Bob Arum is hoping to make an obvious, fan-friendly match-up a reality by the end of next year.
The head of Top Rank Inc. was recently asked by FightHype.com about the future of Shakur Stevenson, the unified 130-pound titlist from Newark, New Jersey. Asked if a showdown with Ryan Garcia might be in the cards, Arum demurred, citing the fact he does not promote Garcia; the 23-year-old lightweight is backed by rival outfit Golden Boy Promotions.
Arum, however, was positive that a significant fight for Stevenson can be had under the Top Rank banner — with three-division titlist Vasiliy Lomachenko.
Lomachenko, 34, put his career on hold earlier this year to uphold military duties in his homeland of Ukraine against the Russian invasion. However, Arum believes Lomachenko may return to the ring as soon as this October. If Lomachenko gets his career back on track, Arum thinks it is more than likely that his company can stage a Lomachenko-Stevenson fight as soon as sometime next year.
“I can’t talk for [Ryan] Garcia, obviously he fights for Golden Boy. We haven’t broached anything with them,” Arum told FightHype.com. “In our own stable hopefully we get Lomachenko back in action. If everything’s okay, if he gets leave from the Ukrainian military, we can get Lomachenko in action in October and then next year [there are] a lot of ways for Lomachenko to go.
“One fight that has to be made, maybe not next for either guy, but down the road, probably next year, the fight that everybody would die to see if Shakur Stevenson and Lomachenko. Both guys want that fight.”
Stevenson, 25, is coming off a career-best win over Oscar Valdez to unify the WBC and WBO 130-pound titles. The southpaw ace will defend those belts in his hometown of Newark on Sept. 23 against Robson Conceicao.
Arum noted that his team is currently trying to find an appropriate opponent for Lomachenko should the Ukrainian be fit to return to the ring in October. Lomachenko has not fought since outpointing Richard Commey in December.
“I think [Vice President of Operations] Carl Moretti is working with our matchmakers to pick a suitable opponent,” Arum said. “I’m sure they’ll come up with somebody that passes all the tests. Remember Loma’s been inactive since I guess December.”