Boxing's return from a coronavirus-forced break has been light on compelling fights. But, as the sport adjusts, the schedule for late summer and early fall looks like it could see a return of big championship fights. If Top Rank's Bob Arum is to be believed, the lightweight unification bout between Vasiliy Lomachenko and Teofimo Lopez is on the list of fights fans will see during that period.
"Our tentative date for that fight is the 19th of September. That's when we're hoping to do it. ... We're working very closely with the MGM," Arum told BoxingScene. "It could be at the MGM Grand. It could be at the Mandalay Bay, which is re-opening soon. It could be at T-Mobile [Arena]. It would really be up to them."
Lopez (15-0, 12 KO) is one of the sport's brightest young stars. In December, he dominated the ultra-tough Richard Commey to score a second-round TKO and win the IBF lightweight championship at 22 years old. His father and trainer has been angling for a fight against Lomachenko for years, going out of his way to antagonize the Ukrainian star.
In a May interview with BoxingScene, Arum said the two men pushed back against the idea of stay-busy fights before facing off in the long-awaited unification showdown.
"The original plan was to give them each an interim fight," Arum said. "Loma was against that, and so was Lopez. We said, 'Listen, we're gonna postpone it because we don't know when we can get a live audience.' And our plan was in June and July to give Loma a fight and give Lopez a fight. And they each turned that down. They said they're prepared to wait until September to fight each other."