Jul 01, 2020
Report: Unification fight between Vasiliy Lomachenko and Teofimo Lopez back on schedule for September
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The lightweight unification fight between Vasiliy Lomachenko and Teofimo Lopez finally has a new date.
The No. 3 pound-for-pound boxer in the world as ranked by Yahoo Sports will face the rising star on Sept. 19, Top Rank’s Bob Arum told ESPN on Tuesday.
On the line will be Lomachenko’s WBA, WBO and Ring magazine titles, while Lopez will enter with his IBF belt. American Devin Haney holds the remaining WBC lightweight title.
The two fighters were initially scheduled to face each other on May 30 at Madison Square Garden, but the ongoing coronavirus pandemic obviously threw a wrench in those plans. It has been an especially long wait for Lomachenko, who has not fought since Aug. 31, 2019 when he beat Luke Campbell by unanimous decision.© Provided by Yahoo! Sports Vasiliy Lomachenko will go a full year without an official bout. (AP Photo/Adam Hunger)
The 14-1 Lomachenko remains undefeated as a lightweight. His date against Lopez represents a return among the sport’s top boxers, as bouts like Deontay Wilder and Tyson Fury’s trilogy have been postponed by the pandemic. Top Rank has held cards in recent weeks, but has been hesitant with its biggest names due to the loss of revenue from the lack of fans in attendance.
That could change with Lomachenko-Lopez, as Arum told Yahoo Sports’ Kevin Iole earlier this month that his company has been engaged with the Nevada Athletic Commission and the MGM Grand about having a limited number of fans in attendance — as many as 2,500 spaced out in an arena — for the potential bout.
That still isn’t nearly as many fans as normal, but it would still represent much more money than a potential:
“We’re not talking cheap tickets here,” Arum said. “So we’d have to give them something for their money to make it a nice night and worth their while. We could serve food, give them some [fight merchandise], a program, drinks, that kind of thing. Make it a really classy event with some great fights.
“With the purses these kids get, we just need some kind of gate revenue to help us pull this off. We have to see how things go with this virus, but by that point, we’ll have had experience with this thing for a couple of months and we’ll know a lot more about how to do it safely. So that’s what we’re trying to do.”
It’s unclear if Arum has finalized plans for that set-up, especially with coronavirus cases still rising in Nevada.
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News Source: msn.com
UFC 251 on Fight Island: Usman will beat Masvidal if he avoids stand-up fight, says Maia
UFC welterweight champion Kamaru Usman can defeat Jorge Masvidal if he avoids a stand-up fight, according to Demian Maia.
Maia is the only man to have stepped into the Octagon with both Usman and Masvidal, who will meet at UFC 251 in Abu Dhabi on Sunday local time (Saturday night in the U.S.).
The titleholder was initially scheduled to fight Gilbert Burns but the Brazilian contracted the coronavirus and was replaced by Masvidal on six days’ notice.
UFC 251 ON FIGHT ISLAND: Everything you need to know
Maia gained a split-decision verdict against “Gamebred” after three rounds in 2017; the following year, he lost on points to Usman after 25 minutes.
He believes the “Nigerian Nightmare” has the skills required to get the better of Masvidal.
“Fights are all about styles and matchups. It doesn’t mean that if I had a difficult time with Kamaru and I won against Jorge, that the same will reflect on the fight,” Maia told TMZ Sports. “I think there’s some things that make Kamaru [the] favorite for this fight. I think he’s more well-rounded, he’s a very good wrestler and he had that full camp.
“Masvidal didn’t have this camp, he just got this fight, so that’s why I think Kamaru is the favorite.
“But MMA is a crazy sport. Even when there is a big difference it’s hard to tell who’s going to win. I think that’s what makes the sport so exciting — it’s because it’s very hard to predict fights and winners.”
Asked what advice he would give to Usman, Maia responded: “What he should do is for sure do what he does best, which is mixing his boxing and his takedown skills.
“Because even though Usman has very good boxing and he’s very technical, he changes stances, and he’s powerful also, he has heavy hands, I think in this matter Jorge is more experienced. He’s been in more stand-up fights and boxing fights, so it’s dangerous for Usman, even with all his skills, to keep the fight like that.
“I think [if] he mixes boxing and taking down Jorge, who then gets a little bit tired especially because he didn’t get a full camp, then it will be easier for him to get a better outcome.”