Lomachenko, Lopez eye Sept. unification fight

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Vasiliy Lomachenko and Teofimo Lopez want to next fight each other in a high-stakes lightweight unification bout, Top Rank’s Bob Arum told ESPN on Tuesday after talking with both camps.

“In talking with Lomachenko and Lopez, neither of them want an interim fight,” Arum said. “So we would plan to do that in September, with or without an audience.”

Lomachenko (14-1, 10 KOs) currently holds the WBC, WBA and WBO 135-pound titles. He most recently fought on Aug. 31, winning a hard-fought, 12-round decision against Luke Campbell at the O2 Arena in England.

Egis Klimas, who manages Lomachenko, said his client prefers to bypass a tune-up bout and go straight to Lopez.

“Nothing matters, as long as Lopez is coming in the ring with Lomachenko,” Klimas said of the prospect of fighting without fans in attendance.

Lomachenko is currently in his home country of Ukraine, but Klimas said his fighter has a green card, “so he’s a permanent resident. He’s allowed to come into the country.”

The 22-year-old Lopez won the IBF lightweight title in emphatic fashion, beating Richard Commey in two rounds on Dec. 14 at Madison Square Garden in New York. The young talent has made it clear that he wants to beat Lomachenko before moving up in weight.

His father, Teofimo Lopez Sr., stated that they want Lomachenko sooner rather than later.

“One-hundred percent,” he said. “We don’t need no tune-ups. We are focused with Lomachenko. That’s all we want is Lomachenko.”

A fight between the two has been talked about since the calendar turned to 2020, and there was talk of it taking place in May at Madison Square Garden before the boxing industry was shut down due to the coronavirus pandemic.

There was speculation that this particular matchup, which is heavily anticipated by boxing fans, would be hampered by not having ticket revenue attached to it. However, both boxers have stated their intentions to move forward with this clash.

“It certainly would be a pay-per-view,” Arum said. “… It’s a big fight that we can do something spectacular in conjunction with the Las Vegas Convention [and Visitors] Authority. Do a big outdoor event. There’s a lot of innovative stuff you can do and still adhering to the mandate of social distancing.”