Next For Lomachenko? "I Want Number One!"

BY Michael Woods ON July 29, 2014
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Egis Klimas isn't one of those guys known beyond the hardcore fight followers, but every month, he's getting his profile upped. The manager, who came to the US from Lithuania in 1989, helms Sergey Kovalev, and also Vasyl Lomachenko, and Evgeny Gradovich (19-0; from Russia; age 27).

Three champions, that's not to be sniffed at.

He also advises and steers other fighters, not as well known, but Klimas is busier these days hashing out bigger and bigger bouts with his name clients. He told TSS, during a Saturday press session to hype Kovalev's light heavy title defense against Blake Caparello in Atlantic City (and on HBO) on Saturday that he isn't sure what is next for his most impressive Ukrainian champ, Vasyl Lomachenko, who impressed mightily in his last outing, against Gary Russell Jr.

"I spoke with Top Rank and they will be speaking with HBO," Klimas said. "HBO people are going to Vegas for the Brandon Rios (vs. Diego Chaves) fight," he said, and he expects those parties to get some clarity on what's next for Loma then.

Does he have any preferences? "I would just say give him a defense, defend his title. Because he had two difficult fights, toe to toe."

But Loma isn't one of these new breed cherry pickers, so that makes things easier for Klimas. "I asked him what he wants to do next, and he said, 'I want number one. Give me number one."

The 26-year-old, who won two Olympic golds, now holds the WBO featherweight crown, and sports a 2-1 pro record. He debuted with a win over 25-3 Jose Ramirez last October, dropped a SD12 to ultra-vet Orlando Salido in March, and then drew across-the-board hurrays for his showing against the fleet-fisted Russell on June 21. Jhonny Gonzalez holds the WBC's feather crown, Nonito Donaire and Nicholas Walters have the WBA versions and Gradovich is the IBF champ at 126, if your are curious about ideas for consolidation in that division. (Regarding Gradovich, is from the same stock as Loma. Klimas reached out to him, asked him to furnish a couple names of guys he wants to fight. "Egis, I'm not going to give you names. Whoever Top Rank is going to give me, I'm going to fight," Gradovich told Klimas.)

What would you like for Loma to do the rest of 2014? Weigh in, in our Forum?

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Comment on this article

oubobcat says:

Top Rank has stacked up almost all the Featherweight belt holders. They have Donaire, Gradovich, Walters along with Lomachenko who all hold some kind if belt. There are a lot of good potential matchups here.

The question is when will Top Rank start matching some of these guys against each other. They just did a show in Macau where Donaire, Gradovich and Walters all fought in separate fights. Eventually, they need to fight one another one would think.

If I had to guess, Lomachenko is going to get matched with Gradovich at some point. Its a marketable fight and Gradovich is someone whose style should suit Lomachenko very well. Gradovich is an aggressive volume punchers who comes straight forward and brings the fight to his opponents. He can best be described as gritty and workmanlike. He is not a big puncher and a great counterpuncher like Lomachenko could use Gradovich's aggressiveness against him.

It might not be this year but maybe sometime early next year in a title unification fight. I would venture to say they each may end up fighting on a card in separate bouts, maybe a PPV undercard or HBO boxing after dark card, to set up a fight early next year.

In the meantime, Lomachenko will probably get a nice showcase fight after two tough bouts. I wouldn't expect anything special but will be facing someone in his fourth pro bout that many fighters in a similar position wouldn't be facing until way down the line. Fernando Montiel, Wilfredo Vazquez Jr., Jonathan Barros...that level of opponent. A fighter Lomachenko should handle and should look good doing so.

The Commish says:

It is not going to happen, not yet, anyway, but I'd love to see V-Lo in there with Leo Santa Cruz (coming up in weight) or Nicholas Walters.

-Randy G.

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