Vasiliy Lomachenko takes aim at undisputed title, Bob Arum hails him as ‘best technical fighter’ ever
LONDON – Just last month the boxing world said goodbye to the last man to hold the undisputed lightweight championship, Pernell Whitaker, who tragically passed away after being struck by a car in Virginia Beach.
It’s almost 28 years since the great “Sweet Pea” defended his undisputed crown for the final time by easily outpointing Jorge Paez in Reno, Nevada. In the near-three decades that have passed, the 135-pound division has seen some incredible talents come and go; Sugar Shane Mosley, Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Terence Crawford among them.
However, the first man with a serious chance of becoming undisputed champion at this weight is Vasiliy Lomachenko. On Saturday night, at the O2 Arena in London, the Ukrainian star looks to add the vacant WBC title to his Ring, WBA and WBO belts at the expense of British southpaw Luke Campbell.
Should he succeed, Lomachenko would only need the IBF title, currently held by Richard Commey, in order to make history.
“I’ll stay for the four titles,” said Lomachenko during a roundtable discussion with the assembled media on Thursday. “You need motivation for this sport and I would have taken my goal [of becoming undisputed champion]. After that, I will try to find one more goal and if I can’t find it, then I’ll finish.”
Should Lomachenko overcome Campbell’s challenge, then he will undoubtedly push for a fight between Commey and the unbeaten Teofimo Lopez. News surfaced on Tuesday that the pair will collide at Madison Square Garden in New York on Dec. 14.
“I think Commey knocks him out, but that’s just my opinion,” said Lomachenko, who is not what you would call a Lopez fan.
How it all plays out remains to be seen, but Lomachenko is certainly getting close to undisputed status, and the stakes are continually getting higher. Regardless, his 87-year-old Hall of Fame promoter, Bob Arum, is never ruffled when Lomachenko takes center stage.
“I don’t get nervous at all,” Arum told The Ring. “He’s the consummate professional, so what am I going to get nervous about? He knows what he’s doing better than I do.
“Lomachenko is the best technical fighter I have ever seen. Does Campbell have a chance? Yeah, he’s a terrific fighter, but you gotta go with Loma. None of the fighters I’ve worked with in the past had the technical ability of Lomachenko. I think we’ll see a very good fight, but watch how Lomachenko breaks him down, round by round.”
Tom Gray is Associate Editor for The Ring. Follow him on Twitter: @Tom_Gray_Boxing
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