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Vasiliy Lomachenko: I’m going to hold Teofimo Lopez accountable for every word that has been said

Vasiliy Lomachenko sits down to talk about Teofimo Lopez, Gervonta Davis, his hand injury, and more.

Scott Christ is the managing editor of Bad Left Hook and has been covering boxing for SB Nation since 2006.

WBA and WBO lightweight titleholder and top pound-for-pound contender Vasiliy Lomachenko isn’t someone we hear a whole lot from, so this opportunity for him to give some expanded thoughts on his career and fellow fighters is a pretty good one.

Lomachenko (13-1, 10 KO) discusses his win over Anthony Crolla, the hand injury suffered on the KO punch, his return this fall, and his thoughts on Teofimo Lopez, Gervonta Davis, Mikey Garcia, and Luke Campbell.

On the hand injury suffered against Anthony Crolla

“I don’t know what happened, but the hand problem occurred after the final side punch when Crolla fell down. I felt that if he gets back up again, I would have to finish the fight with one hand again. I realized that I wouldn’t be able to hit with that hand anymore.

“Why and how it happened, really, I don’t know. Taping was as usual, it was of good quality, it was tight enough. I did change the gloves, Venum. I pressed my left hand tightly, but my right hand — it seemed to me that maybe I didn’t press it tight enough, and that was why when I hit the bone fell through. It was a kind of a joint dislocation. Whether it was the gloves or I didn’t press my hand tight enough, I don’t know.”

On assessing Anthony Crolla

“I mentioned before the fight that he is a mid-level boxer. Objectively, for people who know about boxing, he isn’t a top-level, I’d say. Yes, he’s a mid-level boxer, but nevertheless, he was a world champion. In his fights against Linares he fought through all the 12 rounds. I don’t know what to say, but as for me, as I said, I didn’t feel a lot of resistance. He didn’t make me think very hard. Yes, that’s the way I’d put it.”

On Teofimo Lopez repeatedly calling him out for a fight

“You know, my father said to me when I was a kid, ‘If you are strong, show your weakness, but if you are weak, show your strength.’ In this situation, objectively as well as subjectively, it’s clear that they are trying to show their strength.

“The strong person is never going to shout about it, they are never going to try to insult somebody. That person is just going to silently do the thing and prove it with their actions and not words. So far, it’s just a lot of talking, him showing his strategic thinking in, probably, business. Because before that, when he wasn’t saying anything, nobody knew who he was or even heard his name, despite the fact that he ended the fights with knockouts.

“At some point they probably chose the strategy or a tactic to use my name to promote him and promote that fight, in order to make money on that. It’s working pretty well, because the people in America swallow that, so it’s working pretty well.

“On my side, I like that, too, because I’m a very good situation, in a very good position. He has talked himself into so much that I know exactly how I’m going to hold that fight. I’m going to hold him accountable in that fight for every word that has been said. Additionally, I don’t need to do anything to promote that fight. I don’t need to do anything at all, I can just be silent, and then we will go into the ring, and in the ring, each will do and show how much he is worth.”

On fighting Gervonta Davis for free

“What I meant is that we can reach agreement and it does not matter to me what the figure is going to be. I am not going to bargain for a fight with him. If the moment is right, and I am told, ‘Vasiliy, you can box with Gervonta, but you’ll get no money out of this fight,’ I’d say yes. I wouldn’t hesitate, think whether I should do it since I won’t get paid. I’m not going to think about it, I’ll simply go out there and box with him.

“It doesn’t matter to me right now, with the guys who talk a lot, who try to blur other people’s minds with their pretty and loud pronouncements, it insults me as a sportsman. So I would gladly accept and enter the ring with both (Lopez and Davis).”

On why he wants to fight Davis so much

“Look, Davis is a champion, and what’s more, he is a champion in the weight class (130) that is comfortable for me. It’s the weight that I left because I couldn’t unite the belts. As soon as I left, he opened his mouth. So the situation is as follows, I’ll try to do what I want at 135, and then I want to go back to 130 and try to unite the belts there. He is a top opponent, a great fighter, with whom one can fulfill his potential and write one’s name into the history of boxing, because today he is a world champion, today he is a top fighter. So that is why I want to box with him.”

On Mikey Garcia

“In the future, why not? I think this fight could be possible. But not in the nearest future, that’s for sure. I don’t know. Look, he says he wants to stay at 147. If we agreed on 140, I think he would go down to 140. But I am not ready to do that for now. I don’t want to jump in weight, I have a goal and I’d like to keep to that.”

On Luke Campbell fighting for the vacant WBC belt first, then fighting Loma after

“That’s logical. That’s logical, that’s correct, I won’t say anything. I have no objections to that, because that’s the right strategy for his growth as an athlete and his transformation into the world champion. But that’s not the question, that’s what they want. My question is, I want to join the titles.

“I’m in a position where I am close to joining the belts, so this is where the political side of it kicks in. The boxing politics. Who has the connections, who is friends with whom, and who reaches agreement. I don’t know if it’s right for me to judge that, but — well, that’s gonna be about the boxing politics.”

On when he’ll return to the ring

“Approximately, it’s for September. I think I have enough time. In a week and a half, I’m removing the cast, and in two weeks I am going to gradually come back to the gym to gain momentum physically. I don’t need to use my hand to train and develop physically and functionally. As for the boxing work, again the boxing work with my right hand will start in two months. Accordingly it’s going to be May, June. Around the middle of July I’m going to start full-fledged sparrings and the work with pads, punching bags, and before September comes I’ll have enough time.”

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