By Miguel Rivera
This coming Saturday night, Vasyl Lomachenko (9-1, 7 KOs) may take part in his final super featherweight encounter.
According to his promoter, Bob Arum of Top Rank, the Ukrainian boxer has already indicated to him that he intends to move up to the lightweight limit of 135-pounds to pursue more world titles - with lucrative names like Jorge Linares, Robert Easter and Mikey Garcia at the weight.
"Yes, he is indeed [going up to lightweight]. Lomachenko said that next year he will be fighting at 135 pounds," said Arum said to ESPN Deportes.
This Saturday night at The Theater in Madison Square Garden in New York City, Lomachenko will defend his WBO super featherweight crown against Guillermo Rigondeaux (17-0, 11 KOs), who holds the WBA title at 122-pounds and is moving up by two weight divisions to take the fight. This will be Lomachenko's third defense of that title in 2017 and fourth overall.
This will be Lomachenko's first fight in the venue since his one-punch fifth-round knockout victory of three-time WBO junior lightweight champion Roman "Rocky" Martinez on June 11, 2016 to claim Martinez's title.
The Martinez victory not only made Lomachenko a two-division world champion, but he once again he broke a record doing it, winning world title No. 2 in a record least amount of fights -- seven.
Lomachenko captured his first world title -- the vacant WBO featherweight title -- winning a scintillating majority decision over the previously unbeaten and future world champion Gary Russell Jr. on June 21, 2014. It remains the only blemish on Russell's record.
The win over Russell was Lomachenko's third professional bout, tying him with Thailand's Saensak Muangsurin for fewest fights to win a world title. Muangsurin won a junior welterweight title in 1975, also in his third professional fight.
Lomachenko successfully defended the WBO featherweight title three times during his reign before vacating it to challenge Martinez in 2016.
The WBO championship at lightweight is currently vacant, after Terry Flanagan of Manchester dropped the belt to move up to junior welterweight.