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Promoter: WBO wants Vasyl Lomachenko to fight for vacant title

Vasyl Lomachenko’s promoter said Monday that he has been told by World Boxing Organization President Francisco “Paco” Valcarcel that the sanctioning body wants the Ukrainian two-time Olympic champion to have another immediate shot at the vacant featherweight championship.

Lomachenko (1-1) lost his chance at the belt in a split-decision loss to veteran Orlando Salido on Saturday night at the Alamodome in San Antonio.

Salido weighed in over the 126-pound limit, losing the belt, and had bloated up to 145 pounds Saturday night, when he pounded Lomachenko early before the younger man closed impressively with more flurries.

“Considering what Lomachenko had to deal with against Salido being heavier and all that, Paco said he’s offering the vacant title fight to Lomachenko first,” Bob Arum, Lomachenko’s promoter, said Monday. “I told Lomachenko, and he’s very happy.

“He’s going back to the Ukraine for a few weeks, then will come back here to train.” Arum said the fight could take place by the early summer.

Arum said it was premature to assess possible opponents. Gary Russell Jr. is the top contender, but he fights for Golden Boy, a rival of Arum' Top Rank, and the two  promoters haven’t made a fight together in years.

Lomachenko is emerging as one of boxing’s bright young stars, and Arum said he anticipates he’ll fight four times this year.

“I told him, ‘Watch out for the bullets,’ in the Ukraine, and we’ll see you soon,” said Arum, referring to unrest in Lomachenko's country and Russia's military incursion into Ukraine's Crimea region.

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