBF lightweight title with a devastating second-round TKO over Richard Commey in December 2019. Immediately after the win, talks of a unification bout began and the fight was officially inked shortly after.
Lopez is 15-0 with 12 knockouts, but he’ll also enter Saturday’s fight following a considerable layoff. Like Lomachenko, he doesn’t necessarily know what the layoff will do to his performance, but he remains confident.
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"I feel great,” Lopez said. “For both of us, it's the same thing. We haven't had this long of a layoff.”
"Even though during the time with quarantine and everything that was hitting, the pandemic, I was still working out, trying to stay on that as much as possible. I'm a big 135-pounder so I always stay in shape, always stay in shape. And I'm ready and I'm more than excited for this fight."
Due to a lack of experience and wins over big names to his credit, many critics do not believe Lopez is ready for a fight with Lomachenko. However, Lomachenko has yet to fight such a prospect who has become a champion at such a young age and is coming off a such a powerful win.
The intrigue for an upset is there, because Lopez has proven he has the ability to throw with power and tremendous speed. Lomachenko is well aware of Lopez’s abilities heading into the unification fight.
“He has a good punch, speed, and good IQ,” Lomachenko said via Fight News. “He’s young and hungry. We will see.”