Vasiliy Lomachenko v Gervonta Davis is a match-up that has long been talked about, by both boxers as well as fight fans, and this weekend we get to see them both in action. Unfortunately, they won’t be sharing the same ring, but it’s always an entertaining weekend inside the squared circle when ‘Loma’ and ‘Tank’ are in action.
We’ve recently had our say about the ‘Four Kings’ of the lightweight division, and while Davis is already on that list, Lomachenko has the ability to gate-crash any party in and around that weight.
Both have been, and will be in the future, involved in bigger fights than they are this weekend. However, as long as they remain active and avoid defeats, surely it is only a matter of time before we get to see the super fights that this generation of boxing fans so desperately crave.
In the meantime, let’s take a look at who two of the sport’s greatest pound-for-pound contenders face this weekend.
Gervonta Davis v Mario Barrios
When? Saturday June 26th, 9pm ET / 1am GMT
Where? State Farm Arena, Atlanta
Why? It’s a question that has been asked by some respected names within boxing. Why, with so many elite fights to make at lightweight, is Davis stepping to super-lightweight to fight for a secondary version of a world title? It seems a risky strategy for the Baltimore knockout artist, but one that we expect him to come through relatively unscathed.
In Barrios, he meets another undefeated opponent, but with 23 of Davis’ 24 wins coming inside the distance, it would be a shock to hear the final bell this weekend. British fight fans will know all about Tank, with Floyd Mayweather’s protégé dispatching of Liam Walsh inside three rounds at the Copper Box Arena back in 2017. If that saw UK punters sit up and take notice, his assault on the pound-for-pound rankings since then will have them tuning in for every fight that he is involved in.
Following his shock destruction of Jose Pedraza in the fight before that London showdown with Walsh, Tank was already the IBF super featherweight champ. Francisco Fonseca would fall next, with three more brutal stoppages following before stepping up to lightweight to deal with Yuriorkis Gamboa and claiming his WBA lightweight belt.
If Davis was beginning to make some noise up to that point, his next fight would see him elevated to superstar status. Leo Santa Cruz was supposed to provide Davis with his toughest night yet, considering that he himself was a four-weight world champion heading into the bout. In a fairly even contest, Tank lived up to his nickname with a contender for knockout of the year as the sixth session approached its climax.
He hasn’t fought since, and although Barrios is 26-0 with 17 knockouts to boast of, expect Davis to prove too much before heading back down to lightweight to settle the ‘Four Kings’ debate.
Betfred Odds: Davis 1/5, Draw 25/1, Barrios 18/5
Vasiliy Lomachenko v Masayoshi Nakatani
When? Saturday June 26th, 10pm ET / 2am GMT
Where? Virgin Hotels Las Vegas, Las Vegas
Why? Looking at his record, you’d be forgiven for asking why Lomachenko is held in such high regard. He has made 16 professional appearances, and lost two of them. Hardly the record of a modern great is it?
Wrong. ‘Hi-Tech’ is one of the most naturally gifted fighters the sport has ever seen. In his short career, he has already dispatched of stellar names such as Gary Russell Jr, Guillermo Rigondeaux, Jorge Linares, Jose Pedraza and Jason Sosa. More recently, he has faced and defeated two British heroes in Anthony Crolla and Luke Campbell.
Sure, his last bout ended in defeat to the new unified lightweight king in Teofimo Lopez, but many fight fans seem to forget that Loma is already fighting at several divisions above his natural weight. In reality, life was too easy for him down at feather and super featherweight, with the Ukrainian winning a world title in just his third professional bout. He has continued to step up in weight to challenge himself, and found the size difference of Lopez too much to overcome.
In Nakatani, he faces a man who has one loss on his record, also to Lopez, but hadn’t fought outside of his native Japan until that defeat two fights ago.
This is very much a confidence booster for Lomachenko, and he will look very good in victory as he eyes world honours in the near future.
Betfred Odds: Lomachenko 1/20, Draw 22/1, Nakatani 9/1