Unified lightweight titleist Vasily Lomchenko faced his title contender Teofimo Lopez Jr. in a top-ranked card main event Saturday night at Las Vegas’s MGM Grand Convention Center (ESPN and ESPN +, 7:30 ET).
Lomachenko (14-1, 10 KOs), WBO and WBA titleholder and WBC “franchise” champion, puts his belts against IBF Titleist Lopez (15-0, 12 KOs) in a widely matched match between the two best . Fighters in the Division.
Lomchenko, 32, won the WBA belt in May 2018 in a seventh round TKO win over George Linares. Seven months later he included the WBO belt in a unanimous decision over Jose Pedraza. Lomchenko won the WBC belt in a decision win over Luke Campbell in 2019, but two months after that he was stripped of the belt by the WBC and instead named the organization the “franchise” winner. WBC interim title holder Devin Hanney was promoted to full titleholder. The WBC initially stated that there would be nothing to fight for the “franchise” belt, but the course has recently been reversed.
The fight is one of the best matchups that can be made in boxing, but will not have fans in attendance due to the coronovirus epidemic ban. Lomchenko says he will not be affected by it.
“I think it’s just a ring and judge and TV. That’s it. And there are definitely four belts,” Lomachenko said during a news conference Wednesday. “For me, I think it will be a chess match.”
Lopez echoed Lomachenko’s feelings about the lack of fans – one of the few things they agree with.
“A true champion can adapt to everything,” Lopez said. “This goes for both of us. She fought in sold out arenas. I fought in sold out arenas. My job and my stuff are from these belts wrapped around me.”
The 23-year-old Lopez performed brilliantly to win his belt in a second-round TKO of Richard Comye in December last year and fought a unification fight against Lomchenko.
“Hard work pays off. In eighteen years, and this is just the beginning,” Lopez said. “you is not seen nothing yet.”
In the co-main event, Arnold Barboza Jr. took Alex Soredo (30–1, 19 KOs) in a 10-round, junior welterweight fight. Barboza (24-0, 10 KOs) has won three of their last five encounters with stops. He won a unanimous unanimous decision against Tony Louis in August in the top rank bubble.
Soredo (30–1, 19 KOs) has won two consecutive fights since suffering the only loss of his career to challenge Maurice Hooker for the WBO world title in 2018.
KO machine Edgar Berlanga (14–0, 14 KOs) meets Lanell Bellows (20–5–3, 13 KOs) in an eight-round super middleweight bout. Berlanga has yet to see Round 2 as he has won all of his Pro Fights from the first round stoppages. Bellows was never stopped in his professional career.
Also on the card, Josu Vargas (17–1, 9 KOs) and Kedo Castaneda (17–2, 8 KOs) face off in a 10-round junior welterweight fight, and Jose Enrique Durantes Vivas (19–1, 10 KO). John Vincent Morald (23–3, 13 KOs) in a feather bout scheduled for eight rounds.
Steve Kim recounted the fiasco in Las Vegas.
Battle in progress: Quinton Randall vs Jan Carlos Rivera, 6 rounds, welterweight
Tucker remains unbeaten with unanimous decision victory
In the opening bout of the night, welterweight Zahi Tucker scored his second professional win by defeating Charles Garner’s four-round century. The three judges watched the battle for Tucker 40–36.
While the scorecards were wide in favor of Tucker (2–0, 1 KOs), it was not a great performance. Tucker was a more active fighter and overtook Garner in consecutive battles, but Garner (1–1) completed his moments.
What this fight really showed was that 17-year-old Tucker still has avenues to go in terms of his professional development.
still to come:
Battle of the title: Vasily Lomchenko vs. Teofimo Lopez for Lomichenko’s WBO and WBA lightweight titles and Lopez’s IBF lightweight title, 12 rounds
Arnold Barboza Jr. vs Alex Soredo, 10 rounds, junior welterweight
Edgar Berlanga vs Lanell Bellows, 8 rounds, super midweights
Joshu Vargas vs Kendo Castaneda, 10 rounds, junior welterweight
Jose Enrique Durantes Vivas vs John Vincent Moralde, 8 rounds, featherweight