Middleweight beltholder Peter Quillin could soon defend his WBO title against promotional stablemate Danny Jacobs.
Lomachenko focused on Ramirez, not Salido-Cruz or Rigondeaux
Two-time Olympic champ Vasyl Lomachenko, who goes pro on Saturday, advises boxing fans to "be patient." "I will be doing big things and you'll be witnesses when I do them."
LAS VEGAS -- Ukrainian Vasyl Lomachenko, a winner of his second Olympic gold medal at the 2012 Games in London, is on the fast track toward making himself as big a name as a professional as he was as an amateur.
Not long after signing Lomanchenko in July, Top Rank CEO Bob Arum announced that the 25-year-old southpaw would likely fight the winner of Saturday's Orlando Salido-Orlando Cruz WBO featherweight title bout should he win his unprecedented 10-round professional debut against hard-hitting 126-pound Mexican Jose Luis Ramirez (25-3, 15 knockout).
"Everybody that I've talked to said that this young man is something special, and on Saturday night, people will get an opportunity to see just how special he is," said Arum, calling Lomachenko, "the greatest amateur fighter in history" during Thursday's final press conference at The Encore Theater at The Wynn Hotel.
"We're not just here to make a pro debut, we're hear to make history. I believe that he is one of those guys who can bring the sport of boxing back. I'm not looking to get the easy way. He's not looking to beat nobodies as an opponent. He wants to get the tough fights, and he wants to prove that he's the best," said Lomachenko's manager, Egis Klimas.
Lomachenko won the featherweight gold medal at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, where he was the recipient of the Val Barker Trophy as the event's Outstanding Boxer. On the way to capturing his second gold medal in the lightweight division in 2012, Lomachenko scored a victory over Puerto Rican Felix Verdejo, who is 8-0 with six knockouts after having signed with Top Rank.
Lomachenko signed with Top Rank with the intention of fighting for a title in his second professional bout.
"The biggest transition will the timing, and how to prepare yourself not just for three rounds, but for 10 rounds. How to save yourself for later rounds. That's probably the biggest transition, managing yourself to that timing," said Lomachenko. "As an amateur, you have to do a lot right from the start, but as a professional, I can be calmer and take a little more time. This is the opportunity that I want, and I can't predict what's going to happen."
Although Lomachenko wants a knockout, he won't force it.
"Of course, I want to win big, but I can't predict what's going to happen in the ring," said Lomachenko. "Of course I want to show a good fight, and of course I want to knock him out."
Guillermo Rigondeaux is believed to be the man to have won a title fight in the least amount of professional fights, winning the WBA's bantamweight belt in his seventh bout by split-decision over Ricardo Cordoba in November of 2010. [See notes below]
Now the RING, WBA and WBO junior featherweight champion, Rigondeaux will face former bantamweight beltholder Joseph Agbeko at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City on Dec. 7.
There has been talk of eventually matching Lomachenko and Rigondeaux, but Lomachenko, appearing to say that he's not ready to move that fast, declined to discuss Rigondeaux or Salido-Cruz.
"You guys are running in front of the wagon. You are going too fast, making something in front. I haven't even had my first professional bout yet, and you're already talking about some mega fights. I know I'm already in front of the wagon, but you are even in front of me. I'm running but you guys are pulling me," said Lomachenko.
Notes: According to research provided by Lee Groves of RingTV.com, Saensak Muangsurin holds the record for fighters requiring the fewest number of professional fights to capture a major title, doing so in just his third bout.
Photo by Chris Farina, Top Rank
Lem Satterfield can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org