By Frank Warren
A BRITISH AUDIENCE was treated to seeing the majestic movements of Vasyl Lomachenko first hand on Saturday night but one man – a boxing figure from the past – was seemingly not impressed with what he witnessed from the magical Ukrainian.
Barry Hearn told us via a post-fight interview that Loma is not all he’s cracked up to be and he had the game challenger Luke Campbell a lot closer in the fight. I think the old boy must be losing his marbles…
But then I do recall that this is the man who proclaimed Herbie Hide as the superior of Muhammad Ali!
I think we all have to acknowledge that a man with an amateur record of 396-1, including two Olympic gold medals, and a three-weight world champion all inside of 15 professional fights is something a bit special.
That is just a brief summary of a resume that demands the respect of awarding him legendary status and I don’t believe there can be any disputing this.
Lomachenko is different class and I take my hat off to Campbell for being there at the end. Campbell was the far bigger man with a much greater reach, but the Ukrainian was hardly troubled in the fight.
His hand speed, footwork, the angle that he finds are just something else and he is really operating well out of his natural weight class.
For me, he is the best I have seen in the last 25-30 years, without a doubt.
I understand the plan now is for Lomachenko to unify all the titles at lightweight before Bob Arum is going to return him to the world of feather to mop up the remaining marquee fights at the lower weights.
I am not sure if this is good or bad news for the top boys at super feather and feather, but there are still some very appealing fights down there to further cement the Lomachenko legacy.
On the subject of featherweights, we’ve got our man, the IBF world champion Josh Warrington in the division – and, no, I am not planning to put him in with Loma just yet – who returns to world title combat in Leeds on October 12 against Sofiane Takoucht.
It is well documented that we would have preferred to be entering Josh into a unification clash, but it must have become obvious to all why this turned out to be a non-starter at this point in time.
Oscar Valdez has already vacated his WBO title, which will be fought for soon between Shakur Stevenson and Joet Gonzalez, while Leo Santa Cruz has also made public his intention to move up a weight.
It will clear the way for an exciting new order to come into play, where invitations to unify could well be favourably entertained.
It is why Josh maintaining his momentum and remaining active is vitally important. The top 15s of any governing body are not packed with what you would call household names or ones that anyone but the most ardent followers are familiar with, which is why you go for the highest ranked available contender.
This is what we have done with Takoucht and he will view this as his Golden Ticket. So Josh will have to be on his game in front of his fervent following at the FD Arena.
Ultimately, if the next wave of champions do not want to consider unifying with Josh then maybe we will have to contemplate the possibility of stepping him up a weight and hunting down the likes of Valdez or whoever holds the belts.
The options are all there for Josh so what he needs to do is keep winning and I am delighted we are getting him out again in front of his own people topping what is a massive card we have put together packed with title fights.
ON THE CUSP of stepping into world title action is our super lightweight contender Jack Catterall. Jack holds the mandatory spot with the WBO but his accession has been held up a bit due to the recent unification clash between Maurice Hooker and the WBC champion Jose Ramirez.
Ramirez now holds both belts and, unfortunately, has been issued with two mandatory orders. At the moment it looks like the WBC challenge from Viktor Postol is likely to take place first on the basis there is a signed agreement that Jack is next in line and with a timeframe put in place.
In the meantime Jack will need to keep busy and we will look into the possibility of having him fight on the undercard of Ramirez-Postol in order to maximise interest in the forthcoming mandatory.
We’ll keep you posted on that.
We will also have news on Nicola Adams‘ first defence of her WBO world flyweight title, which takes place at the Royal Albert Hall on September 27, while Zolani Tete, our brilliant bantamweight, has been ordered by the WBO to defend his world title against the Interim champion Johnriel Casimero and negotiations are already underway.
Keep tabs on our social media channels for instant updates as and when the confirmed news breaks.