WBA and WBO lightweight champion Vasiliy Lomachenko 14-1 (10) will finally clash with IBF counterpart Teofimo ‘El Brooklyn’ Lopez 15-0 (12) at ‘The Bubble’ at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada on October 17.
Negotiations for the fight have dragged on as the global coronavirus pandemic derailed plans to make the fight earlier in the year.
Ukrainian southpaw Lomachenko, 32, has appeared largely bemused by Lopez calling him out, but now that the fight is signed he is clearly relishing the opportunity to make the 23-year-old upstart eat his words.
“Teofimo Lopez can talk all he wants,” said Lomachenko, who is widely regarded as one of the best pound-for-pound boxers in the world. “He’s very good at talking. He has done nothing but say my name for the past two years.
“I am a fighter, and my goal is to win another world title. Good for Teofimo. When we fight in Las Vegas, he will eat my punches and his words.
“I will be the better man and four world titles will come home with me to Ukraine.”
Lopez scored an impressive second-round knockout victory over Richard Commey to claim the IBF 135-pound title in his last fight at Madison Square Garden in New York in December.
By comparison, Lomachenko first fought for a world title in just his second pro bout when he lost a close split decision to Orlando Salido for the WBO featherweight championship in San Antonio, Texas in March 2014. Three months later he defeated Gary Russell Jr for the same title in Carson, California.
Lomachenko has since won world championships at super featherweight and lightweight. All but one of his pro bouts have been for world titles.
Despite the apparent gap in world-class experience, the ultra-confident Lopez believes he has the talent and style to spring the upset.
“I will beat up Lomachenko and take his belts. Simple as that,” Lopez said.
“I’m coming to Las Vegas to make history. I don’t like the guy, and I’m going to have fun as Lomachenko’s face is beaten and marked up by my hands.
“The takeover is here, and the reign of Lomachenko, the little diva, is coming to an end.”
Promoter Bob Arum of Top Rank says it is the best fight in boxing.
“Lomachenko-Lopez is the best fight that can be made in boxing and we are delighted that it will be available to fans for no extra charge live on ESPN,” Arum said.
“Teofimo and Vasiliy demanded the fight and we are glad we could make it happen.
“Vasiliy has never backed down from a challenge since he turned pro under the Top Rank banner and Teofimo is a fearless young champion daring to be great.
“This has all the makings of a modern boxing classic.”
The Lomachenko-Lopez fight is part of a busy October schedule for Top Rank.
Junior welterweight Jose Zepeda 32-2 2 NC (25) will face Ivan Baranchyk 20-1 (13) over 10 rounds at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas on October 3 on ESPN+.
On October 9 Emanuel Navarrete 32-1 (28) will clash with Ruben Villa 18-0 (5) over 12 rounds for the vacant WBO featherweight title at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas on ESPN and ESPN Deportes.
Two weeks later WBC and IBF light heavyweight champion Artur Beterbiev 15-0 (15) will defend his unified championship against Adam Deines 19-1-1 (10) in Moscow, Russia on October 23 on ESPN and ESPN Deportes.
And in a huge Halloween fight to close out the month, IBF and WBA bantamweight champion Naoya ‘The Monster’ Inoue 19-0 (16) will defend against Jason Moloney 21-1 (18) at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas on October 31 on ESPN+.