Friday, March 24, 2023  |



Vasyl Lomachenko to defend title vs. Miguel Marriaga on Aug. 5 on ESPN

Photo / @TRboxing

The next Top Rank on ESPN headliner is officially set. previously reported Vasyl Lomachenko would defend his title August 5 in the second installment of the new series, possibly in a rematch against Orlando Salido. That deal fell apart this week when Salido turned down an approximate payday of $700,000, a source told

Enter Miguel Marriaga, a featherweight contender who is coming off a loss to Oscar Valdez in April. Marriaga (25-2, 21 knockouts) will move up four pounds and challenge Lomachenko for his WBO junior lightweight title at Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles. Lightweight contender Ray Beltran will meet former title challenger Bryan Vasquez in the 135-pound co-feature.

Lomachenko (8-1, 6 KOs), No. 5 on THE RING pound-for-pound list, will making his third defense of the 130-pound belt he won via spectacular knockout over Roman Martinez last summer.

What Lomachenko won’t receive is an opportunity to avenge his lone pro defeat. That came against Salido in the Ukrainian’s second pro bout following a decorated amateur career, highlighted by two Olympic gold medals. The Mexican veteran came in overweight and then used low blows and every dirty trick in the book to outpoint Lomachenko.

While Lomachenko waits for an opportunity to avenge that setback or face another Top 10 opponent, he will stay busy against Marriaga, a Columbian slugger who was outpointed in his only two fights against top competition. Valdez beat him by a wide decision, as did Nicholas Walters in June 2015.

Now Marriaga will face an even greater talent — perhaps the best in boxing — in hopes of breathing new life into his career.

For Lomachenko, it’s his greatest stage yet to display his immense talents against a fighter who usually is willing to slug it out.