The most anticipated fight on the current 2020 scheduled will carry the Franchise tag.
Vasiliy Lomachenko and Teofimo Lopez are all set for a multi-belt unification bout, agreeing to all terms on Wednesday evening. The good news made its way to the well-attended (virtually) 58th annual World Boxing Council (WBC) convention, with various promoters and representative celebrating the fight.
“All parties reached an agreement yesterday for the fight to take place on October 17 in Las Vegas,” Carl Moretti, vice president of operations for Top Rank—which promotes both boxers—confirmed during the convention on Thursday.
Ironically, the WBC lightweight title is the only one that won’t be at stake for the ESPN-televised fall classic—at least not a physical belt.
Lomachenko’s WBA and WBO titles will be at stake, as will the IBF strap which Lopez (15-0, 12KOs) acquired in a 2nd round knockout of exiting champ Richard Commey last December in New York City. The event will also now include the WBC “Franchise” title, available to the winner despite the original intention of what is a title only by name.
Ukraine’s Lomachenko (14-1, 10KOs) won the vacant WBC 135-pound title last August, outpointing England’s Luke Campbell to add to a collection which already includes the WBA and WBO straps. The win came with the condition that the Ukrainian southpaw next face Devin Haney (24-0, 15KOs), who claimed the WBC “interim” title two weeks later in a 4th round stoppage of unbeaten Zaur Abdullaev last September in New York City.
The matter came up during the 57th annual WBC convention last October in Cancun, for which Moretti was present and willingly accepted the sanctioning body’s ruling to declare Lomachenko as its “Franchise” champion. As such, Haney was elevated to WBC lightweight champ, freeing up Lomachenko to face whomever he pleases in accordance with the sanctioning body’s allowance to pursue the best challenges possible, regardless of rankings and free of restrictions.
Such an honor is supposed to be a designation as it is not an actual belt to be defended. Of course, that didn’t stop Top Rank from exploring such an avenue.
“Should Teofimo win that fight, we ask that he be recognized as the “Franchise” champion,” Moretti requested.
The motion was presented and accepted.
“Teofimo Lopez is an outstanding fighter,” Mauricio Sulaiman, president of the WBC acknowledged of the Brooklyn-bred 2016 Honduran Olympian and reigning IBF titlist. “The WBC position of implementing the franchise designation is specifically for the outstanding champions such as Vasiliy Lomachenko. If Teofimo Lopez beats Vasiliy Lomachenko, he has all the merits to be recognized as the Franchise champion.
“We are very proud that this fight is taking place because it is the very best fight that can happen.”
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox