by David P. Greisman
Promoter Bob Arum of Top Rank is considering a couple of interesting options for featherweight titleholder Evgeny Gradovich — one is a defense against Jayson Velez on the June undercard to Sergio Martinez vs. Miguel Cotto, and the other is a potential unification bout against Vasyl Lomachenko in Russia.
Velez is 21-0 with 15 knockouts and is co-promoted by Cotto’s company and by Golden Boy Promotions. He last fought in October, outpointing Dat Nguyen on the undercard to Cotto’s win over Delvin Rodriguez. Cotto’s company worked with Top Rank for that show.
But Arum said he’s also heading to Russia on Monday to talk about arranging a match for Gradovich there.
“I want to start promoting fights in Russia,” said Arum, and that makes sense, given the numerous fighters he has from that country and from other former Soviet states.
Besides Gradovich, there is Ukrainian featherweight two-time Olympic gold medalist Vasyl Lomachenko, who could capture a pro world title if he defeats Orlando Salido on March 1; Ukrainian light heavyweight bronze medalist Alexander Gvozdyk; Russian light heavyweight gold medalist Egor Mekhontsev; Russian junior welterweight titleholder Khabib Allakhverdiev; and Russian lightweight contender Denis Shafikov, who is coming off a title loss to Miguel Vazquez.
“Who knows, maybe it’s rushing it, but we can do a unification match with Lomachenko [and Gradovich],” Arum said. “That’d be absolutely huge in Moscow.”
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