Arum says Lomachenko can fight Shakur, Tank or Haney next

By Boxing News - 12/26/2020 - Comments

By Brad Slotnick: Bob Arum will be sitting down with Vasily ‘Hi Tech’ Lomachenko after the New Year to decide which direction he wants to go in for his next fight.

Arum says he wants to give Lomachenko (14-2, 10 KOs) time for his surgically repaired right shoulder to heal before he schedules him for his next fight.

The unbeaten #1 WBO super featherweight champion Shakur Stevenson would make a lot of sense for Lomachenko to fight, as he’s been telling the boxing media that it would be an easy fight for him.

A big win needed by Loma

Lomachenko would have a chance to make Shakur eat his words while at the same time showing the boxing world that he’s not fading at 32.

Image: Arum says Lomachenko can fight Shakur, Tank or Haney next

If Lomachenko wants to pressure IBF/WBA/WBC Franchise/WBO lightweight champion Teofimo (16-0, 12 KOs) to give him a rematch, the best way for him to do that is to beat the highly-rated Stevenson (15-0, 8 KOs).

For some reason, Teofimo has no interest in fighting Lomachenko a second time. The New Yorker says there’s no point in fighting Lomachenko again, as he’d beaten him 100 out of 100 times if they fought.

Instead of fighting Lomachenko again, Teofimo is eyeing a title defense against his IBF mandatory George Kambosos Jr. (19-0, 11 KOs) next in Australia.

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A win for the former three-division world champion Lomachenko against Shakur, 23, would pressure Teofimo to fight Loma again, as he would look like he’s afraid of fighting him a second time under that scenario, especially if he’s only fighting the likes of Kambosos Jr.

Lomachenko beating Shakur Stevenson would be a much bigger victory than for Teofimo to beat Kambosos Jr.

Ultimately, Lomachenko can’t force Teofimo to fight him again, and he might have to forget about him. Teofimo would reveal his true thoughts if he avoided a rematch with Lomachenko for an extended period.

The best way for Lomachenko to make boxing fans forget about his loss to Teofimo is to beat the best fighters at 130 and 135.

Bob Arum wants to match Lomachenko against a top fighter

If Lomachenko is ready to resume his career, his Top Rank boss Arum is interested in matching him against these fighters:

  • Shakur Stevenson
  • Oscar Valdez
  • Miguel Berchelt
  • Gervonta ‘Tank’ Davis
  • Devin Haney

Arum also mentions the possibility of Lomachenko fighting other top guys at 130 or 135.

Image: Arum says Lomachenko can fight Shakur, Tank or Haney next

Without naming names, Arum is likely interested in putting Lomachenko in with some of these fighters:

  • Ryan Garcia
  • Jamel Herring
  • Carl Frampton
  • Joseph Diaz Jr
  • Rene Alvarado

The former three-division world champion Lomachenko was operated soon after his 12 round unanimous decision defeat at the hands of the highly popular 23-year-old Teofimo Lopez on October 17th.

Lomachenko, 32, chose not to fight hard for the first seven rounds of the contest with Lopez after he felt pain in his shoulder.

At the midpoint of the fight, Lomachenko decided to fight through the pain, and he a great deal of success in rounds 8 through 11.

In fact, Lomachenko had a worn-out Teofimo looking in distress in the 11th. However, Loma had given away too many early rounds for him to come all the way back, and he ended up losing by these scores:

  • 116-112
  • 119-109
  • 117-111

Arum to meet with Lomachenko

“We have to let Loma’s shoulder heal. He had another operation on his shoulder, and sometime after the beginning of the year, I’m going to talk with him and see what he wants to do,” said Bob Arum to IFL TV about Lomachenko.

Image: Arum says Lomachenko can fight Shakur, Tank or Haney next

“Does he want to stay at 135? Does he want to go down to 130, which he has no problem making?” said Arum.

With Lomachenko coming off surgery, it might make sense for him to take a tune-up fight against a super featherweight. That doesn’t sound like something Loma would likely agree to, but it would make sense.

Many boxing fans think Lomahenko needs to move back down to 130, as they think he’s too small to be fighting at 135.

Even before Lomachenko’s loss to Lopez, he was already having problems at lightweight in his fights against Jose Pedraza, Luke Campbell, and Jorge Linares.

If Lomachenko stays at 135, he’ll have potentially grueling fights ahead of him against Tank Davis, Haney, and Ryan Garcia. Those are certainly winnable fights for a healthy Lomachenko, but they’ll put his surgically repaired right shoulder to the test.

The problem with Lomachenko moving back down to 130 is the fact that there’s less interest from casual boxing fans in that division compared to 135.

Casual boxing fans in the U.S are less familiar with Miguel Berchelt, Jamel Herring, Oscar Valdez, Joseph Diaz Jr, Jamel Herring, Stevenson, and Carl Frampton than they are with the top 135-pounders.

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So while it’s possible for Lomachenko to go back down to super featherweight and clean out the division of the top guys, he won’t receive as much attention from boxing fans as if he were to stay at lightweight and beat Tank, Ryan Garcia, Teofimo and Haney.

Lomachenko likely already is well aware that he’ll receive more attention and praise from fans if he stays at 135 and wipes out everybody in that division rather than at 130.

Lomachenko’s options at 130 and 135

“We have the Berchelt – Valdez winner, and we have Shakur Stevenson,” said Arum.

Image: Arum says Lomachenko can fight Shakur, Tank or Haney next

“We have a whole great stable of 130-pounders or he can stay at 135, and we can put him in with one of the young guns, [Devin] Haney or Tank Davis would be a good fight.

“So we’ll see. I have to see what Loma wants to do next year,” said Arum.

If the focus for Lomachenko is to show that he can beat the top champions at 130, returning to super featherweight would a good move for him. He could beat Berchelt, Valdez, Herring, Stevenson, and Diaz Dr.

Lomachenko leaving the 135-lb division after his loss to Teofimo would give boxing fans the perception that he’s fleeing the weight class because he’s not good enough.

There are a right way and a wrong way for a fighter to leave a weight class. The right way is for them to leave it after they’ve beaten the top name and looked good. The opposite of that would be to depart from a weight class coming off a loss like Lomachenko just suffered.

As long as Lomachenko can live with the fact, boxing fans will view him as running away from the lightweight division after his failure against Teofimo; he should return to 130.