By Keith Idec
Vasyl Lomachenko is eager to start showing fight fans what all the buzz is about.
The two-time Olympic gold medalist from Ukraine is so confident in his abilities, matchmakers for Top Rank Inc. intend to match the southpaw against an established featherweight contender when he makes his pro debut Oct. 12 in Las Vegas. Lomachenko’s first professional fight will be broadcast as part an HBO Pay-Per-View show that’ll feature Juan Manuel Marquez and Timothy Bradley in the main event.
“I am very excited and happy with Top Rank’s offer and signing the contract,” Lomachenko said Friday in a statement released by Top Rank. “I know I will have to prove I am the best and make history in pro boxing. But I have no doubts about it, as I did in the amateurs, and I will do so as a pro.
“Bob Arum knows how to build champions and I know how to fight. This will make a good team. I am happy finally all the negotiations are done and I can concentrate on my training and start preparing for my first fight on Oct. 12.”
The 25-year-old Lomachenko won a gold medal at 125 pounds in 2008 in Beijing and another at 132 pounds in 2012 in London. One of the most accomplished amateur boxers in the history of the sport, Lomachenko also has said he would like to fight for a world title in his second pro bout.
Whatever happens, his handlers are excited about exposing him to American audiences. Showcasing him in New York, which has a huge Ukrainian population, is on the agenda as well.
“Because of his tremendous amateur accomplishments, he is not your typical boxer turning pro,” said Carl Moretti, Top Rank’s vice president of boxing operations. “He reminds me of the Olympians from the ’76 and ’84 teams, like [Ray] Leonard, [Leon] Spinks, [Evander] Holyfield, [Pernell] Whitaker, [Mark] Breland. They were ready to face established pros from Day One.”
Keith Idec covers boxing for The Record and Herald News, of Woodland Park, N.J., and BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.