Bill Tibbs breaks down this Friday nights fight
The champion is from the Ukraine, the challenger is from England and they will meet up in California.
Vasiliy “Hi-Tech” Lomachenko will defend his WBO and WBA world lightweight titles against former lightweight world champion Anthony “Million Dollar” Crolla on Friday, April 12 at Staples Center, in Los Angeles, California.
Lomachenko, promoted by Las Vegas based Top Rank Boxing, will be making his title defence on the ESPN+ platform.
The card will also feature, long-time WBO super middleweight world champion Gilberto “Zurdo” Ramirez making his debut at 175-pounds after a long, successful run as the WBO boss at 168-pounds.
Crolla(34-6-3, 13 KO’s) comes into the bout sporting an impressive resume with a ledger that includes the WBA world title. Crolla stopped Darleys Perez back in 2015 to win the title and then made 1 defence of the belt 6-months later. He then lost the title to Jorge Linares in September of 2016. Crolloa tried to regain the title in a rematch with Linares 6-months later but again came up short against the tough and talented Mexican. Since then he has put 3 straight wins together, including a victory over former champion Ricky Burns, leading to his shot at P4P star Lomachenko who will enter the ring with a record of 12-1, with 9 KO’s.
Like many fighters who enter the ring with Lomachenko, (Crolla has 43-bouts to his credit to Lomachenko’s 13), the experience factor can be misleading.
Keep in mind that Lomachenko fought for a world title in his 2nd bout, something he lobbied to do in his debut, and was a world champion by his 3rd contest. Every fight fight he has been in as a professional has been for a belt and he has been in a world title fight in 12 of his 13 pro outings. These are impressive numbers to say the least.
While the Oxnard, California-residing Lomachenko isn’t looking past this fight, he has spoken openly about wanting to challenge the best fighters out there including Mikey Garcia who recently came up short against Errol Spence in mid-March in Texas.
There has also been chatter about Lomachenko facing off against young, fast-rising star Teofimo Lopez who looks to have the goods to be boxing’s next big attraction.
So, while the options are many for the Ukraine-born Lomachenko, Manchester, England’s Crolla plans to put a wrench in all the plans by pulling off a victory in California.
In a recent interview, Crolla made it clear that he understands what an exceptional talent he is facing but at the same time thinks he can come up with the game plan to pull off the upset.
“I believe that I can win a world title again, and these are the kind of fights that I’m in it for," Crolla continued. "This is the biggest fight that can be made out there for me. I’ve earned it, it’s not like I’ve been given this shot”, he said. “Since losing my title to Jorge Linares, I’ve come back and had three solid wins. I’ve not won the lottery or not won a raffle to fight Vasyl Lomachenko, so I’m looking forward to it”, he continued.
And, while Crolla knows he is in with the man that many are calling boxing’s best, he also knows the game is littered with victories over the years from fighters that weren’t supposed to have a chance going in. So, “Million Dollar” is looking to cash in big and score the biggest upset of the year and his biggest career victory.
“No man is unbeatable. It’s been proven with Lomachenko. He lost early on in his career”, said Crolla. “Don’t get me wrong, he’s improved so much I believe since then as a professional. It was always a very big challenge to win a world title in your second fight, but he’s that kind of fighter. But there are weaknesses there that we see and we’re going to try and capitalize on”, he said.
Photo credit Top Rank