Although Vasiliy Lomachenko vs. Jorge Linares may not have been a fight the boxing community had predicted in 2018, but Linares said he was preparing for this fight for quite some time.
Linares spoke on the final press conference before he is set to defend his WBA lightweight world title against Lomachenko and elaborated on his preparation for Lomachenko. Linares admitted that he knew that Top Rank Boxing and Golden Boy Promotions, who promote Lomachenko and Linares, respectively, would be able to work together to make this fight possible. As such, Linares said he used his last two title defenses as a way to prepare for a potential clash against the two-division world champion.
“I’ve been working hard for the last few fights preparing for this fight. I knew Lomachenko wanted it. I wanted it. The last two opponents I faced were southpaws, purposefully. I was preparing psychologically and physically to fight Vasiliy Lomachenko. I’ve had him on my radar,” Linares said.
In those last two fights, Linares went the distance against Luke Campbell and Mercito Gesta and emerged victorious against both of them. In the September 2017 fight against Campbell, Linares escaped with a split decision (115-112, 113-115, 114-113) win and in the January 2018 fight against Gesta, Linares cruised to a wide unanimous decision victory on HBO.
The WBA champion was originally planned to fight WBC champion Mikey Garcia, but due to Garcia electing to fight Sergey Lipinets for the IBF junior featherweight title, it opened up the opportunity for Linares to fight Lomachenko. Lomachenko vs. Linares will headline a Top Rank Boxing on ESPN card at Madison Square Garden on May 12.