icon Updated at 10:39 AM EDT, Tue May 15, 2018

Beltran on Facing Lomachenko: At My Age - I Need The Big Fights

By Miguel Rivera

WBO lightweight world champion Ray Beltran (35-7-1, 21 KOs) has been out of the ring since capturing the title, but he's a very strong candidate to face newly crowned WBA champion Vasiliy Lomachenko (11-1, 9 KOs) in the fall.

Lomachenko moved up to 135-pounds last Saturday night and stopped Jorge Linares to capture the WBA title at Madison Square Garden in New York City.

Beltran captured the title in February with a decision over Paulus Moses, but he also injured his hand during the contest.

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At the advanced age of 36-years-old and turning pro back in 1999, Beltran has no time to waste and wants the biggest fight possible in his next return.

Lomachenko's first defense is being set down for August 25th, like at The Forum in Los Angeles, California.

If a unification against Lomachenko is on the table - Beltran is ready to grab the opportunity with both hands.

"I'm already at an age where I need big fights, I'm no longer a prospect being built up - I've already gone through all that, now we have to take advantage of the championship," said Beltran to ESPN Deportes.

"I'm already training, working, but nothing intense. I had taken a slight break because I hurt my hand, I was going to fight [last] Saturday at Linares-Lomachenko, but because of the hand problem, it was not possible for me to make a defense against the mandatory opponent or fight with Lomachenko."

The injury, said Ray, occurred two weeks before the fight with Bryan 'Tiquito' Vasquez, and he even fought hurt against Moses in the championship fight.

"It was a risk I had to take, we went into the last fight with a lot of faith, we took the risk and we won," Beltran said.

On the other side of the division, WBC champion Mikey Garcia is slated to face IBF champion Robert Easter in a unification in the summer. The two potential fights could set the stage for a four belt unification down the line.