Vasiliy Lomachenko will resume a familiar role.
The former three-division titlist is due to headline the December 11 edition of Top Rank Boxing on ESPN, to air live from Madison Square Garden in New York City. Lomachenko will likely face Richard Commey in a battle of former lightweight title claimants that has been in talks for months.
“That’s done,” Bob Arum, Lomachenko’s Hall of Fame promoter and founder/chairman of Top Rank insisted to IFL TV of the fight. “December 11 at Madison Square Garden. Done.”
BoxingScene.com has learned from multiple parties involved in negotiations that the fight is not yet formally signed, though far enough along to where any lingering issues are not expected to hold up the event. Once all terms are agreed to and contracts are submitted, the fight will top an event to air immediately after ESPN’s presentation of the Heisman Trophy, awarded to the top college football player and with the ceremony also taking place in New York City.
Both boxers will fight for the second time in 2021, both returning to the ring earlier this year following title reign-ending losses to current lineal WBA/IBF/WBO lightweight champion Teofimo Lopez (16-0, 12KOs).
Ukraine’s Lomachenko (15-2, 11KOs) enters the fight on the heels of a dominant ninth-round stoppage of Japan’s Masayoshi Nakatani this past June at Virgin Hotels Las Vegas. The bout was the first for the two-time Olympic Gold medalist and former three-division champ since a twelve-round, unanimous decision defeat to Lopez in the same town last Halloween, ending his two-plus year lightweight title reign where he collected three belts along the way.
Lomachenko also previously served as a featherweight and junior lightweight titlist. The final fight of his junior lightweight reign saw Lomachenko dominate then-unbeaten Guillermo Rigondeaux en route to a seventh-round corner stoppage in a rare matchup of two two-time Olympic Gold medalists. The bout took place at MSG’s
Hulu Theater in December 2017, immediately following the Heisman Trophy ceremony.
The same coveted slot went to Lomachenko one year later, outpointing Jose Pedraza in their WBA/WBO lightweight title unification clash also at Hulu Theater. Lomachenko will now make his third appearance on such a fight card.
Commey (30-3, 27KOs) returned to the ring this past February, claiming a sixth-round knockout of Jackson Mariñez at MGM Grand Conference Center in Las Vegas.
The fight was his first in 14 months, the previous occasion coming in his IBF title-losing second round knockout to Lopez in their December 2019 clash at MSG. Commey reigned as IBF champ for ten months, his run beginning with a 2nd round knockout of Isa Chaniev earlier that February on the eve of the Super Bowl. One successful defense followed for Commey, an eight-round stoppage of former WBO lightweight titlist Rey Beltran in June 2019.
The proposed fight will take place during an active period for the lightweight division. Lopez will have hopefully faced IBF mandatory challenger George Kambosos (19-0, 10KOs) by that point, as the oft-postponed championship fight is being targeted for mid-to-late November.
Gervonta ‘Tank’ Davis (25-0, 24KOs) returns to lightweight for a grudge match with unbeaten Rolando ‘Rolly’ Romero (14-0, 12KOs) atop a Showtime Pay-Per-View event December 5 at Staples Center in Los Angeles. One week prior, Ryan Garcia (21-0, 18KOs) and Joseph ‘JoJo’ Diaz (31-1-1, 15KOs) will meet at a venue to be determined in the greater Los Angeles area. The winner will be named mandatory challenger to WBC lightweight titlist Devin Haney (26-0, 15KOs), who is in the process of finalizing an opponent and fight date for a planned title defense in December.
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox