Vasiliy Lomachenko not only pulled himself off the canvas to knock out Jorge Linares and capture his lightweight belt by 10th-round technical knockout last month, he did it without use of a right hook.
The three-division champion had arthroscopic surgery on his right shoulder Wednesday at Cedars-Sinai Kerlan-Jobe Institute in Los Angeles to repair a torn labrum, which he sustained when throwing a second-round punch.
“That punch helps me with my combinations,” the left-handed Lomachenko (11-1, nine knockouts) said Friday, downplaying the urgency required to improvise during the victory over Linares, the longtime World Boxing Assn. champion. “There’s always something to work on … I felt the pain, but I had to use what I had left.”
In his first interview since the procedure, Lomachenko said he’s aiming for a December return and hopes the bout can land on pay-per-view.
Lomachenko, 30, was thrilled that his bout against Linares drew nearly 1.75 million viewers on ESPN, the best television audience this year for a boxing match.
“I’ve been ready for some time to get paid for what I do in the ring,” Lomachenko said. “I’m ready for [pay-per-view]. I’m ready for my future. I’ve done everything from my side. I’ve showed and proved what I can do. The question to the promoters is how they can maximize my bout, so people can buy it.”
Lomachenko’s manager, Egis Klimas, said talks are underway to make Lomachenko’s next bout a pay-per-view offering.
While promoter Bob Arum was originally eyeing an Aug. 25 bout for Lomachenko at the Forum against World Boxing Organization lightweight champion Ray Beltran, Arum now is pointing Jose Pedraza toward Beltran for late August should Pedraza defeat Antonio Moran on June 9 in Las Vegas.
Lomachenko said he remains interested in fighting unbeaten World Boxing Council lightweight champion Mikey Garcia, who trains in Riverside and is expected to meet Robert Easter Jr. — the International Boxing Federation 135-pound champion — this summer at Staples Center.
“After a period of not fighting, it would be stupid of me to step right in there against Mikey. Of course, I’d like to fight someone like Beltran,” Lomachenko said. “Beltran would be easier than Mikey.
“I’m as interested in fighting Mikey Garcia as you are [in seeing it]. That bout is going to happen. It’s just a matter of time.”