Vasiliy Lomachenko says he’s thrilled to return to Los Angeles in December to defend the lightweight title he captured in May.
“I love Los Angeles. Actually, you can call it my second home,” said Lomachenko, who trains in Oxnard.
The three-division champion from Ukraine will fight at the Forum on Dec. 1 against the winner of Saturday’s World Boxing Organization lightweight title fight between champion Ray Beltran and Jose Pedraza.
“I want to show L.A. what I can do, give back to my fans and gain more fans after putting on another great show,” said Lomachenko (11-1, nine knockouts) while vacationing on an overseas hunting trip. “I can’t wait to get back soon and begin camp.”
Lomachenko won his first belt as a featherweight at StubHub Center in Carson in 2014 by defeating Garry Russell Jr. by majority decision for the WBO crown, then returned to Los Angeles in August 2017 to stop Miguel Marriaga in the seventh round at L.A. Live’s Microsoft Theater to retain the WBO super-featherweight title he won when knocking out Roman Martinez at Madison Square Garden in June 2016.
Lomachenko had stopped four consecutive fighters on their stool before rising from a knockdown to beat longtime lightweight champion Jorge Linares by technical knockout in the 10th round in May at Madison Square Garden to claim the WBA super-lightweight title.
He underwent shoulder surgery after the bout and his healing has moved expeditiously.
The Beltran-Pedraza fight will be an ESPN-televised main event from Gila River Casino in Glendale, Ariz. Beltran, 37, a former sparring partner of Manny Pacquiao, meets a Puerto Rican who has only lost to Gervonta Davis.
“I don’t think about them,” Lomachenko said. “They need to think about me. “I really don’t care which guy it is, but if I had to choose which one to fight, I’d like to fight Beltran. I’m just happy to unify the titles. That’s all I care about.”
By adding a second lightweight belt, Lomachenko would match unbeaten Oxnard-raised Mikey Garcia, who wears the World Boxing Council and International Boxing Federation versions.