Vasiliy Lomachenko will demonstrate his brilliance amid a packed lightweight division then go to Australia to fight George Kambosos Jnr, says his promoter Bob Arum.
The enigmatic Lomachenko returns against Richard Commey in the early hours of Sunday morning, live on Sky Sports, knowing an emphatic victory would put him at the front of the queue to fight the division’s new champion.
Top Rank promoter Arum believes Lomachenko will become mandatory challenger to Kambosos with a win this weekend: “Loma is No 1 with the WBC and the WBO.”
Australian Kambosos shocked Teofimo Lopez to win three major lightweight belts, a year after Lopez upset Lomachenko in a fight of equal prestige.
WBC champion Devin Haney, Gervonta Davis and Ryan Garcia are also snapping at the heels of the division’s new No 1 in a thriving scene.
But Lomachenko will stay ahead of the chasing pack in the race to fight Kambosos, says Arum: “I think it will happen.
“Kambosos will make a voluntary defence then could fight Lomachenko in Australia.
“I have promoted fights in Australia. It’s a great place for fights. They have great fans who would welcome Lomachenko.
“I am optimistic that, at the end of next year, we will have Loma back fighting for the titles.”
Promoters Arum and Dean Lonergan co-promoted the world welterweight title fight where Jeff Horn upset Manny Pacquaio in 2017 in Brisbane.
The 51,000 attendance was the biggest in a stadium of Pacquiao’s legendary career, and created Australian sporting history.
Lonergan told Sky Sports: “There is no doubt that right now George Kambosos is the hottest sporting identity in Australia.
“He just arrived in Sydney airport and it looked like there was every major television channel there, every major reporting organisation was there and he’s had a constant barrage of media across social and digital media for the last week and a half, so there’s no doubt Kambosos has made a massive splash.
“I don’t know that anyone has done what he’s done in Australian sport before. It’s quite an incredible achievement.
“How would he rank? Right now, he’s the hottest sportsperson in Australia, full stop. How does he rank against all the others that have gone before him? Well only time will tell.
“The key thing for George is, if he wants to become massive in Australia, what he’s got to do is defend these titles against a big name and win. If he keeps winning, Australians will love him.
“The biggest stars are in the NRL, the AFL and cricket. Those are the three major sports in Australia.
“If you wanted to do name recognition of Kambosos going back a month ago, I reckon one per cent of Australians would have heard of him. You want to do name recognition of Australian sports people like Kambosos now? I reckon 99 per cent of people would have heard of him. He’s just been everywhere.
“He’s been the talk of Australian sport and most certainly the talk of Sydney, full stop.”
Lomachenko bounced back from a surprise loss to Lopez last year by impressively halting Masayoshi Nakatani.
Arum said about Lomachenko’s loss: “Nobody is making excuses. He had a bad shoulder going into the fight which he didn’t know about.
“He went easy in the first few rounds then started fighting, because he was afraid of his shoulder.
“I know the doctor who operated on his shoulder.
“Teofimo took over the belts but lost weight improperly. He had a lung condition and a hole in his oesophagus.
“Kambosos is decent but nothing spectacular, but he has all the belts.”
Sky Sports Boxing schedule
Sunday December 12 – Top Rank in New York
Vasiliy Lomachenko vs Richard Commey
Jared Anderson vs Oleksandr Teslenko
Nico Ali Walsh
Sunday December 18 – Top Rank in Montreal
Artur Beterbiev vs Marcus Browne – IBF and WBC light-heavyweight titles
Saturday January 29 – BOXXER in Cardiff
Chris Eubank Jr vs Liam Williams
Claressa Shields vs Ema Kozin – IBF, WBA and WBC middleweight titles
Saturday February 19 – BOXXER in Manchester – Sky Sports Box Office
Amir Khan vs Kell Brook
Saturday February 26 – Top Rank in Glasgow
Josh Taylor vs Jack Catterall – undisputed super-lightweight titles