The world’s two top lightweight boxers will meet in the ring this fall as Vasiliy Lomachenko and Teofimo Lopez have agreed to terms on a title unification fight.
Lomachenko (14-1, 10 KOs) holds the WBA and WBO titles, while Lopez (15-0, 12 KOs) boasts the IBF championship in the division.
Fight Moves to ESPN in October
Boxing pundits rank the two as the best active lightweights in the world. ESPN rates Lomachenko as the No. 1 pound-for-pound fighter in the world, while Lomachenko and Lopez stand first and second respectively in BoxRec’s lightweight ratings.
Breaking: Vasiliy Lomachenko and Teofimo Lopez have agreed to terms for a lightweight title unification fight in mid-to-late October, sources tell @TheAthletic. Great progress made toward the fight headlining ESPN rather than PPV. Can’t wait for this onehttps://t.co/1rUVZkf8aT
— Mike Coppinger (@MikeCoppinger) August 13, 2020
That makes this a dream matchup for fight fans, with the winner establishing himself as the undisputed king of lightweight boxing.
According to an ESPN report, organizers are targeting Oct. 17 for the bout. ESPN will likely air the fight, meaning it won’t be a pay-per-view event.
That report notes that financial issues threatened to hold up the fight. Without fans, fights won’t generate nearly as much money, cutting into the paydays of top stars. ESPN reports that Lomachenko gave up a portion of his purse to make sure Lopez would sign on for the bout.
“It’s not done [until] the contracts are signed, I’m not being an alarmist or so forth, but I made the deal with [Lopez manager David McWater],” Top Rank CEO Bob Arum told ESPN. “We’ve got to paper the deal, which will be done tomorrow.”
Fox Bet has installed Lomachenko as a -400 betting favorite over Lopez (+275).
Lopez Confident He Can KO Lomachenko
Lomachenko rose to prominence through the amateur boxing scene. Along with winning Olympic gold medals in both 2008 and 2012, he compiled a 396-1 record as an amateur. He won his first world title in just his third overall fight, taking the WBO featherweight crown over Gary Allen Russell Jr. by majority decision. Since then, he’s also won titles at super featherweight and lightweight, despite only fighting 15 times in total as a professional.
Meanwhile, Lopez burst onto the radar by going undefeated since his 2016 debut. Yahoo Sports named the 23-year-old Prospect of the Year in both 2017 and 2018. Last December, Lopez took on IBF lightweight champion Richard Commey in his first major title shot, winning the belt via a dominating second-round TKO performance.
Lopez has been angling for a fight against Lomachenko since the win over Commey, often calling the Ukrainian “The Little Diva” in his taunts.
“We’re pretty much going to knock this guy out,” Teofimo told DAZN. “It was my first priority, making that fight happen. I told Bob [Arum] straight up, ‘I’m not going to have a tune-up fight.’ [Lomachenko] is my tune-up fight, and that’s really what it was.”