Vasiliy Lomachenko-Teofimo Lopez title unification bout set for October on ESPN

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Kevin Iole
·Combat columnist
·2 min read
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LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 31: Vasily Lomachenko celebrates victory during the WBA, WBO, WBC Lightweight World Title contest between Vasily Lomachenko and Luke Campbell at The O2 Arena on August 31, 2019 in London, England. (Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images)
Vasiliy Lomachenko holds the WBA, WBO and WBC lightweight world titles. (Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images)

Though contracts are not signed, Top Rank president Todd duBoef confirmed to Yahoo Sports on Wednesday a report by The Athletic’s Mike Coppinger that WBA/WBC/WBO lightweight champion Vasiliy Lomachenko and IBF champion Teofimo Lopez will meet in October in Las Vegas at the MGM Grand Conference Center in a bout that will be broadcast by ESPN.

The title unification bout, one of the biggest in boxing that could be made, pits the pound-for-pound star Lomachenko against the brash, hard-punching Lopez, who is 15-0 with 12 knockouts.

The fight had been targeted for Oct. 3 on pay-per-view, but with it looking like ESPN would have holes in its fall schedule because of the uncertainty of college football due to the coronavirus pandemic, Top Rank and ESPN were able to come to an agreement to put the bout in the second half of October on ESPN.

That makes it a huge windfall for fans that all but guarantees the bout will be the highest-rated “Top Rank Boxing on ESPN” in this iteration of the promotion’s deal with the network.

Lopez, 23, has been calling out Lomachenko, a two-time Olympic gold medalist, since early in his professional career. Lopez became a sensation because of his power and colorful persona.

Lopez, a Brooklyn native, represented Honduras in the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, when he failed to make the U.S. team. He did not medal and signed with Top Rank as a pro, and immediately began to wow fans with his punching power and in-ring antics. He was the 2017 and 2018 Yahoo Sports Prospect of the Year, the only fighter chosen more than once.

Lopez won the IBF title in spectacular fashion on Dec. 14, knocking out Richard Commey in the second round.

In Lomachenko (14-1, 10 KOs), though, he’ll be facing by far the most difficult challenge of his career. Lomachenko won Olympic gold medals in 2008 in Beijing and in 2012 in London while putting together a mind-boggling 396-1 amateur record. He has already won world titles at featherweight, super featherweight and lightweight as a pro and is ranked third, behind Canelo Alvarez and Terence Crawford, on Yahoo Sports’ list of the best pound-for-pound boxers in the world. Lomachenko is No. 1 on many other lists.

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