Tuesday, May 22, 2018  |


Vasiliy Lomachenko to return Aug. 25 in L.A. area, likely vs. Ray Beltran in unification bout

Photo by Tom Hogan-Hoganphotos / Golden Boy Promotions

NEW YORK — Vasiliy Lomachenko is the king of the lightweight division after only one fight at 135 pounds, and soon, he’ll look to unify titles.

The fighter’s promoter, Top Rank CEO Bob Arum, told reporters Saturday that Lomachenko will return August 25 at The Forum in Inglewood, California, in another fight televised on the ESPN platform. The likely opponent: WBO lightweight titleholder Ray Beltran, who would also be making the first defense of his 135-pound belt.

The Mexico native won the strap with a thrilling razor-thin decision victory over Paulus Moses in February. It was a bloody battle for the vacant title, and Beltran needed time afterward to recover from a few gashes suffered around his eyes.

Now, he’s lined up for a career-high payday against Lomachenko, who stopped Jorge Linares in the 10th round on Saturday to win the RING/WBA lightweight championship. Another unification showdown — one with Mikey Garcia — looms as one of the biggest fights that could be made in boxing — but that seems unlikely for 2018.

Garcia is set to unify titles against Robert Easter Jr. on July 28 at Staples Center in Los Angeles, about a month before Lomachenko returns to the ring.

Garcia went through an ugly divorce with Arum and Top Rank, and the hall of fame promoter admitted any negotiation would be messy. So Lomachenko will probably unify with Beltran, who will be a massive underdog, with a plan for the three-weight champion to fight once more before 2018 is over.

“That’s why I came to this weight class, and that’s what I’ll be looking for — to unify titles,” Lomachenko (11-1, 9 knockouts) said at the post-fight news conference, with reigning manager of the year Egis Klimas providing translation.

” … Right now, it’s going to be much easier to get opponents for me because they see I’m also human being. I just made easier job for my promoter.”

Lomachenko was referring to the shocking knockdown Linares scored in Round 6, when the 32-year-old Venezuelan took one step back and fired off a straight right hand that landed on the button. It was the first time Lomachenko’s been on the canvas since an amateur fight in 2007, and the scene, if nothing else, provided a glimpse of the Ukrainian’s vulnerability.

The two-time Olympic gold medalist, who won titles at 126 pounds and 130, had never faced a fighter the size of Linares. His next foe could be even bigger.

Beltran, the rugged 37-year-old who trains in Hollywood, California, is a big, strong 135-pounder who would need to employ a non-stop pressure style to have any chance against Lomachenko.

Beltran (35-7-1, 21 KOs) is a limited fighter compared to the athletically gifted Linares, but THE RING’s No. 3 lightweight packs a more devastating punch, and he’s naturally bigger, too. Beltran and Loma shared an ESPN doubleheader in August 2017 in Los Angeles, and now, they seem destined to meet one year later in the same area.

“I feel like Ray has never walked away from any challenge and if that fight is to be made … we’ll certainly have no issue with it,” Beltran’s longtime manager, Steve Feder, told THE RING on Sunday evening. “It’s going to come down to the numbers. Ray fought 12 rounds with Terence Crawford, who is a welterweight now, and he’s the only guy Terence couldn’t get rid off.

“Ray is a very, very strong 135 (pounds). He’s a big 135. As far as strength is concerned and the power of one shot, I’ll always give the edge to Ray over Linares. This is a street fight, we’re not going to do what Lomachenko wants us to do which is attempt to box with him.

“It will be about taking it to the streets, it won’t be the sweet science. Ray has a lethal left hook, if he lands that on anybody the night changes. You can pepper (Beltran) all night long, he just has to hit (Lomachenko) once. If Ray sneaks in his left, it’s going to be a whole lot more damaging (than Linares’ knockdown-producing straight right hand).”

Mike Coppinger is the Senior Writer for RingTV.com. Follow him on Twitter: @MikeCoppinger

  • Observer

    Beltran is an obvious fight to make. Guess the only other fights that could trump the Beltran fight are Gervonta Davis and if either Easter or Garcia suddenly became available due to an injury of the other one. So In any case we will be getting a good fight in August – thank you Loma!

    • Giuseppe

      Loma v Davis is a good fight.

      Loma v Mikey a great fight.

  • What WBA belt did Loma won? The regular or thr Super?

    • A Guy Who Owns A Coffee Table


      • Stephen M

        Bertran will be very big and strong compared to Loma. This won’t be a walk in the park for Loma, it’ll be tough rounds against a gritty vet.

        • Koninbeor

          Loma shouldn’t aspire to go any higher, either. 140 would be murder for him.


    It will be like Lomie’s fight with Orlando Saludo again. Has Lomie learned since then? You decide!

    • william ellis

      I’d bet he’s learned – he seems to be learning and getting better from fight to fight.

  • PrinceGian

    Beltran is a little long in the tooth now but should provide a decent test for Lomachenko. Hopefully a match up can be made between the winner of this fight and Garcia-Easter. This is why I follow Loma’s career, no bullshit cherry picking, just straight to business. Take on the best who are willing to fight you and no mention of catchweights.

    • william ellis

      Agree entirely. Have to like Beltran for his grit and determination, and am happy he won a title after being robbed against Burns, but Paulus Moses almost beat him, and I can’t see how Beltran could beat Loma. I think he’s a step down from Linares, but he has a title, so he’s a good test all the same.

  • ciobanu catalin

    Thats a great fight. Ray is a highly skilled and experienced fighter. If loma takes on mickey and win these three bouts in one year, nothing can be denied from loma s legacy

    • Ten Count Toronto

      Beltran totally stunk out his last big opportunity against Crawford, showed zero desire to do anything except last the distance. Hopefully he’ll be braver against a smaller guy.

  • Gian Torres

    I guarantee you Lomachenko performs better vs Beltran than Crawford did. You heard it here 1st.

    • Ten Count Toronto

      Crawford won every round most of them easily, can’t really beat the results, but he can make it somewhat more watchable by throwing flurries and shoe-shines because he’ll have a lot more gas to burn than Crawford did at 135.

      Hopefully Beltran will be braver against the smaller (compared to Crawford) fighter and not fight like a backwards-moving Arthur Abraham this time around.

  • Giuseppe

    good fight. now that GGG has been Golden Boy’d into a two time a year fighter, Loma is our frequent flyer.

  • Steve

    A pretty good fight that unifies two belts, what’s not too like? And if Loma wins as expected and decides LW isn’t his best weight he can drop back to 130lb and see if Floyd is serious about matching him with Davis.

  • Alan



  • Blitzshadow

    A very good path set out for Loma here if he did pick up a belt at 140 then possibly Pacquiao at 147 to became a 5 division wolrd champ???

  • Ceylon Shiping

    loma has advantage beating technical fighters with