Earlier in the day, Top Rank announced a fight was finalized that has been long in the making. Boxing enthusiasts expected to see this bout during the first half of the year, but it is better late than never. WBO super featherweight champion Vasyl Lomachenko will defend his title against ex-featherweight champion Nicholas "Axeman" Walters on November 26th at the Cosmopolitan in Las Vegas, NV. The two combatants were unable to come an agreement when Top Rank’s Bob Arum initially proposed the fight. But it looks like Walters has had a change of heart after being placed on a lengthy timeout by Arum this year.
Walters (26-0-1, 21 KOs) turned down what would have been a career high payday of $550,000 against Lomachenko in what he considered unfair financial terms at the time. Walters has been inactive since his debut contest in the super featherweight division, which came in December of last year against Jason Sosa (now WBA super featherweight regular champion). It was a fight that was controversially ruled a draw and that many boxing aficionado felt Walters dominated. Lomachenko (6-1, 4 KOs) on the other hand is coming off of a knockout victory over Rocky Martinez in June in which he claimed his second world title in his debut in the weight class.
One can only wonder what financial terms were agreed upon to make the bout finally come to fruition. Nevertheless, it is a fight that is surely needed, as it has been somewhat of a slow year in boxing. Budget cuts by HBO has left their boxing showcases stagnant for most of the year but they appear to be ending the year with a bang with this fight being signed and possibly a few others still waiting to be finalized such as Gennady "GGG" Golovkin vs. Daniel Jacobs. Bob Arum was believed to be shopping Lomachenko around to other networks, as he was unable to secure a date commitment from HBO. A thumb injury suffered by Saul "Canelo" Alvarez in his bout against Liam Williams a few weeks ago has since freed up some room budget-wise for HBO, allowing the network to bring fans some stellar fights to close out the 2016 year.