Vasiliy Lomachenko-Jose Pedraza lightweight title unification fight shifts to Dec. 8 in New York City
Lomachenko was tentatively scheduled to defend his belts on Dec. 1 in Los Angeles
Vasiliy Lomachenko has confirmed that his first lightweight title defense is officially set. Lomachenko will defend his titles on Dec. 8 in New York City inside the Hulu Theater in Madison Square Garden. Lomachenko's first defense of his championships will be a unification bout against Jose Pedraza.
This is the fight that has been penciled in for quite some time now -- just not on this specific date nor at this specific venue. The unification title bout was originally slated to take place one week earlier on Dec. 1 in Los Angeles inside the The Forum. But, the move as a whole has the potential to draw much more eyes to the lightweight title showdown with it now having a lead-in of the Heisman Trophy -- the most prestigious individual award in college football, also handed out in New York City -- presentation on ESPN. In a statement issued to the Los Angeles Times, Lomachenko expressed the excitement over his return to the building where he rose to the top of the lightweight division earlier this year.
"I am ready to fight an excellent opponent like Jose Pedraza," Lomachenko said. "There is something special about fighting in New York City and at Madison Square Garden. The fans … are true boxing fans, and I can't wait to put on another spectacular performance for them."
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Lomachenko won the WBA and Ring Magazine belts at 135 pounds back in May with a 10th-round TKO over Jorge Linares. Lomachenko was knocked down in the sixth round by a strong right hand, but recovered nicely to eventually force the stoppage. Now he'll face Pedraza, who claimed the WBO lightweight belt with a unanimous decision victory over Ray Beltran at the end of August.
While the Lomachenko-Pedraza clash is the fight everyone will be waiting for, the entire card that night figures to be an entertaining one. For starters, highly-touted and undefeated 21-year-old prospect Teofimo Lopez was already expected to be on the undercard. Now, according to a report from Lance Pugmire of the Los Angeles Times, the co-main event of the evening is expected to include undefeated bantamweight champion Isaac Dogboe. In his first title defense, fighting on the undercard of the Pedraza-Beltran showdown, Dogboe stopped Hidenori Otaki in the first round with an electrifying performance.
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