WBO lightweight champion Ray Beltran still wants a unification showdown with Vasyl Lomachenko, the new WBA boss in the division. An August 25 clash between the two was mooted, but a shoulder operation means Lomachenko will be unable to fight until the end of the year. Beltran hopes to defend his title in August and then fight the brilliant Ukrainian in December.

“That’s the plan, that’s what he wants. We’re hoping that’s what happens. We’re hoping that’s the way it plays itself out. We want to keep Ray busy and we want to make sure that we all win our fights so that we can meet hopefully in December,” Beltran’s trainer Pepe Reilly told Boxing News.

“We’ve got a solid date, same day that Lomachenko was going to fight, the same day [but] we don’t have an opponent or location yet. It’s going to be August 25,” Reilly continued. “They have the Forum [in Los Angeles] reserved but that magnitude of fight with Lomachenko would have been appropriate. I don’t know if that can happen this time, considering the opponent change.”

Vasyl Lomachenko

Reilly is adamant that Beltran is the right opponent for the WBA champion to face next. “I think that considering that [Jorge] Linares did so well against Lomachenko, our confidence went up after watching them fight. Because we have the size advantage and because we see openings now. We see things we can take advantage of now. As opposed to before when he was making everyone quit. So going back to the [Orlando] Salido fight [which Lomachenko lost in 2014], Ray’s style is similar to Salido’s but with the weight advantage it would make a big difference I think,” the trainer said.

“You’re going to take shots, Ray’s got a great chin. Ray wouldn’t quit. If he got hit by the body shot he would have got up and kept going. That’s the difference between these two guys. Nothing against Linares. I just think that Ray might have been a little more gritty, a little more involved, especially when things got tough down the stretch.”