Lomachenko v Lopez Preview by Stephen Sorby

In an event that bears the promotional slogan 'Winner Takes All', very few people in many walks of life feel like winners in these very testing and unsure times.

This Saturday (October 17th 2020) at The Bubble, in Las Vegas' well established MGM Grand, the sport of boxing has created a contest that is as brilliantly anticipated as it is imperatively important.

At a time when many sports are stalling in one way or another, due to the dictatorial consequences of the global pandemic, Vasyl Lomachenko (14-1) versus Teofimo Lopez (15-0) has the ingredients to not just produce a sporting spectacle of the most satisfying order, but also an injection that can provide a morale boosting cacophony to the sport of boxing which is much needed, and long overdue.

This was just weeks away from happening when the lockdown got the knockdown on this premier 135lbs match-up. 

It felt so close that you could almost hear the Ukrainian national anthem playing while it's proud and distinguished three-weight World Champion, Vasyl Lomachenko, stood opposite his undefeated challenger, Teofimo Lopez.

Contracts signed, and all parties seemingly still eager to proceed with this three-belt Lightweight unification fight, expectations are incredibly high for this to not only happen but for it to be a showcase worthy of one of the sports original and showpiece divisions.

Another example of the sports premier practitioners meeting, creating further evidence that champions and top contenders are prepared and willing to meet, and are often able to satisfy the sports urge for these contests.

Both belt holders have Olympic pedigree; Lopez represented Honduras, via his parents heritage, at Rio in 2016. His professional journey has been far more rewarding than his non-medal winning effort in Brazil, nearly four years ago. 

This was proved in his last outing, shortly before Christmas, by flattening Ghana's highly regarded and experienced Richard Commey in two frighteningly systematic and efficient rounds; gaining him the IBF's highest accolade in just his 15th fight of a three year career.

If Lopez's ascension to the World Title in just 15 fights is looked upon impressively, surely Vasyl Lomachenko picking up his first World belt in only three outings is simply audacious?

His standing as one of the Amateur boxing's greatest ever performers is substantiated by the decoration of medals and title's obtained while wearing the vest for nearly a decade.

His second Olympic Gold medal winning effort, as a Lightweight at the London 2012 games, followed the Beijing 2008 tournament win, where he competed as a Featherweight.

Lomachenko is now somewhat of a seven year professional veteran, and although he shares the same number of bouts as Lopez, the Ukrainian used the World Series of Boxing format as somewhat of an acclimatisation period prior to officially changing codes.

The progression 'Loma' then went onto make through two-weight divisions against former and future World Champions highlighted his remarkable ability.

Lomachenko entered the 135lb weight class two years ago, and has since collected three quarters of boxings available honours at World level. He stands on top of one of the sport’s most exciting and talent-filled division's, with Lopez currently leading the charge of young challengers. 

'Hi-Tech' has stopped two of the three undefeated victims on his ledger, yet his Lightweight opponents had all suffered previous setbacks before sharing the ring with him. However, those four foes combine to create 42 years of experience with a win-loss-draw record of 123-11-3, and share seven World Titles in 24 World Title contests. Throw in an Olympic Gold Medallist and the opposition he has faced is of an extremely high calibre.

The prospect and possibility of fights involving names such as Geovonta Davis, Devin Haney and Ryan Garcia is exciting, and there is a feeling that we are currently entering the dawn of a golden-age in the making.

Lomachenko-Lopez is hopefully the start of a period that promises to bear witness of the sport's finest practitioners meeting in the ring. After months of verbal jousting while our World has had to stand still, the most welcome return is when the top two lock horns. Let's hope the same outcomes can be generated in the sport's other divisions.


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©2020 by The Pugilist Mag.