Lomachenko unsure how long lay-off will impact him against Lopez

By Sports Desk October 14, 2020

Vasyl Lomachenko is unsure how his long lay-off will impact him in Saturday's lightweight unification bout against Teofimo Lopez.

Lomachenko (14-1) will put his WBA and WBO titles on the line at MGM Grand, while bidding to win Lopez's IBF crown.

The Ukrainian is in action for the first time since August last year amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Asked how the longest lay-off of his professional career would impact him, Lomachenko was uncertain.

"I'll check on Saturday, I don't know," he told a news conference on Wednesday.

"I never stay one year outside ring, now it will be first time and I don't know."

Lopez, meanwhile, has had a lengthy absence of his own, having won the IBF title against Richard Commey in December last year.

"I feel great. For both of us, it's the same thing. We haven't had this long of a lay-off," he said.

"Even though during the time with quarantine and everything that was hitting, the pandemic, I was still working out, trying to stay on that as much as possible.

"I'm a big 135-pounder so I always stay in shape, always stay in shape. And I'm ready and I'm more than excited for this fight."

Lopez is defending his IBF title for the first time and his experience has been questioned ahead of facing Lomachenko.

But the 23-year-old, who is 15-0 with 12 knockouts, said he was ready for the challenge.

"I mean hey, that's what it takes to go from a good fighter to a great, all-time fighter," Lopez said.

"You've got to do things like this and we spoke about this for a while now. Why am I going to go back on my word? I talk the talk and I walk the walk and I believe that I can and I know I will become undisputed world champion."

Related items

  • Canelo to face mandatory challenger Yildirim in February Canelo to face mandatory challenger Yildirim in February

    Saul 'Canelo' Alvarez will be back in the ring on February 27, defending his WBA and WBC super-middleweight titles against Avni Yildirim.  

    Canelo claimed the belts in December, handing Callum Smith his first career defeat as he recorded a unanimous points triumph over the Englishman in San Antonio, Texas.  

    Now the Mexican superstar will head to Florida for his next outing, the Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens chosen to stage the clash with Yildirim.  

    While keen to eventually unify the 168-pound division, the 30-year-old must first deal with his mandatory challenger for the WBC strap.  

    "Avni Yildirim is a good boxer and I know we will put on an exciting fight," said Canelo.   

    "I'm very glad that we are able to bring this event to Miami, a short distance from where my hero, Muhammad Ali, trained.   

    "February 27 will be a great night for the sport."

    Yildirim, who owns a 21-2 record as a pro, previously challenged for the vacant WBC belt in February 2019, losing via a technical decision after opponent Anthony Dirrell suffered a cut that forced their bout to be stopped.  

    However, the 29-year-old - whose other loss came against Chris Eubank Jr in 2017 - is ready to go to war as he aims to cause a huge upset.  

    "I am honoured as a mandatory to fight again for the big green belt - thank you to everyone who is involved," Yildirim said in a press release to announce the date. 

    "I always give my all – and everybody should be ready to see a war. I am coming to make my country proud – I am representing the whole of Turkey."

  • Kovalev v Melikuziev off after former champ tests positive for testosterone Kovalev v Melikuziev off after former champ tests positive for testosterone

    Sergey Kovalev's bout against Bektemir Melikuziev has been cancelled after the former three-time light-heavyweight world champion failed a drugs test.

    Kovalev returned a positive for synthetic testosterone via a test carried out by the Voluntary Anti-Doping Association (VADA).

    The scheduled fight card at Fantasy Springs Resort Casino in Indo, California has been pulled by Golden Boy Promotions as a result.

    A statement released by Golden Boy read: "The Kovalev vs Melikuziev boxing event scheduled for January 30 has been cancelled following a positive test for a banned substance (synthetic testosterone) on behalf of Sergey Kovalev through the Voluntary Anti-Doping Association (VADA).

    "Upon learning of Kovalev's adverse finding, the California State Athletic Commission (CSAC) determined that they must cancel the event."

    Kovalev has not fought since losing his WBO light-heavyweight title in an 11th-round knockout defeat to Canelo Alvarez in November 2019, a setback that dropped the 37-year-old's professional record to 34 victories (29 knockouts), four defeats and a solitary draw.

    Counting from his first career loss, when Andre Ward edged a close points verdict against Kovalev in 2016, the Russian has won four and lost four of his past eight fights, with the three subsequent losses all coming by stoppage.

    He was scheduled to box former world title challenger Sullivan Barrera on April 25 last year but the coronavirus pandemic put paid to that, as it did the original plans for the meeting against Uzbekistan's 2016 Olympic bronze medallist Melikuziev (6-0, 5 KOs) to take place in Moscow.

  • Whyte-Povetkin rematch confirmed for March 6 Whyte-Povetkin rematch confirmed for March 6

    The heavyweight rematch between Alexander Povetkin and Dillian Whyte has been officially confirmed for March 6.

    Povetkin knocked out Whyte in the fifth round of their WBC interim title bout last August and the pair were originally set to meet again in late November at Wembley Arena.

    However, the fight was postponed after the Russian was admitted to hospital with COVID-19.

    Promoters Matchroom Boxing has announced a new date has now been set, with the rematch now scheduled for around seven weeks' time.

    The card will take place behind closed doors at a venue that has yet to be confirmed.

    After being laid low by coronavirus last year, Povetkin recently stepped up his training regime as he looks to retain the WBC interim heavyweight title with another victory over Whyte.

    World of Boxing Promotions Company, who represent the 41-year-old, posted on Twitter on Friday: "Alexander has fully recovered and started his training camp on January 12. 

    "He is progressing well in the first stage of his preparation. We hope the second fight will live up to everyone's expectations and that Povetkin will deliver another spectacular finish."

    The winner of the rematch will be in line to face either Tyson Fury or Anthony Joshua later in 2021 for the heavyweight world title.

    Meanwhile, it was also confirmed on Friday that Josh Warrington, who has not been in action since October 2019, will defend his IBF featherweight belt against Mauricio Lara on February 13.

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.