VASYL LOMACHENKO will move up in weight to fight WBO world super-featherweight champion Roman ‘Rocky’ Martinez on June 11.
Top Rank confirmed yesterday that the pair will meet at the Theater at Madison Square Garden in New York, with a press conference booked for next week to officially announce the fight.
Lomachenko, a standout amateur, won the WBO featherweight title in his third professional fight when he edged out Gary Russell Jnr. It was his second attempt at that belt after Orlando Salido had outpointed him three months before.
Martinez is coming off of a brace of exciting fights with Salido, the first of which he won before they drew in their second meeting in September.
At 33, the Puerto Rican – who will have vociferous support on the night, which falls on Puerto Rican Day Parade Weekend – has been in taxing fights in the past while the challenger looks to be hitting his prime.
Lomachenko has faced fairly anonymous opposition in Chonlatarn Piriyapinyo, Gamalier Rodriguez and Romulo Koasicha since handing Russell Jnr his only professional loss to date back in 2014.
It looked as though the Ukrainian was headed toward a much-anticipated clash with heavy-handed Jamaican Nicholas Walters, who has also moved to 130lbs after winning world honours at featherweight. However that failed to come to fruition, pathing the way for Loma to take on Martinez.
Red hot Puerto Rican prospect Felix Verdejo will fight in the co-feature as he looks to earn himself a ranking at lightweight. The 22-year-old has impressed so far, though did not perform as best he should when outpointing Jose Luis Rodriguez over 10 rounds earlier this month.