By Keith Idec
Vasiliy Lomachenko admits he is still getting acclimated at lightweight.
Even after stopping Jorge Linares to win the WBA 135-pound championship five months ago, the skillful southpaw still feels as though he is growing into his new weight class.
Ukraine’s Lomachenko, who won world titles at 126 pounds and 130 pounds, will attempt to add a second lightweight title to his collection when he faces Jose Pedraza on December 8 in New York.
Lomachenko, 30, discussed his adjustment to lightweight when asked during an open workout Tuesday in Oxnard, California, if he’ll move up to fight at higher than the lightweight limit.
“I believe I’ll stay at 135 and focus on 135 because when I fought Linares, I felt like he was bigger than me,” Lomachenko said. “So I’ll stay at 135 and focus on 135 because I think 135 is not my [ideal] weight category right now. After one or two years, it will be my [ideal] weight.”
Venezuela’s Linares knocked down Lomachenko (11-1, 9 KOs) with a straight right hand in the seventh round of their May 12 bout at Madison Square Garden. Lomachenko recovered, regained control of their scheduled 12-rounder and knocked out Linares with a perfectly placed left to the body in the 10th round.
“It was the first time I was knocked down as a pro,” Lomachenko said. “After the knockdown, I came back and finished the fight. It was a tough fight, but I showed the heart of a champion.”
Lomachenko was ahead on one scorecard (86-84), down on one scorecard (86-84) and even on the third card (85-85) when he stopped Linares. Lomachenko later underwent surgery to repair a torn labrum in his right shoulder, an injury he suffered in the second round against Linares (45-4, 28 KOs).
“I had a long rest,” Lomachenko said. “I am looking forward to seeing how I feel and taking on a tough opponent like Pedraza.”
Puerto Rico’s Pedraza (25-1, 12 KOs) out-pointed Phoenix’s Ray Beltran (35-8-1, 21 KOs, 1 NC) in their 12-rounder to win a unanimous decision and the WBO lightweight title August 25 in Glendale, Arizona. ESPN will televise the Lomachenko-Pedraza bout from The Theater at Madison Square Garden.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.