WBA and WBO lightweight champion Vasiliy Lomachenko 14-1 (10) has warned IBF 135-pound titleholder Teofimo Lopez 15-0 (12) that he had better be ready to back up his words when the pair meet at ‘The Bubble’ at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada on October 17.
Lopez, 23, from Brooklyn, New York has been vocal in the lead up to the fight, insisting it will be a one-sided affair.
“I will beat up Lomachenko and take his belts. Simple as that,” he 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.”
But Ukrainian southpaw Lomachenko says Lopez should be careful what he wishes for.
“I understand just one thing. Whatever you say, you must prove it in the ring. That’s it,” the 32-year-old said to Sky Sports.
In previous comments to Top Rank – who promote both boxers – Lomachenko said: “In my country, if you insult somebody, you’d better be prepared for them to hurt you.
“If we were back in my country, he would learn pretty quickly that he can’t run his mouth like that.
“Whatever I say, I believe in it. So what he’s saying, for example, he actually believes.
“But if he doesn’t follow it up with actions and fulfil those words, then he chose those words poorly to begin with.
“I’m definitely not going to feel sorry for him. If I get a chance to cause him pain, I’m going to do it.”
The two-time Olympic gold medallist won the vacant WBO featherweight title against current WBC 126-pound champion Gary Russell Jr in just his third pro fight in June 2014 following his split decision loss to Orlando Salido for the same strap three months earlier.
Mexican veteran Salido came in two-and-one-quarter pounds overweight for that bout.
Lomachenko has since claimed the WBO super featherweight title before moving up to 135-pounds where he has unified the WBA, WBO and WBC lightweight titles.
In his last outing, he won a wide unanimous decision over Luke Campbell in August last year.
Lomachenko says the enforced layoff between fights due to the global coronavirus pandemic has allowed some niggling injuries to heal.
“Everything is good,” he told Sky Sports about previous injuries. “I’ve had a one-year break without a fight. Now I’m healthy and happy.
“I’m 32, I’ve been very long in this sport so of course my body has tired a little bit. But I’ve had a break.”
Lopez is coming off an impressive second-round knockout victory of Richard Commey at Madison Square Garden in New York in December to lift the IBF strap.
Lomachenko has his sights firmly set on owning all the major titles in the lightweight division.
“I am close to my goal. This is one step closer to my dream,” he said.
“Fans love the interesting fights with top fighters. Now we have a unification and we are the top fighters in this weight class.
“It was my goal when I started my pro career. It was always my dream. I did 126lbs, I tried 130lbs, now I try 135lbs and it is very close.
“I want to unify. I want to put my name in boxing history.
“I started very early – my second fight of my pro career was a world title fight.
“I want to do something special with this opportunity.”