Ukrainian superstar Vasiliy Lomachenko will be looking to unify the lightweight division by taking Teofimo Lopez's IBF belt at Madison Square Garden on October 17. Can Loma take home all the gold?
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Road To Vasiliy Lomachenko v Teofimo Lopez
Vasiliy Lomachenko may have only had 15 professional fights in his career, but he is well on the way to being named one of the greats of the sport. Loma is currently the WBA, WBO and The Ring lightweight champion of the world, and he will be determined to take the IBF strap from the waist of Teofimo Lopez when they meet in the ring on October 17.
Lomachenko, who is a three-weight world champion having previously held the WBO featherweight and WBO junior lightweight belts, was crowned the WBA and The Ring champion back in May 2018 when he scored a TKO victory over Jorge Linares.
His first defence of the WBA title saw him retain it and win the WBO lightweight belt with a unanimous decision over Jose Pedraza, before retaining his three belts with a savage knockout win over Anthony Crolla. His last bout saw him claim the vacant WBC title with a points decision over another British fighter in Luke Campbell, and he now intends to take the IBF title to add to his collection.
Honduran-American Lopez will be making his first title defence, having beaten Richard Commey with a brutal right-hand stoppage in the second round. Lopez has a record of 15 wins from as many fights with 12 of them coming by way of knockout.
Lopez may well be a powerful puncher, but Lomachenko has proven he can stand and go toe-to-toe with the big hitters. Many critics will say that Loma has already been beaten and he is beatable again – Crolla made that mistake – it’s important to note that his only defeat was in his second bout when he lost a split decision against Orlando Salido. He has matured as a fighter and has since won 13 consecutive fights with nine of those coming by way of knockout.
Vasiliy Lomachenko v Teofimo Lopez Predictions & Tips
I am a massive fan of Lomachenko, despite his victories over Campbell and Crolla, I honestly believe he will be labelled one of the greatest lightweight fighters ever by the time he hangs his gloves up.
He seems to have it all, he can knock opponents out or he can stand and fight all night long. His performance against Linares was spectacular. He got up off the canvas in the sixth and took the fight to Linares and ended it with a stunning liver shot in the 10th round.
Not many people get up after Linares knocks them down, and the way he regained his composure and switched his punches to the body was very clever. I’ll admit to not knowing a great deal about Lopez, but he is the IBF champion, so he needs some respect.
There has been plenty of talk from the Lopez camp with them saying Lopez’s power will be too much for Loma, we have all heard that before. Unfortunately, I think Lopez will be out of his depth against Loma, and that is why they are making so much noise outside the ring. The Ukrainian will measure up the Honduran-American for the opening rounds, but he will soon take control and he will get this one stopped in the seventh to unify the lightweight division.
Vasiliy Lomachenko v Teofimo Lopez Tips: Pre-fight Quotes
Egis Klimas (Vasiliy Lomachenko’s manager): “Mr. Lomachenko is in the house. He was in a very happy mood. We called Bob [Arum], and we said, ‘Bob, Loma is here,’ and Bob gave us a little speech about how happy everybody is, excited about [the fight], and Loma just said a couple of words: ‘Bob, I can’t wait for Oct. 17.’
“It’s the most excited he’s ever been for a fight because he says, ‘Finally, we are in a fight everyone is waiting for.’ Because even before, they were good fights, [but] people weren’t talking about it.
“But this fight everybody is waiting for. Let me tell you, Nobody has seen Vasiliy in the ring more than 65 percent of what he can do because he has never had any opponents who could push him in the ring. Nobody can push him with what he needs to show what he can do 100 percent. So, we never saw who really Lomachenko is.”
Teofimo Lopez Sr (Father and trainer of Teofimo Lopez): “I believe my son is faster than Lomachenko, I believe my son is smarter than Lomchenko, and I believe my son is stronger. So, he has everything to beat Lomachenko. Lomachenko is used to winning.
“He’s used to lining people with all of these things that he does in the ring but that’s not going to faze my son. My son has no respect for him … My son is going to beat him so bad that Lomachenko is going to be out for months, or a year or so. He’s going to be devastated.
“We’re going to go into this fight to destroy Lomachenko. It’s not going to be like Canelo and Floyd Mayweather. Everyone is going to realise come October 17 that they made a big mistake. Everyone knew that with Canelo going into this fight with Floyd Mayweather, it was going to be very hard. Canelo went in very heavy, and everyone knew that if Canelo was going to fight Floyd Mayweather, it was going to be [physical].
“My son is the first person to win a world title from Honduras. Sooner or later after he unifies the 140-pound weight division as well, they are going to make a monument of him in Honduras. We’re going to accomplish even bigger things than Floyd did.”