Hall of Fame promoter Bob Arum of Top Rank Promotions recently gave updates on several of his fighters and the status of their upcoming fights. Here’s what he had to say in a video interview with iDBoxing:
On Shakur Stevenson and his place in the talented lightweight division:
“The plan is for [Stevenson] to fight the Haney-Loma[chenko] winner…If Haney wins, he’s talking about going to 140, so that makes it a vacant title for Shakur.
“But if Loma wins, then Loma and Shakur is a fight that I would pay all kinds of money to watch. That’s really an unbelievable fight. Two real great students and artists in the game of boxing.”
* Unified lightweight champ Devin Haney and former titlist Vasiliy Lomachenko are scheduled to meet May 20. Shakur Stevenson will face Japan’s Shuichiro Yoshino in a WBC lightweight title eliminator on April 8.
On Teofimo Lopez being named mandatory challenger to WBO junior welterweight champ Josh Taylor and the likelihood of a Taylor-Lopez title clash:
“Teofimo Lopez has been a loyal fighter for the WBO. He was the lightweight champion. He’s always respected the WBO. He’s the number one contender. So, it was normal, likely, that the WBO would order the mandatory fight, and it’s a huge fight. I know we’ve talked to Teofimo and we’ve talked to Josh. Both guys want that fight and, so, I’m very pumped that that fight is going to happen. I really think it’s a fight of the year candidate.
“It is very close to being agreed…The site is up in the air. I think there’s a possibility it goes to New York or Las Vegas or maybe even the UK. We’ll have to sort that out, but we promote both fighters and we know what they’re thinking and hope we’ll be able to land it in the place that makes most sense for the fight.”
* It’s been recently announced that former four-belt junior welterweight champ Josh Taylor and former three-belt lightweight champ Teofimo Lopez will meet June 10 in New York for Taylor’s WBO 140 lb. title.
On three-belt light heavyweight champ Artur Beterbiev and a possible bout with former super middleweight champ Callum Smith:
“I’m not going to talk to anybody about the Callum Smith fight with Beterbiev because Callum Smith has a fight in March. So, why go through the whole machinations of talking about a fighter fighting Beterbiev for the titles when we don’t know how the Callum Smith fight in March turns out? He may win, he may lose, he may get hurt, he may get cut. But if he comes through, he is certainly the mandatory and that will be the first course of action, particularly if we can’t make a fight against Bivol, who may be sitting around waiting for a Canelo fight, which pays him a lot more. We’ll have to see.
But, definitely, Callum Smith is on our radar and we’ll be closely monitoring his fight in March because he’s a good fighter and he would be competitive with Beterbiev who, in my opinion, is the best light heavyweight in the world.”
Top Rank has a deep stable of fighters and will be putting on some quality bouts in the coming months. In addition to the fights mentioned above, former two-belt junior welterweight champ Jose Ramirez will be taking on former lightweight titlist Richard Commey. Also, talks are still ongoing for a late-April heavyweight unification bout between WBC champ Tyson Fury and IBF/WBA/WBO titlist Oleksandr Usyk, likely to take place in the UK.