By Kenneth Friedman: Unless a big overseas offer comes in, Vasiliy Lomachenko will be waiting to fight the winner of the Richard Commey vs. Teofimo Lopez for the undisputed lightweight championship, according to promoter Bob Arum. He spoke to Lomachenko’s manger Egis Klimas, and the plan is for Lomachenko to wait to face the Commey-Teofimo winner in early 2020. As such, Lomachenko (14-1, 10 KOs) won’t be defending his WBA/WBC/WBO 135-lb titles in December.
Lomachenko rumored to be fighting George Kambosos Jr. next in December
Loma will be taking the remainder of 2019 off unless there’s a big offer from overseas to fight someone. What Arum might be referring to is a rumored fight against Australian lightweight George Kambosos Jr. (17-0, 10 KOs). He’s being mentioned as Lomachenko’s possible opponent for December in what would be a voluntary defense. Either way, this is bad news for Devin Haney (22-0, 14 KOs), who has designs of challenging Lomachenko for his WBC title in December. Haney is fighting Zaur Abdullaev (1-0, 7 KOs) in a WBC 135-lb title eliminator on Friday night on DAZN.
The interim WBC lightweight title is on the line. If Haney wins that match, he’ll be Lomachenko’s WBC mandatory. Haney’ promoter Eddie Hearn says he wants to have the WBC enforce Devin’s mandatory status in 2019 if Lomachenko looks to take a voluntary defense. Hearn realizes that they can’t stop Lomachenko from fighting the Commey-Lopez winner due to it being a unification match, but it’s a different story if Loma tries to make a voluntary defense before then.
Arum: Lomachenko to take the rest of the year off
“I talked to Egis [Klimas] this week, and he said Loma’s desire is to wait [to face Richard Commey vs. Teofimo Lopez winner] unless there’s a big offer to fight overseas; in which case he’ll take a fight this year,” said Lomachenko’s promoter Arum to Fighthype. “Otherwise, he’ll wait for the winner of that fight.”
Arum might be speaking a little soon on who Lomachenko, 31, will be fighting next. With Lomachenko’s popularity, it’s difficult to imagine him not getting an offer from another promoter for a voluntary defense. If that happens, it’ll be up to the World Boxing Council to decide whether they allow Lomachenko to make a voluntary defense with their title. Under the WBC’s rules, when a fighter wins their vacant world titles, they’re supposed to make a mandatory defense in their next fight if that belts going to be on the line. If Haney beats Abdullaev this Friday in their WBC title eliminator, then Lomachenko would be expected to face him next unless he’s fighting in a unification.
It’ll be interesting to see how Lomachenko and Top Rank are able to veer around this rule. Do they ask for the WBC to make an exception? The WBC already bent over backwards by allowing Lomachenko, a two-belt champion at lightweight, jump ahead of Haney to fight #1 WBC Luke Campbell for the vacant WBC lightweight title on August 31. Lomachenko wasn’t in the WBC’s rankings. He asked the WBC to allow him to fight for the vacant WBC champion, even though he already held the WBA & WBO lightweight titles. If the WBC had rejected Lomachenko’s request, then it would have been Haney that fought Campbell on August 31, and there’s a good chance he would now be the WBC champion.
Haney gunning for Lomachenko
“Egis, I’m going to give you a little sample of what I’m going to be giving to Lomachenko after that,” said Devin Haney in talking at his recent news conference this week.
“I’ll do whatever to make the fight happen,” said Haney to Fighthype about a fight against Lomachenko. “It looks like he’s going to fight the winner of Commey and Lopez. He’s going to get all the belts. That’s the only reason I want to fight him. I’m ready for the world titles. I saw some flaws [in Lomachenko’s game from his last fight against Luke Campbell] that I can capitalize on. Not too much longer,” said Haney when asked him long he’ll be competing at 135.
“It’s not easy to make. Yeah, I’ll go to 140 [if no Lomachenko fight]. The fight that I really want to make is against Lomachenko. I want to make the big fights. Right now, I feel like I’m ready. I can beat those top guys in the division,” said Haney.
Haney, 20, might scare away Lomachenko for good if he destroys Abdullaev this Friday night on DAZN. Lomachenko is already talking about wanting to go back down to super featherweight when/if he unifies the lightweight titles against the Commey-Lopez winner.
Haney says Lomachenko linked with Kambosos Jr. for next fight
“He has an Australian opponent [George Kambosos Jr.] that’s ranked under Devin Haney. Nobody knows him,” said Haney about the rumors that Lomachenko will be fighting little known contender Kombosos Jr. in December. “You guys didn’t even know he was fighting him,but that’s okay. I know my time will come. Right now, I’m focusing on [Zaur] Abdullaev. I’m going to go in there and put on a great performance, and I’m going to make the fans and the world demand the fight [with Lomachenko],” said Haney.