By Keith Idec
Vasyl Lomachenko’s drawing power in the United States hasn’t quite caught up with his incredible boxing ability.
Lomanchenko’s next fight will take place in another cozy venue, which can accommodate roughly 3,000 fans for boxing. The highly skilled Ukrainian southpaw is scheduled to return to the ring April 8, when the two-time Olympic gold medalist will defend his WBO world super featherweight championship against Jason Sosa.
They’ll fight inside The Theater at MGM National Harbor, a casino resort just outside Washington, D.C., that opened in December. Lomachenko’s last fight, a seven-round domination of previously unbeaten Jamaican Nicholas Walters (26-1-1, 21 KOs) on November 26, was held at The Cosmopolitan in Las Vegas.
The Chelsea inside The Cosmopolitan was sold out, but it holds approximately 2,000 fans for boxing.
MGM National Harbor was officially announced Wednesday as the site for the Lomachenko-Sosa fight, which will be televised as the main event of an HBO “World Championship Boxing” doubleheader. The other televised fight is expected to include unbeaten Ukrainian light heavyweight Oleksandr Gvozdyk (12-0, 10 KOs), but Top Rank president Todd duBoef said during a conference call Wednesday that an opponent for Gvozdyk hasn’t been finalized.
DuBoef also said he doesn’t think Lomachenko’s MGM National Harbor appearance is a negative reflection of Lomachenko’s star power.
“We don’t necessarily agree with the size of the venue being indicative of the size of the match,” duBoef said. “I remember as a child, the pavilion [at Caesars Palace] here in Las Vegas used to have some of the biggest fights out there. [Ray] Leonard fought [Wilfred] Benitez in that facility [in November 1979], with about the same amount of seating capacity. And I think on the show, simultaneously, was [Marvin] Hagler and [Vito] Antuofermo, on the same night. So size does not necessarily matter in this situation.
“But one thing we wanted to do was bring this match [to the] East Coast, obviously because of Sosa’s fan base out East. And wanted to spread Vasyl’s brand out East, also. And we wanted to offer it to a new facility in this area. It’s an honor to be able to go there.”
Tickets to the April 8 card headlined by Lomachenko (7-1, 5 KOs) and Sosa (20-1-4, 15 KOs), a native of Camden, New Jersey, will go on sale Monday at 10 a.m. ET. Those tickets range in price from $53-$153, and can be purchased by visiting mgmnationalharbor.com or calling 844-346-4664.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.