Top Rank head honcho Bob Arum recently sat down with iFL TV to discuss some of the sport’s major topics, including this Saturday’s ESPN doubleheader, the pending purse bid between Teofimo Lopez and George Kambosos Jr., Tyson Fury vs. Anthony Joshua, and the ongoing feud between Deontay Wilder and Mark Breland. The real meat, however, came in the final three minutes: Arum is looking to re-book Michael Conlan vs. Isaac Dogboe in Ireland this coming spring, and wants to stage Vasiliy Lomachenko’s return in “early summer” in front of a live audience.
Lomachenko (14-2, 10 KO) has been out of action since a shock upset loss to Teofimo Lopez and subsequent shoulder surgery. “Hi-Tech” has essentially vanished from the discussion swirling around the lightweight division, especially since he’s become a monstrous risk with no reward, but the man’s still just 32 and a truly elite fighter.
Arum names Japan’s Masayoshi Nakatani as a potential opponent, and I’ve got no complaints about that matchmaking. Nakatani seemingly retired after an unexpectedly competitive loss to Lopez in 2019, but returned last December to spoil Felix Verdejo’s comeback story with a ninth-round knockout. He’s almost five inches taller than Lomachenko, has a similarly massive reach advantage, and is both weird and persistent enough to make even an ace like Loma work for it.