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Haney to try and force Lomachenko fight before end of 2019

Image: Haney to try and force Lomachenko fight before end of 2019

By Barry Holbrook: Vasiliy Lomachenko will be in the crosshairs of unbeaten Devin Haney if he beats Zaur Abdullaev next Friday in their WBC lightweight title eliminator on September 13 on DAZN at Madison Square Garden in New York. Haney’s promoter Eddie Hearn says Lomachenko (14-1, 10 KOs) will be fighting once more before the end of the year, and he wants that match to be against the unbeaten Haney (22-0, 14 KOs).

Lomachenko to fight once more in 2019

WBA/WBC/WBO lightweight champion Lomachenko is waiting for the winner of the Richard Commey vs. Teofimo Lopez fight, says Hearn. Lomachenko won’t get a chance to fight the winner of that match until the first quarter of 2020 for the undisputed lightweight championship. But while Lomachenko is waiting for that match-up, he intends on fighting once more before the end of this year. That’s where Haney comes in. He wants Loma in 2019, not 2020.

Hearn and Haney plan on using the spotlight on the Abdullaev fight to call out Lomachenko to pressure him and Top Rank to make the fight. It’s important for Haney to try and force Lomachenko to face him in 2019, because he intends on vacating his lightweight titles if he defeats the Commey-Lopez winner. Lomachenko is moving back down to 130, and won’t have any reason to face the 20-year-old Devin.

Hearn will lose the ability to force Lomachenko to face Haney once he vacates his lightweight titles. The only way they can exert pressure on Lomachenko to make the fight is by beating Abdullaev to become the WBC mandatory. Even then, the World Boxing Council will nee to order Lomachenko to face Haney.

Devin Haney will be calling out Lomachenko if he beats Zaur Abdullaev next Friday

“Next week, hopefully Devin Haney will beat Abdullaev. He’ll then be mandatory to Lomachenko,” Hearn said to secondsout. “Lomachenko is waiting for the winner of [Richard] Commey and [Teofimo] Lopez, which is happening in November. So he [Lomachenko] will fight the winner of that in March, April or May. He wants to fight again this year.

If Devin Haney wins next week [against Abdullaev], we will be calling out the name of Lomachenko to make that fight. The whole world will want to make that fight. So hopefully Bob [Arum] and Lomachenko will accept that challenge before they go into the undisputed fight,” said Hearn.

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If Lomachenko attempts to take a voluntary defense of his WBC title before the end of 2019, he’s not supposed to be able to do this.  In winning the vacant WBC 135-lb title, Lomachenko is required to defend against his mandatory challenger. If Haney beats Abdullaev next Friday, he’ll be the WBC mandatory to Lomachenko. It’ll then be up to the WBC to follow their own rules, and order Lomachenko to defend against his mandatory.

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