With Vasiliy Lomachenko expected to make his way to the United States soon, Top Rank are looking to finally put together his lightweight unification bout with Teofimo Lopez, with promoter Bob Arum targeting a September date.
The fight between WBA/WBO titleholder Lomachenko (14-1, 10 KO) and IBF titleholder Lopez (15-0, 12 KO) is one of the most hotly-anticipated of 2020; it was for its original planned date in late May, and it will be now, perhaps even more so now with the amount of “big” fights likely being far less than normal for the remainder of the year, even with boxing operating again after three months off.
Arum tells Sky Sports that he wants to do Lomachenko-Lopez with fans, and has been discussing putting it at the new Allegiant Stadium, the home of the NFL’s Las Vegas Raiders:
“A big fight, we’re hoping to do it in September with a limited audience. We’re talking to the Las Vegas Raiders, who have a beautiful new $1.8 billion stadium. They’re talking to us about doing this fight in their stadium in September for maybe 10,000 people spread out. Everybody is working to get these things done. We can’t talk definitely until we have satisfied all the regulatory bodies.”
A venue the size of Allegiant would allow for social distancing, with fans “spread out,” as Arum puts it, and that may be the way to go. If Top Rank and the Raiders can work out a favorable deal for both parties, and the Nevada commission feels it’s safe to do it, it could happen. That’s no guarantee, of course, as we’re talking three months from now. We’ll see how the returns go without fans, and we’ve already had one fighter test positive for COVID-19 ahead of Tuesday’s return.