Vasyl Lomachenko expected to return from injury on Dec. 1 in lightweight title bout

We now have a target date for Vasiliy Lomachenko's return to the ring. According to Lomachenko's manager, the lightweight champion and CBS Sports' No. 1 pound-for-pound fighter in the world, will defend his title in a unification bout on Dec. 1. The plan is for Lomachenko to face the winner of the Raymundo Beltran and Jose Pedraza clash on Aug. 25, Egis Kilmas told ESPN.

Following Lomachenko's TKO victory over Jorge Linares in May, in which he secured the WBA and "The Ring" lightweight belts, there were plans for the Ukrainian star to take on Beltran. However, Lomachenko ended up needing to undergo surgery for a torn labrum suffered when he dislocated his shoulder in the Linares fight. 

Speaking of that injury, Lomachenko's manager noted that his rehab is going well. 

"Rehab is going really good. Lomachenko came to support his friend and countryman Usyk in Moscow, so we spent three, four days together," Klimas said. "He's working with his physical therapist. I think it's healing very good. I spoke with the doctor and the doctor said it was a good surgery. So we're looking to get him back on a checkup with the doctor."

But while his upcoming return to the ring to take on the winner of Beltran-Pedraza should be entertaining as always, the fight everyone really wants to see is a showdown between Lomachenko and Mikey Garcia. Not only do fans want to see the two go at it, but Lomachenko's camp does as well.

"We want that fight with Mikey Garcia. But Mikey Garcia is always walking out of that," Klimas said. "We want the fight with Mikey Garcia. Let me repeat it two times -- we want the fight. Lomachenko wants to fight Mikey Garcia. ... Always excuses, excuses."

The undefeated Garcia, who recently unified the IBF and WBC lightweight belts in a win over Robert Easter Jr., has a contentious history with Lomachenko's promoter, Top Rank. And with the two fighting on different networks, there are multiple hurdles to clear in order for that battle to take place. Plus, Garcia spoke after his fight with Easter about wanting to move up to welterweight to take on Errol Spence Jr. 

So with Garcia's sights currently set elsewhere, and Lomachenko not returning until December, that potential matchup isn't happening any time soon. Still, it's one everyone will continue to talk about. 

NBA Writer

Jack Maloney lives and writes in Milwaukee, where, like the Bucks, he is trying to own the future. Full Bio

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