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Vasiliy Lomachenko on Teofimo Lopez: “He Holds My Belt”

PhilBoxing.com




(April 6, 2020) — Unified lightweight world champion Vasiliy Lomachenko is riding out the COVID-19 pandemic in his native Ukraine, but the three-weight kingpin is chomping at the bit to get his hands on the division’s leading names, including IBF world champion Teofimo Lopez, WBC world champion Devin Haney and Gervonta “Tank” Davis.

Lomachenko (14-1, 10 KOs) has not fought since last August’s unanimous decision victory over Luke Campbell in London. He has sat back and taken notice of Lopez (15-0, 12 KOs), the Brooklyn-born prodigy who has been outspoken in his desire to fight the pound-for-pound Picasso.

This is what Lomachenko had to say in an exclusive interview with Top Rank’s Crystina Poncher.

On the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic in Ukraine

“The situation as of this moment is from Monday, there will be very limited time to go outside. You will have to be in your house. You can’t gather more than two or three people. The situation is like you can only take your dog out for a walk or go out for something very serious. Other than that, you have to sit at home. You can’t even walk with your kids outside. Everyone will be on lockdown. This will go on until April 24 starting on Monday.”

On staying in shape at home in Ukraine

“I have a gym {at my house}, and of course I’m still training because it’s my job. Nobody knows when we can start. I always have to be in shape. I have to be ready always.”

On his feelings when he found out the tentative date of May 30 for the Lopez fight was postponed

“Of course, I was disappointed a little bit, but everything that’s happening {with self-quarantines} is happening for the better. The most important thing is for all the people on this planet to get back and get healthy and everything will go back to normal.”

On whether he thinks Lopez is ready for the sport’s elite

“I really think he’s a good boxer. He’s a top fighter. He’s young, he’s hungry, he has big power, and I want this fight. He’s a world champion, and he holds my belt. It’s IBF title.”

On whether he sees the Lopez fight ending in a knockout

“Nobody knows. It’s very unpredictable. Nobody can predict what is going to happen, how it’s going to happen. And the people are talking about which round they are going to knock somebody out or stop somebody. I am getting very, very interested. Now, I want to see {the fight}.”

On what makes the Lopez matchup interesting

“The interesting thing for me, it will be to look into his eyes and his father’s eyes and see their reaction {after the fight}.”

On his most memorable moment from fighting Luke Campbell in London

“The most exciting moment I remember from my trip to the UK is probably when we went on the top of the O2 Arena, and I saw all of London. I could see it and then the very next day I was the champion of that arena. That was the most memorable moment for me."

Word association when Lomachenko hears the following names:

Teofimo Lopez Sr.

“I can’t say that. It wouldn’t look good. I was raised differently.

“{He is a} good father.”

Oleksandr Usyk

“Best friend.”

Gervonta “Tank” Davis

“Power.”

Floyd Mayweather

“Boxing IQ.”

Bob Arum

“Best promoter.”


Fan Questions

Any concern over the long layoff?

“Yes, of course. You have to be active all the time. You have to be training a lot in the downtime between fights. Right now, I am relaxing more. I will need to spend more time training. I will need to spar more and do more work.”

If you could fight any boxer from any era to give you the best fight, who would you want to fight?

“Of course I would like to fight somebody who is undefeated, who has a good history, who has a big name. I think the most interesting name for me to fight would be Floyd Mayweather.”

What do you think of Teofimo’s shoulder roll and catch-and-shoot counterpunching style?

“It is not an easy type of fighting. It is not an easy style. It is easier to fight attacking fighters who are coming forward. It’s much easier. This type of counterpuncher is more difficult to fight. The winner will be who has the better boxing IQ. But that style with the shoulder, I think I know what I have to do to win."

Do you think that Gervonta Davis will fight you?

“Right now, I don’t think he’s going to fight me. He might want to fight me, but his promoters are not going to let him. Aside from him, that weight class is getting very interesting. We have a lot of good names in the weight class. Not {just} the champions, but they are in the rankings. So I think it’s a hard weight division."

Do you want to stay at lightweight?

“It’s unpredictable. If we are going to be sitting here for one year longer, who is going to be coming out and in what weight class will they be?"

What about the Instagram back-and-forth with Devin Haney?

“Yes, DAZN posted something about Haney, and he said he would knock me out. So that is why I answered him, ‘Hey, listen, are you serious?’ He has not fought anybody and now he is saying he is going to knock me out? I said, ‘No problem, let’s do it.’ Then he answered me right away saying, ‘Yes, we can do it.’ I said, ‘OK, I am ready.’ He knows I am ready. I think he is ready, and we can give the fight for the fans that everybody wants. That is why I mentioned before that this is a very interesting weight class with big names and good names coming to the weight class.”




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