After passing up a shot at near-unification in favor of defending his homeland earlier this year, pound-for-pound great Vasiliy Lomachenko is officially set to return to the ring on October 29th opposite undefeated Jamaine Ortiz at Madison Square Garden’s Hulu Theater.
Lomachenko (16-2, 11 KO) ran roughshod over Richard Commey last December for his second straight win since losing his titles to Teofimo Lopez in 2020. Negotiations with the newly crowned George Kambosos Jr were inches from the finish line when Russia invaded Ukraine, prompting “Hi-Tech” to unlace the gloves and take up arms.
A shot at the winner of Kambosos’ rematch with Devin Haney is on the table if he emerges victorious, but this is anything but a tune-up. Ortiz (16-0-1, 8 KO) is a solid contender at 26, boasting a draw with Joseph Adorno and a recent decision win over Jamel Herring. While it would be a massive shock to see him flip the script, he’ll make Lomachenko work for it, at least.
No fighter quotes in the press release, weirdly enough, but we do get one from Bob Arum.
“Vasiliy Lomachenko is a credit to his country and the sport of boxing,” said Top Rank chairman Bob Arum. “When his country needed him, Vasiliy did not hesitate. We are thrilled that he is safe and fighting once again at Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden, his home away from home. Jamaine Ortiz is a young, hungry, undefeated fighter who understands that a victory over a living legend like Loma would be life-changing.”
Also on tap is the previously revealed featherweight co-feature between Robeisy Ramirez (10-1, 6 KO) and Jessie Magdaleno (29-1, 18 KO). Ramirez is coming off the biggest win of his career, a violent one-punch finish of Abraham Nova, and could find himself within a fight or two of a title shot if he comes out victorious. Magdaleno, on the other hand, won a decision this past May in his first appearance since a bizarre 2020 saga saw him turn down a shot at Emanuel Navarette and then vanish from the face of the earth.
Rounding out the main card’s Olympic lineup is Richard Torrez Jr (3-0, 4 KO), who fights TBA in the opener. One would hope that his monstrous KO of Marco Antonio Canedo would convince Top Rank to stop feeding him lukewarm bodies, but I wouldn’t hold my breath.
The undercard lineup includes Delante “Tiger” Johnson (5-0, 4 KO), Duke Ragan (7-0, 1 KO), and Troy Isley (7-0, 4 KO) alongside Abdullah Mason (4-0, 3 KO) and Haven Brady Jr (7-0, 4 KO)