Vasiliy Lomachenko took another step towards unifying the lightweight division on Saturday night, adding the previously vacant WBC belt to his WBA and WBO titles with a points win over a brave Luke Campbell at the 02 Arena.
The supremely-talented Ukrainian wowed UK audiences with another stunning performance in London this weekend and now attention turns to what the two-time Olympic gold medallist does next.
One route for the man nicknamed ‘The Matrix’ would be to launch an attack on the one remaining lightweight title not in his possession - the IBF strap - securing his place as the undisputed fighter at 135lbs.
Currently, the IBF title adorns the waist of Bronx-based Ghanaian Richard Commey, 29-2 (26), a tough and hard-hitting fighter, but the 32-year-old must first overcome a mandatory defence against Teofimo Lopez, one of Top Rank’s most promising up and comers - young, brash and considered one of the best prospects in the world, the 22-year-old has already called out ‘Loma’ this year.
The mandatory almost certainly means that Lomachenko will be unable to unify the lightweight division in 2019 but it means there are two intriguing potential encounters on the horizon for the 31-year-old. Which of the two will square off with Lomachenko is another question entirely - on paper both are evenly matched and it may be a case of whether Lopez can live up to all the hype being built around him.
There could be another challenger nipping at Loma’s heels at 135lbs and that’s California’s Devin Haney, who has amassed a 22-fight unbeaten record and will become mandatory to Loma’s newly acquired WBC belt, should he get past Zaur Abdullaev on September 13.
Haney, 20, has already thrown his hat into the ring and took to Twitter to say he was unimpressed with the Ukrainian’s performance at the weekend.
We may well see Lomachenko drop down in weight-class - he’s already said many times that 135lbs isn’t the division he feels his best in and after his win over Campbell, his promoter Bob Arum claimed that his charge may be willing to drop back down to featherweight or super-featherweight.
At super-featherweight, a mouth-watering showdown with Floyd Mayweather protege and WBA champion Gervonta Davis has been mooted. The hard-hitting Baltimore native nicknamed ‘Tank’ has been going back and forth with Loma for a while now and in a now-deleted tweet claimed he would ‘retire’ the Eastern European if they ever fought.
Lomachenko has been too cool to let another fighter get under his skin so far in his career but if anyone can unsettle him in a build-up to a fight, it’s this brash 24-year-old.
Another tantalising match-up that has been rumoured could, if not for difficulties surrounding weight, be the most thrilling of the bunch. Japanese sensation Naoya Inoue, a bonafide beast at bantamweight, could be the most competitive fight for Loma out there.
The IBF and WBA champion is already a three-weight World Champion but skipped one division, meaning he’s actually climbed four, and he’ll need to step up once more if he wants to duke it out with Loma.
Finally, there’s Mikey Garcia, a four-weight World Champion that found out the hard way what can happen to a fighter who climbs too far through the weight classes.
Garcia had held the same WBC belt Loma claimed at the weekend and a fight between the American and the Ukrainian was on the cards until the former opted to vacate and move up to fight Errol Spence Jr - a terrible move in hindsight but undoubtedly a brave one.
Now, a fight between the two is potentially closer than ever to fruition, with each fighter having expressed a willingness to fight one another and despite his pasting against Spence, on a level playing field, Garcia is more than capable of throwing a wrench in Lomachenko’s plans for pound-for-pound domination.
Regardless of who he fights next, let’s sit back and take in one of the most gloriously-talented fighters to lace up a pair of gloves in the modern era.