Lomachenko loses title shot – would rather defend Ukraine

Former lightweight champion Vasyl Lomachenko was hailed as a hero after he gave up the chance to fight for a belt in order to be in Ukraine.

Ukrainian media reported Lomachenko joined the army soon after Russia invaded his homeland. He was pictured in army uniform with a machine gun slung over his shoulder.

Promoter Bob Arum has revealed a title shot was on the line and a boxing match had been agreed between Lomachenko’s camp and undisputed champion George Kambosos Jr.

Lomachenko’s service in Ukraine means Australian Kambosos is now free to pursue an alternative opponent.

Lomachenko is one of a number of Ukrainian boxers, including the Klitschko brothers and Oleksandr Usyk, who have joined the fight against Russia.

There is an irony to the fact that Lomachenko was born in Soviet Ukraine. He grew up in Los Angeles, where he now lives, and trained with Freddie Roach at the Wild Card Gym in Hollywood. But he has said his heart is still in Ukraine, and he sees his country’s struggle for freedom as a cause worth fighting for.

Arum told Fight Club: “Vasiliy was, before this conflict broke out, was training in Greece.”

He continued: “Now what he could’ve done was fly — he couldn’t fly into Ukraine — so he flew back to Romania and got a car and drove over the border to be with his family and enlist in the defence of Ukraine.”

Lomachenko lost his belts to Teofimo Lopez back in 2020, but has won two boxing matches  since. That put him on the verge of another title fight.

Invasion of Ukraine led to Lomachenko heading home in order to defend his country. And in doing so a planned bout against Kambosos scheduled for June was effectively cancelled.

Arum added: “He felt his obligation was to the people of Ukraine and he was gonna stand and fight against the Russian aggression.

“Now that to me is real heroism. And not that, it hit really in the pocketbook because he’s no fool, we had a deal in principle with Lou DiBella for him to fight Kambosos in Australia in June and that fight now is obviously in jeopardy because he is in Ukraine fighting for his people.”