Vasyl Lomachenko dazzled yet again in his defence of his WBA and WBO World Lightweight Titles, and acquiring the vacant WBC Title at the end of August against fellow Olympic Champion, Luke Campbell at the O2 Arena in London.
Attention now turns to the Ukrainian magician’s next move, and there are a host of options available to him. Here I look at the potential next foes for “Loma”
Mandatory Challengers For His Various Belts
With great power comes great responsibility, and Lomachenko’s collection of titles brings with it a collection of number one contenders all queuing up for a shot at the king. The leading contenders for Lomachenko’s belts are all potential future superstars.
The current WBC mandatory challenger is 20 year old Devin Haney, after he spectacularly won the interim version of the title (nobody knows why an interim title match was needed!) with a fourth round corner stoppage against Zaur Abdullaev in New York last month. The Unbeaten Las Vegas resident Haney is fast rising, and has 15 knockouts in his 23 paid victories so far, and as superlative as Lomachenko is, this could well be a difficult nights’ work for him.
Number one with the WBA is another big threat in Gervonta Davis. The Baltimore man is unbeaten in 22, with 21 wins coming by way of knockout, Davis has never fought at the weight, yet finds himself at number one with the organisation after vacating the WBA (Super) Super Featherweight belt last month following a July defence against Ricardo Nunez which ended in a second round stoppage win for “Tank” in his home town. A Loma v Davis fight would certainly be intriguing, but it looks unlikely that this would be the next assignment for the current champion.
The WBO option is Teofimo Lopez, and his challenge is equally fraught with danger. The Brooklynite is unbeaten in 14, with 11 coming by knockout, including impressive finishes of Diego Magdaleno and Edit Tatli in 2019. The problem here though lies in the next section.
Undisputed Lightweight Champion
With Lomachenko holding three of the four major belts, another option is an attempt to add the fourth to complete the set.
The current IBF Champion is Richard Comney, with the Ghanaian capturing the vacant title in February this year with a second round knockout win against Isa Chaniev. Comney backed up this win with a confident eighth round stoppage of the usually durable Raymundo Beltran in June.
Sadly for Lomachenko, it looks as though Comney’s second defence will be against the aforementioned Teofimo Lopez, rumoured to be taking place on December the 14th although this hasn’t yet been confirmed. If this fight is rubber stamped, then Lomachenko would have to wait until early to mid-2020 to become Undisputed Champion.
A Step Back Down To Super Featherweight
The 130 pound division saw Lomachenko produce some superb performances, stopping Roman Martinez, Nicholas Walters, Jason Sosa, Miguel Marriaga and Guillermo Rigondeaux in WBO title matches. He has hinted at returning to his more natural weight class.
The landscape has now changed in the division somewhat, and it’s mainly an American feel. The problem here is in that there aren’t many saleable options in the division.
Miguel Berchelt is the WBC Champion, and has made five successful defences of his belt, while American, Tevin Farmer has made some eye catching defences of his IBF title, but a meeting with Lomachenko wouldn’t guarantee to capture the imagination. Andrew Cancio is the new WBA Champion, after a shock third round knockout of Alberto Machado in June, while Jamel Herring is the current WBO Champion, after decisioning Masayuki Ito in May.
There is of course an option to move up in weight, but this seems highly unlikely for his next fight. With all things considered, and Lomachenko saying that he will fight once more in 2019, it’s likely to be a routine defence of his Lightweight belts that we will see.