Arum: Lomachenko could face Salido-Cruz winner
Top Rank CEO Bob Arum said that Ukrainian Vasyl Lomachenko, a winner of his second Olympic gold medal at the 2012 Games in London, could fight for the winner of the Orlando Salido–Orlando Cruz WBO featherweight title bout should he win his 10-round professional debut on Sept. 28 against Puerto Rico’s Jonathan Oquendo.
Arum made his announcement during a Thursday press conference at The Crystal Ballroom at the Millennium Biltmore Hotel in Los Angeles, where he was promoting the Sept. 28 super middleweight bout between former WBC middleweight titleholder Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. and Brian Vera that will happen at The StubHub Center in Carson, Calif.
On the Oct. 12 undercard of the Tim Bradley–Juan Manuel Marquez HBO Pay Per main event, Lomachenko will take on Oquendo (23-3, 16 KOs), and Cruz (20-2-1, 10 KOs), a 32-year-old who represented his country in the 2000 Olympics, will meet Salido (39-12-2, 27 KOs), who is a two-time beltholder.
“Vasyl Lomanchenko was perhaps the greatest amateur fighter of our time. He lost only one amateur fight, a disputed decision, and won 540 amateur fights,” said Arum.
“If you want to know how good he is, talk to some of our up-and-coming top rank young fighters who fought him in the amateurs, like Oscar Valdez, Jose Ramirez, and Felix Verdejo. He is something special.”
Lomachenko, 25, signed with Top Rank last month with the intention of fighting for a title in his second professional bout. Guillermo Rigondeaux is believed to be the man to have won a title fight in the least amount of professional bouts, winning the WBA’s bantamweight belt in his eight fight by split-decision over Ricardo Cordoba in November of 2010.
Lomachenko won the featherweight gold medal at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, where he was the recipient of the Val Barker Trophy as the event’s Outstanding Boxer.
On the way to winning his second gold medal in the lightweight division in 2012, Lomachenko scored a victory over Puerto Rican Felix Verdejo, who is 7-0 with five knockouts after having signed with Top Rank.