It’ll be a battle of two-time Olympic gold medalists on December 9th, as junior lightweight champion Vasyl Lomachenko takes on junior featherweight champion Guillermo Rigondeaux.
The next title defense for Ukrainian boxing sensation Vasyl Lomachenko (9-1, 7 KOs) is now official, and it’s a big one.
Top Rank Promotions announced that the WBO junior lightweight champion will fight fellow two-time Olympic gold medalist Guillermo Rigondeaux (17-0-1 NC, 11 KOs) on December 9th at Madison Square Garden Theater in New York City. The card will be broadcast live on ESPN, following the network’s presentation of college football’s Heisman Trophy award.
It’s on. #LomaRigo | Dec. 9 | @ESPN pic.twitter.com/VfuJWf7vVS
— Top Rank Boxing (@trboxing) September 15, 2017
Cuba’s Rigondeaux is moving up two weight classes for this one, as the 36-year-old is currently the WBA’s 122-pound titlist. He’s coming off a wacky no contest against Moises Flores, who was unable to continue after Rigondeaux dropped him with a punch that landed after the bell sounded to end round 1. Originally ruled a KO win, the Nevada Athletic Commission has since changed the result to a no contest.
Rigondeaux is known for his slickness, speed, accurate counter-punching, and amazing defensive skills. Unfortunately, he’s had his fair share of less-than-exciting performances, hence he’s found it difficult to land major fights in recent years. His signature performance came in 2013, when he defeated the favored Nonito Donaire by unanimous decision.
Lomachenko first won a major world championship in just his third pro fight, defeating Gary Russell Jr. by majority decision to take the vacant WBO featherweight strap. He’d actually tried to win that title against Orlando Salido, but not only did Salido miss weight and was stripped of his championship, Lomachenko wound up losing a split decision. Since moving up to 130-pounds in June 2016, “Hi-Tech” has been utterly amazing. He brutally knocked out Rocky Martinez to win the belt he currently possesses, and his last three opponents have either quit (Nicholas Walters) or their corners stopped the fight due to prolonged beatings (Jason Sosa and Miguel Marriaga).
This will be the first time ever that a pair of two-time Olympic gold medalists have faced each other as pros, and their respective amateur pedigrees are nothing short of legendary. Lomachenko’s amateur record is a reported 396-1 (with that loss avenged twice), while Rigondeaux’s is 463-12. Both men have also won two gold medals at the World Amateur Boxing Championships, and have obviously become two of the best pound-for-pound professional boxers in the world.
Lomachenko vs. Rigondeaux is part of Top Rank’s new four-year contract with ESPN, which means we’ll be seeing Lomachenko, Terence Crawford, Oscar Valdez, and other top fighters competing on the network, as well as up-and-coming prospects such as Olympic silver medalist Shakur Stevenson and Ireland’s Michael Conlan.