Pound-for-pound king Vasiliy Lomachenko, who unified two lightweight world titles Saturday night, will return to the ring on April 12 at Staples Center in Los Angeles, Top Rank president Todd duBoef told ESPN on Tuesday.
Lomachenko will headline the Friday night Top Rank Boxing on ESPN or ESPN+ card against an opponent to be determined, but there is a strong chance he will get the opportunity to further unify the 135-pound division.
Ghana's Richard Commey (27-2, 24 KOs) and Isa Chaniev (13-1, 6 KOs), of Russia, are due to meet for a vacant lightweight world title on ESPN in the co-feature of the rematch between light heavyweight world titlist Eleider "Storm" Alvarez and former titleholder Sergey Kovalev on Feb. 2 at the Ford Center in Frisco, Texas.
Though Commey-Chaniev has not been formally announced, Top Rank has a deal in place with their promoter, Lou DiBella, to put the fight on the Feb. 2 card, with the winner having agreed to face Lomachenko at some point in 2019.
Lomachenko (12-1, 9 KOs), 30, the two-time Olympic gold medalist from Ukraine, scored a pair of 11th-round knockdowns on his way to a lopsided unanimous decision over Puerto Rico's Jose Pedraza (25-2, 12 KOs) -- 119-107, 117-109 and 117-109 -- to unify belts on Saturday night at the sold-out Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden in New York.
Lomachenko's past three fights have been in New York, and duBoef said it was time to bring him back to Los Angeles, where he last fought in the headline bout against Miguel Marriaga in August 2017 at the Microsoft Theater, which is across the street from Staples Center.
"We think Lomachenko's brand as a fighter is growing, but he has been predominantly an East Coast fighter, and we want to bring him back to the West Coast and help build his brand even more," duBoef said.
Lomachenko's star power is certainly on the ascent. The tripleheader telecast lasting 2 hours, 23 minutes on Saturday night averaged a robust 1.865 million viewers on ESPN, with the Lomachenko-Pedraza main event averaging 2.013 million viewers, according to Nielsen Media Research.
The broadcast peaked at 2.118 million viewers near the end of the action-packed co-feature, in which Emanuel Navarrete won a unanimous decision over Isaac Dogboe to win a junior featherweight world title.
Even the 44-second opening bout, with lightweight prospect Teofimo Lopez scoring a spectacular knockout of Mason Menard, averaged more than 1.8 million viewers.