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Vasiliy Lomachenko confident ahead of Teofimo Lopez bout, insists ring rust won’t be an issue

Anthony Cocks

Australian-based boxing journalist Anthony Cocks has been covering the sport for over 15 years for various print and online publications. He refuses to believe that Roberto Duran ever lost to Tommy Hearns and says that Jeff Fenech would destroy Chuck Norris, Bruce Lee and Muhammad Ali on the same night.

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WBA and WBO lightweight champion Vasiliy Lomachenko 14-1 (10) is ready to lift the IBF belt from undefeated Teofimo Lopez 15-0 (12) at ‘The Bubble’ at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada on Saturday night.

“I feel great. I can’t wait for Saturday night,” Lomachenko told media this week. “I have a goal, I have a dream and he holds the IBF title. I need this belt. Saturday I will take his belt.

“We will see what he has, we always come prepared.”

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Lomachenko hasn’t fought since his wide unanimous decision win over Luke Campbell in August last year, but the 32-year-old Ukrainian southpaw says he isn’t worried about ring rust.

“I don’t think so. I feel good about my age. I’m just 32 years old. Who made the rules about age in boxing? I still feel great,” he said.

The 23-year-old Lopez, who claimed the IBF strap with an impressive second-round knockout of Richard Commey at Madison Square Garden in New York last December, is a natural athlete with explosive power.

“He has a good punch, speed, and good IQ. He’s young and hungry. We will see,” Lomachenko said.

Lopez has continued to throw barbs at Lomachenko throughout the build-up to the fight, but the bad blood seems entirely one-sided.

“I heard this before from a lot of boxers that they will beat me or knock me out. In the ring they forget about their words and promises. For me, it’s just trash talk. We will see what happens in the ring,” Lomachenko said.

“Back home we don’t have strict laws. Here in the States they are strict. If you insult somebody back home someone can confront you and fight you and there are no laws. He wouldn’t be talking that much. But he can talk all he wants. I will do the talking in the ring.”

Lomachenko has had an impressive career to date, winning world titles at 126, 130 and 135 pounds. All but one of his 15 professional bouts has been a world title fight.

“When I became a professional fighter, all I wanted to do is fight the best fighters,” he said. “Right now, I have a top fighter in front of me. I want to improve and do this for my legacy.

“I can’t compare this fight to any fight I’ve had. He is a tough fighter. It won’t be an easy fight. We will see.”

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