By Keith Idec
Vasiliy Lomachenko has operated on an accelerated schedule since he turned pro in 2013.
According to Lomachenko, he’ll take the same ambitious approach to returning from shoulder surgery. The WBA lightweight champion claimed in a message posted to his Instagram page Monday that he’ll still return to the ring August 25, even though he is just five weeks removed from surgery to repair a torn labrum.
“I’m returning August 25th,” Lomachenko wrote. “Who do you think I’m going to be fighting?”
Lomachenko posted presumably recent video footage of him shadowboxing on the floor of a boxing gym along with his surprising message.
Dr. Neal ElAttrache, who repaired Lomachenko’s torn right labrum, indicated that Lomachenko wouldn’t be able to resume training until some point early in October after performing arthroscopic surgery on him May 30 in Los Angeles.
That timetable would’ve allowed Lomachenko to box again at some point in December. Bob Arum, Lomachenko’s promoter, reserved December 8 as the date for Lomachenko’s return once he had surgery.
Ukraine’s Lomachenko (11-1, 9 KOs) said he suffered that shoulder injury during the second round of his eventual 10th-round technical-knockout victory over Jorge Linares on May 12 at Madison Square Garden. Venezuela’s Linares (44-4, 27 KOs) became the first professional opponent to knock down Lomachenko in the sixth round of that bout, but Lomachenko quickly recovered and went on to stop Linares with a perfectly placed body shot four rounds later.
Before his shoulder injury became public knowledge, the 30-year-old Lomachenko was tentatively scheduled to fight again August 25 at The Forum in Inglewood, California. The two-time Olympic gold medalist was expected to battle WBO lightweight champ Ray Beltran that night in a 135-pound title unification fight.
Phoenix’s Beltran (35-7-1, 21 KOs, 1 NC) has since been scheduled to defend his WBO title against Russia’s Roman Andreev (21-0, 15 KOs) on August 25. As for Lomachenko, it isn’t clear if August 25 is even a realistic return date because a full recovery from such serious surgery typically takes longer.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.