Vasyl Lomachenko: What’s next for the Ukrainian after shock defeat to Teofimo Lopez?

Vasyl Lomachenko

Many of us have likely had a bad Saturday night, however not many of us would have had one as bad as Vasyl Lomachenko.

The Ukrainian boxer lost just his second fight in professional boxing in what many would deem to be a shock result.

However, the defeat by Teofime Lopez could have serious ramifications on what Lomachenko does next.

The former unified lightweight champion lost all his belts and to make matters worse, he has no option for a rematch and one that the American boxer is unlikely to be in a hurry to offer in the near future.

Thus, the 32-year-old - who is one of the 'best pound-for-pound' fighters - appears to find himself at a crossroads in his stellar career. Having yet to face any adversity as he is now, where does Lomachenko go from here and what are his next steps?

Well, there are a few that the Ukrainian fighter can take to get back to winning ways and, perhaps, parachute his name back into contention for a world title (or two).

Move back down a weight to junior lightweight

Although no one ever really likes to take a step back in their professional career in any walk of life, Lomachenko could perhaps benefit by doing so.

Vasyl Lomachenko

As mentioned, the fighter was ranked as one of the best pound-for-pound fighters when he was at this weight, as well as in the featherweight division. Considering he had run riot in this division, the step-up in weight division was always inevitable. He managed to run rough shot of that division as well prior to Lopez, hence unifying and holding three of the major four belts, but he did not look the fighter everyone knows he can be.

He struggled to dominate contests and he started to take hits that he would not have experienced before, with men like Jorge Linares, Jose Pedraza, and Luke Campbell all landing numerous punches on him. He also looked rather small compared to some of his opponents as well.

The junior lightweight division has some quality opponents that Lomachenko can look to challenge himself against as he will want to re-establish himself as one of the best in the world and get that defeat out of his system.

However, whether his pride will let him drop a weight remains to be seen, as he will likely want to prove himself in the lightweight division.

Stay at lightweight

What better way to recover from a defeat by making a statement of intent?

Vasyl Lomachenko

There is no reason as to why Lomachenko can not do it and he will have the mindset in order to be able to carry out that particular goal. Lopez may have defeated him, however the American is keen on moving up the weight divisions himself, thus the opportunity to reclaim his titles may become available in the near future.

The former champion was one of the best in the category before his defeat, so there is no reason he can not compete for them if they do become vacated.

There are also big-name opponents in the division that Lomachenko could look to square off against in the meantime, perhaps to further fine-tune his style at this weight. Individuals could look to touch gloves with the likes of Gervonta Davis, Devin Haney and Ryan Garcia if he were to stick around.

These fights would all suit the Ukrainian, as they would all prove to be main events and would help him to try and solidify his status at the top of the division, especially if Lopez makes the step up in the imminent future.

Move down to the featherweight again

Although this might feel like two-steps back, dropping two weight classes might not necessarily be a bad idea.

Vasyl Lomachenko

Lomachenko breezed through this division and won his first professional title in just his third fight. He defeated Gary Russell Jr on the night and since then, his old foe has dominated the division for the last five years; his only loss was against the Ukrainian.

A rematch between the two could be the perfect tonic for the recently-defeated fighter to get some confidence back, whilst continuing to prove that he can beat the very best a weight division has to offer.

Indeed, it will be interesting to see what career choices Lomachenko does look to make, although his next opponent might want to think twice about getting in the ring with him, regardless of what weight they are competing at.

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