Vasiliy Lomachenko, the pound-for-pound star and WBA lightweight world champion will look to unify world titles for the first time Saturday when he takes on WBO champ Jose Pedraza.
Three-division world champion Lomachenko is returning to the ring for the first time since climbing off the canvas to stop Venezuela’s Jorge Linares on May 12.
The Ukrainian, who suffered a torn labrum in his right shoulder in that bout and had surgery the same month, says he’s “100 percent” for his return.
“It was good for me to rest,” said Lomachenko, whose outstanding amateur career included more than 800 fights and two Olympic gold medals.
He claimed his first professional world title, at featherweight, in his third bout as a professional and added a super featherweight belt in his seventh pro fight on the way to his current 11-1 record .
“I have been boxing since I was a child,” Lomachenko said. “I had a lot of competition. (Surgery) was my first rest and first big vacation in my life.”
Lomachenko acknowledged that training and sparring having provided the same test of his shoulder that will come against Pedraza.
Puerto Rico’s Pedraza, 25-1 with 12 knockouts, is back in the world title mix after relinquishing his IBF super featherweight title in a technical knockout loss to Gervonta Davis in January of 2017.
He seized his WBO lightweight title with a unanimous decision over Ray Beltran on August 25.
Lomachenko had the possibility to face eight division world champion Manny Pacquiao last year, but passed on the fight.
“I’m not disrespecting Pacquiao, but I don’t want to make my name bigger because I beat an old legend. I have my own road. There are a lot of good fighters to fight who are comparable to me. He’s old. I think his career is done. I don’t want to become a legend in boxing because of him,” Lomachenko said.