Unified lightweight champion Vasiliy Lomachenko has arrived in the United States in preparation for his highly anticipated unification fight against IBF titlist Teofimo Lopez (15-0, 12 KOs) on Oct. 17 at the MGM Grand Conference Center in Las Vegas.
“Mr. Lomachenko is in the house,” Egis Klimas, Lomachenko’s manager, confirmed Sunday night. Klimas picked Lomachenko up from Los Angeles International Airport.
Lomachenko landed from the Ukraine in an upbeat manner.
“He was in a very happy mood,” Klimas said. “We called Bob [Arum], and we said, ‘Bob, Loma is here,’ and Bob gave us a little speech about how happy everybody is, excited about [the fight], and Loma just said a couple of words: ‘Bob, I can’t wait for Oct. 17.'”
Lomachenko is no stranger to championship fights, but his manager believes that this particular matchup has him more excited than he was for any of his past bouts.
“It’s the most excited he’s ever been for a fight because he says, ‘Finally, we are in a fight everyone is waiting for,'” Klimas said. “Because even before, they were good fights, [but] people weren’t talking about it. But this fight everybody is waiting for.”
Lopez and his outspoken and boisterous father, who is also named Teofimo, haven’t been shy in expressing their confidence about knocking the highly accomplished Lomachenko off his perch. That hasn’t gone unnoticed by the other side.
“Let me tell you: Nobody has seen Vasiliy in the ring more than 65 percent of what he can do because he has never had any opponents who could push him in the ring,” Klimas said. “Nobody can push him with what he needs to show what he can do 100 percent. So we never saw who really Lomachenko is.”
Klimas believes that if Lopez can bring out 80 or 90 percent of the optimal version of his fighter, that will make Lopez the best opponent they have faced.
Klimas also said that for this bout, the southpaw stylist from Ukraine, who currently holds the WBA and WBO world titles as well as the WBC “franchise” championship, will not be working at the Boxing Laboratory in Oxnard, California, as he has in the past.
“No, he’s going to be training in his home gym in Camarillo,” Klimas said. “Because he’s a Lomachenko, [and] he thinks everything ahead, last year he built a gym — just in case.”
Lomachenko has been hard at work training for this fight, and his arrival in the United States is the next step in the plan.
“Official camp already started in the Ukraine a couple of weeks ago, and they just transferred the training from the Ukraine to the States,” Klimas said. “They would’ve been here a little bit earlier, a couple of weeks earlier, but for the team, we had some visa issues.”