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Vasiliy Lomachenko's return to ring targeted for Dec. 1, manager says

Pound-for-pound king and lightweight world champion Vasiliy Lomachenko's rehabilitation from shoulder surgery is going well and the plan is for him to be back in the ring on Dec. 1 in a world title unification fight, manager Egis Klimas said in an interview on this week's The Boxing Beat, the weekly ESPN+ news and interview show.

Three-division world titlist Lomachenko (11-1, 9 KOs) tore his labrum when he dislocated his right shoulder and then popped it back into place during the second round of his 10th-round knockout victory against Jorge Linares, whom he moved up in weight to face and took the lightweight world championship from on May 12 at Madison Square Garden in New York.

Lomachenko, 30, then underwent surgery in Los Angeles to repair the injury and has been at home in Ukraine for rehabilitation and physical therapy.

Klimas recently spent time with Lomachenko in Moscow when they were both on hand to support Oleksandr Usyk, also a Klimas client and one of Lomachenko's closest friends, when he became the undisputed cruiserweight world champion with his lopsided decision win over Murat Gassiev in the final of the World Boxing Super Series on July 21.

"Rehab is going really good. Lomachenko came to support his friend and countryman Usyk in Moscow, so we spent three, four days together," Klimas said. "He's working with his physical therapist. I think it's healing very good. I spoke with the doctor and the doctor said it was a good surgery. So we're looking to get him back on a checkup with the doctor.

"As far as the future, I just hung up [the phone] with [Top Rank promoter] Bob Arum and the plan is [Raymundo] Beltran is fighting [Jose] Pedraza on Aug. 25 and the winner [is] gonna be unifying titles with Lomachenko on Dec. 1."

A Lomachenko fight against the winner of Beltran-Pedraza would headline a Top Rank Boxing on ESPN+ card from a site to be determined.

Beltran (35-7-1, 21 KOs), who won a vacant lightweight world title in February, will make his first defense against former junior lightweight titleholder Pedraza (24-1, 12 KOs) in the main event of the Top Rank Boxing on ESPN card on Aug. 25 (ESPN/ESPN Deportes, 10:30 p.m. ET) at the Gila River Arena in Glendale, Arizona. Beltran was supposed to face Lomachenko, a southpaw, in a unification fight on Aug. 25, but it was scrapped because of Lomachenko's injured shoulder.

The biggest possible fight in the 135-pound division would pit Lomachenko against Mikey Garcia (39-0, 30 KOs), who unified two of the major belts with a one-sided decision over Robert Easter Jr. on Saturday night at the Staples Center in Los Angeles.

Lomachenko and Garcia have talked about facing each other in recent years but a variety of issues, including Garcia's rocky relationship with former promoter Top Rank and the fact that they fight on different networks -- Lomachenko on ESPN and Garcia on Showtime -- have prevented the fight from happening. But Klimas said that it is a fight Lomachenko wants badly.

"We want that fight with Mikey Garcia. But Mikey Garcia is always walking out of that," Klimas said. "We want the fight with Mikey Garcia. Let me repeat it two times -- we want the fight. Lomachenko wants to fight Mikey Garcia. ... Always excuses, excuses.

"If he wants to come over, his management can talk to our management. We can find a solution. I'm sure the fight can be made together with ESPN and Showtime to do a pay-per-view fight [together]. If he wants to fight a welterweight, let him fight a welterweight in his next fight. He can keep his belts and unify next year."

While Lomachenko plans to fight the Beltran-Pedraza winner on Dec. 1, Garcia is hoping to move up two divisions to challenge welterweight world titlist Errol Spence Jr. (24-0, 21 KOs) in October or November. Win or lose that fight, Garcia could return to 135 pounds for a possible undisputed lightweight world title fight with Lomachenko, who would have the other two belts if he beats the Beltran-Pedraza winner, a feat he would be heavily favored to do.