The first-ever world-title fight between two two-time Olympic champions was agreed to Friday when promoter Top Rank announced super-featherweight champion Vasyl Lomachenko will meet unbeaten super-bantamweight champion Guillermo Rigondeaux on Dec. 9 at Madison Square Garden.
The meeting between the skilled fighters will pit the offensively creative Lomachenko (9-1, seven knockouts) against the defensive brilliance of Rigondeaux (17-0, 11 KOs) in a matchup that has intrigued boxing insiders for years.
The Oxnard-trained Lomachenko won Olympic gold in 2008 and 2012 for Ukraine and proceeded to fight for a world title in his second pro bout. Although he lost that fight to Orlando Salido, he became the fastest to ever collect two belts by defeating Gary Russell Jr. in his third pro bout, and Roman Martinez in his seventh.
On Aug. 5, he stopped Miguel Marriaga after seven rounds at L.A. Live’s Microsoft Theater.
Cuba’s Rigondeaux, 36, won Olympic gold medals in 2000 and 2004 and has dominated foes with his elusiveness and speed.
While that style hasn’t generated the same interest that Lomachencko has gained with his improvisational movement and power punching, which has made him known as “The Matrix,” Rigondeaux did dominate multi-division champion Nonito Donaire in 2013.
After a run of obscure fights that caused many to lose interest, Rigondeaux let his hands go June 17 in what was originally ruled a first-round knockout of Mexico’s Moises Flores.
A later review changed the outcome to a no-contest because the referee allowed Rigondeaux to land a decisive punch just after the bell.