Vasyl Lomachenko signed with Top Rank three years ago because he wanted to face the best boxers. The Las Vegas-based company hasn’t forgotten the demand.
Lomachenko will defend his WBO junior lightweight title against Nicholas Walters on Nov. 26 on HBO at The Chelsea inside The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas, according to Top Rank promoter Bob Arum.
A formal announcement is expected to be made by Top Rank on Wednesday.
“We’re still finalizing the details with the Cosmo, and if everything is fine, we will make the announcement Wednesday,” Arum said. “It’s a really great fight. The fans will be pleased.”
Walters, a power puncher from Jamaica, is a former WBA featherweight champion with a signature victory against Nonito Donaire. Walters, however, has hit a snag in his promising career.
The 30-year-old Jamaican was stripped of the belt after failing to make weight before defeating Miguel Marriaga in June 2015. Walters followed with a controversial draw against Jason Sosa in December, but many pundits considered Walters the clear winner in the 130-pound bout.
Despite the setbacks, Walters is still viewed as one of the top junior lightweights capable of giving Lomachenko a challenge.
Lomachenko (6-1, four knockouts) and Walters (26-0-1, 21 KOs), both promoted by Top Rank, have crossed paths before. Arum had an oral deal in February for the two to meet, but things fell apart after Walters requested more money.
Lomachenko, the rising star from Ukraine, hasn’t been coddled since turning professional in 2013. The two-time Olympic gold medalist received a title shot in his second pro fight, but fell to an overweight Orlando Salido.
Lomachenko, 28, bounced back to record notable victories against Gary Russell Jr. and Roman Martinez to win two belts in two weight classes.
November is shaping up to be a busy boxing month in Las Vegas. Top Rank also is promoting the Manny Pacquiao-Jessie Vargas bout Nov. 5 at the Thomas & Mack Center. The light heavyweight showdown between Sergey Kovalev and Andre Ward is Nov. 19 at T-Mobile Arena.
Kovalev and Ward are considered top five pound-for-pound fighters. Lomachenko isn’t far behind and moved up the mythical list after a dominant knockout of Martinez in June.
Contact Gilbert Manzano at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-383-0492. Follow @gmanzano24 on Twitter.