Vasyl Lomachenko returns this weekend to face undefeated IBF lightweight champion Teofimo Lopez at the MGM Grand, whilst Lewis Ritson returns to the ring in Newcastle.

Read on for our preview of both fights.

Lopez has a puncher’s chance

It is almost impossible to prepare to fight Vasyl Lomachenko.

He has his favourite shots like any fighter, but no fighter in the world has the ability to switch their strategy, entry to engage, footwork, or defensive shape like the Ukranian can.

Shane McGuigan, trainer of Lomachenko’s last opponent Luke Campbell, recently said: “He’s incredibly hard to prepare for. Luke caught him in the first minute with a decent shot.

“He acknowledged it, but we spent 12 rounds trying to find that same shot again. He’s downloading information all the time. He doesn’t make the same mistake twice.”

Nicknamed ‘The Matrix’, Lomachenko has won world titles in three different weight classes, with 10 of his 15 fights coming by way of either knockout or technical knockout, whilst his opponent Teofimo Lopez boasts 12 in 15 fights.

It’s indeed rare that at lightweight a fighter should boast an 80 per cent knockout rate, but Lopez is big for the weight, and will also likely have the engine to carry that power into the later rounds, whilst Lomachenko is a notoriously smaller lightweight fighter.

Strength and energy will be Lopez’s greatest assets in the fight, but expect the rounds to be vastly one-sided, with Lomachenko taking his American opponent to places he’ll almost certainly not have experienced before.

It’s impossible to think Lopez can win this fight going the distance, but his power and ability to keep the pace will give him a chance to find that one punch to change the fight. You can get Teofimo Lopez to win by KO, TKO or DQ at 5/1, whilst Lomachenko to do the same is 9/4.

Lomachenko to win outright is a short 1/3, whilst Lopez is priced at 3/1.

Ritson to make short work of Vazquez

Since losing his IBF World lightweight title to Mickey Bey in 2014, which he had held for four years and six successful defences, Miguel Vazquez has won only eight from his last 13 contests.

Lewis Ritson, aside from his disappointing defeat Francesco Patera in 2018, has impressed fans during his five-year career as a professional, and it was in his last fight, a domestic bout against rising rival Robbie Davies Jr., that saw Ritson seemingly come into his own.

In a hard fought 12-round bout, Ritson showed class in his home town of Newcastle to take the victory by unanimous decision and he’ll be full of confidence as he heads into his first return to the ring in just over a year.

Vazquez is fast approaching the end of his career and it’s no surprise to see Ritson head into this fight as a 1/10 favourite to win, while the Mexican is 11/2 to have his hand raised on the night.

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