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Vasiliy Lomachenko on course for undisputed world championship blockbuster at start of 2023, says promoter Bob Arum

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Vasiliy Lomachenko is on course to challenge Devin Haney for the undisputed lightweight championship at the start of 2023 should both come through their upcoming fights, says Top Rank boss Bob Arum.

Haney currently reigns supreme at the top of the division after out-boxing George Kambosos Jr in June to clinch the belts in Australia, with the pair set to meet again in an October 16 rematch at Melbourne’s Rod Laver Arena.

The winner of that fight potentially lies in store for Lomachenko, with the Ukrainian due to return to the ring against Jamaine Ortiz in October.

“A contract is a contract and in order to secure that fight for Devin [Haney], we had to agree that if we won – which he did – there would be a rematch in Australia,” said Arum of the Haney-Kambosos rematch.

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“Thanks to the help of the Victoria Government, who have put up a substantial amount of money, we’re able to do the rematch.

“Devin has a further incentive because if he’s again successful then he has heard the news that one of my favourite fighters, Vasiliy Lomachenko, is back in the United States and his whole family has left Ukraine.”

Lomachenko last fought in December when he beat Richard Commey via unanimous decision to follow up a ninth-round TKO win over Masayoshi Nakatani in June.

He remains in pursuit of the world titles he lost in defeat to Teofimo Lopez in October 2020, after which the American suffered a shock loss to Kambosos Jr.

“Vasiliy will be in action a week or two weeks later, hopefully in Madison Square Garden in New York, where we’ll do a big salute to the Ukrainian people. He’ll be fighting Jamaine Ortiz, who is a good, tough lightweight.

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“If he [Lomachenko] is successful in that, then at the start of the year we’ll do what will be a massive fight – Lomachenko attempting to get all his titles back against Devin Haney.”

Top Rank president Todd duBoef added, “He wants those titles. He’s been carrying that Teofimo loss for way too long. He thinks those titles should be back around his waist.”

Lomachenko had shelved plans for a title fight to return to Ukraine earlier this year when the Russian invasion began. Now, like his friend, compatriot and fellow Olympic champion Oleksandr Usyk, Lomachenko wants to represent his country as an international athlete on a global stage.

“It’s an incredible human interest story. Someone conceding their own legacy and something that they really wanted, which was all the titles, it was sitting there for him to have and he’s [thought] I’ve got to put my own needs aside,” DuBoef said.

“What he did was incredibly admirable,” he continued. “We don’t see enough of that today. We see headlines with football players in the Premier League complaining they want to be traded from their team and NBA players and NFL players saying I don’t want to play for my team anymore and I need more money and I’m not handled correctly.

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“We just saw a real sign of altruism, a real sign of giving up and sacrifice for others.”

Sulaiman: Lots to look forward to at lightweight
WBC president Mauricio Sulaiman has welcomed the opportunity for Lomachenko to earn a shot at reclaiming his titles, hailing the 34-year-old as one of the most gifted boxers in the world.

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“That would only be fair,” Sulaiman told Sky Sports. “He has gone through so much, just as Usyk went through.

“He went back to Ukraine, he has been there supporting his country, now he left to go train, he is going to fight in October.

“It will be very, very just for him to be able to fight for the championship as he did.

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“He’s been out of the ring, but he’s always been a tremendous force. He’s one of the best fighters in the world.”

While a high-profile fight with Haney potentially awaits, Sulaiman also warned “don’t give up on Kambosos” as the Australian vies to avenge his comprehensive defeat on October 16.

“Haney is a tremendous champion, I’m so happy about Devin Haney and how he proved to the world his process was the correct one against so many critics that he and the WBC had to accept,” Sulaiman added.

“But once you conquer and defeat you feel proud of how things went. Haney is a tremendous fighter, one of the best in the world without a doubt.

“Any fight, there is so much talent in the lightweight division, Lomachenko, Kambosos, (Isaac) Cruz, (Gervonta) Davies, so many fights that can be made.

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“We have a lot of things to look forward to in this weight category.”

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EPL: He’s not happy at Man United – Erik ten Hag opens up on Cristiano Ronaldo

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Manchester United boss, Erik ten Hag has said that Cristiano Ronaldo is not happy at Old Trafford.

According to him, the Portugal international is ‘p****d off’ at being left on the bench against Manchester City at the weekend and is unhappy with his playing time under the Dutch coach.

Ronaldo was kept on the bench for the entire duration of their 6-3 defeat at the Etihad on Sunday.

Ronaldo has started just one Premier League match so far this season, which was the 4-0 defeat at Brentford.

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“I can’t see that relation, that he is not coming on when we are 4-0 down, I did not bring him on out of respect,” Ten Hag told the press ahead of Thursday’s Europa League fixture.

“It has nothing to do with the future or January. I don’t see him as unhappy. He is happy, training well and enjoying.

“He’s not happy that he didn’t play Sunday, don’t get me wrong, but the question was about his mood in training, where he’s happy.

“Of course, he wants to play and he’s p***** off when he’s not playing.”

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UCL: Michael Owen names player who helped Liverpool beat Rangers

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Former Liverpool striker, Michael Owen, has identified midfielder, Jordan Henderson as the player who helped the Reds defeat Rangers in Tuesday’s Champions League tie.

Owen hailed Henderson as the ‘key’ player during Liverpool’s clash with Rangers, adding that he was protecting right-back Trent Alexander-Arnold during the encounter at Anfield.

Recall that Alexander-Arnold’s name has hardly been out of the headlines in recent weeks as the defender’s place in England’s 2022 FIFA World Cup picture looks in doubt.

But the 23-year-old put that all to one side to open the scoring for Liverpool in their 2-0 victory against the Scottish giants. Mohammed Salah also scored a penalty.

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“I thought Jordan Henderson was key today,” Owen told BT Sport after the game.

“You saw the shape he was playing in the first half, he was filling in for him every time he went forward. To have that insurance behind you when you’re going forward must be a great thing.

“He gets in forward positions and that means there’s a gap there, but when someone’s plugging it, it means he doesn’t have to worry about what’s behind him and that is key. If he’s got Jordan Henderson in the team, I think we will see a different player,” he added.

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EPL: Thierry Henry reveals when Arsenal can be called title contenders this season

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Former Arsenal captain, Thierry Henry, has said the team can be considered title contenders if they are still up there by January.

Mikel Arteta’s men currently lead the way with 21 points after their opening eight fixtures.

When asked if he believes Arsenal are back, Henry told CBS Sports: “What is it – eight games in the league? Back to competing, I would say.

“What is nice to see is a team that can compete.

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Former Arsenal captain, Thierry Henry, has said the team can be considered title contenders if they are still up there by January.

Mikel Arteta’s men currently lead the way with 21 points after their opening eight fixtures.

When asked if he believes Arsenal are back, Henry told CBS Sports: “What is it – eight games in the league? Back to competing, I would say.

“What is nice to see is a team that can compete.

“Competing and for me, I always say it’s not because it’s Arsenal or any different team, when you pass Boxing Day and Christmas, it’s going to be different because you have the World Cup, but when you pass January and you’re still up there, competing for the title, then you’re a title contender.”

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