Vasiliy Lomachenko came up just short in his bid to collect all the lightweight titles in one shot.
The plan now is to reclaim his place atop the division one belt at a time.
That first step towards a second lightweight title reign will come in a May 12 showdown versus former lineal, WBA, IBF and WBO champ George Kambosos in Perth, Australia. The two will meet for the vacant IBF belt which was left behind when Devin Haney—who owns wins over both boxers—abandoned his reign to compete for and capture the WBC junior welterweight title.
“Right now, my goal is to become a world champion again,” Lomachenko stated during a recent press conference to formally announce the fight. “After that, I can start thinking about becoming undisputed.”
Ukraine’s Lomachenko (17-3, 11KOs) has not fought since his narrow—many will argue, disputed—defeat to Haney in their undisputed championship last May 20 at MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. The setback ended a three-fight win streak since his October 2020 defeat to Teofimo Lopez, who at the time defended his IBF title and lifted the WBA and WBO belts from Lomachenko in a twelve-round, unanimous decision victory.
Lopez turned around and lost the belts to Kambosos (21-2, 10KOs) in his next fight. Kambosos was then due to face Lomachenko, who had to abandon plans for a Spring 2022 showdown when he was unable to leave Ukraine due to the start of the ongoing war with Russia. Haney landed the opportunity and defeated a then-unbeaten Kambosos via unanimous decision to fully unify the titles and then again to defend them in their October 2022 rematch.
The pair of wins over Kambosos was followed by his narrow victory over Lomachenko, who previously held titles at featherweight, junior lightweight and lightweight.
The only goal for now, is to once again hoist a lightweight belt over his head.
"This is the right fight because it’s a chance to be a world champion again,” Lomachenko said. “And I’ve never been to Australia. I’ve always wanted to go, and it’s a good opportunity.”
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. X (formerly Twitter): @JakeNDaBox