Boxing is preparing for its return to the ring in a big way amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Vasiliy Lomachenko and Teofimo Lopez are ready for a lightweight unification fight, Top Rank promoter Bob Arum told ESPN’s Steve Kim.
“In talking with Lomachenko and Lopez, neither of them want an interim fight,” Arum said. “So we would plan to do that in September, with or without an audience.”
Kim said Lomachenko and Lopez had discussed a May event at Madison Square Garden before the sports world was effectively put on hold due to COVID-19.
Now there’s talk of Las Vegas as the host city, and with or without fans, Arum is ready to cash in.
“It certainly would be a pay-per-view,” Arum said. “… It’s a big fight that we can do something spectacular, in conjunction with the Las Vegas Convention [and Visitors] Authority. Do a big outdoor event. There’s a lot of innovative stuff you can do, and still adhering to the mandate of social distancing.”
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At 14-1, Lomachenko last fought versus Luke Campbell at the O2 Arena in London on August 31, 2019, earning a unanimous decision. In the ring afterward, he called for a unification fight.
Lopez, 15-0, has been out of the ring since he overcomes Richard Commey by TKO in December.
It may have taken nearly a year to reach the point of negotiations between the two camps, but the long-awaited matchup is finally in the works.
“We don’t need no tune-ups,” Lopez’s father, Teofimo Sr., said. “We are focused with Lomachenko. That’s all we want is Lomachenko.”
Lomachenko is reportedly back home in Ukraine but has a green card to re-enter the United States when it is safe to do so. His manager, Egis Klimas, said they’ll fight under just about any circumstance. The only thing that matters is if Lopez is standing in the ring once Lomachenko enters.
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