AFTER thrilling Big Apple audiences in his last three bouts, Vasyl Lomachenko is ready to bring his lightweight world titles to the City of Angels.
Lomachenko, the pound-for-pound Picasso and the WBA and WBO lightweight world champion, will defend his titles against former lightweight world champion Anthony “Million Dollar” Crolla on Friday, April 12 at Staples Center.
In the co-feature, longtime WBO super middleweight world champion Gilberto “Zurdo” Ramirez will make his light heavyweight debut against an opponent to be announced in a 10-rounder.
Lomachenko-Crolla and Ramirez’s fight will stream live and exclusively in the United States beginning at 11 p.m. ET/8 p.m. PT on ESPN+ — the direct-to-consumer subscription streaming service, which will mark its one-year anniversary since launching on the day of the fight.
Lomachenko’s last headlining appearance in Los Angeles came in August 2017 at the Microsoft Theater when he defended his 130-pound world title against Miguel Marriaga via seventh-round TKO.
“Staples Center is the perfect venue to showcase one of boxing’s great fighters, Vasiliy Lomachenko, who will test himself against a top contender in Anthony Crolla of Great Britain,” said Top Rank chairman Bob Arum.
“Los Angeles boxing fans are passionate and knowledgeable, and I look forward to putting on a spectacular show for them at Staples Center,” Lomachenko said.
“Crolla is my mandatory challenger, and I like that he always comes to fight. He’s going to make the most of this opportunity.”
“I cannot wait for this. These are the fights you are in the sport for,” Crolla said.
“People will say that I have got nothing to lose, but I am genuinely going over to LA to shock the world.
“Firstly, I have to make sure the best Anthony Crolla turns up that night. I’m not worried about that.
“Preparing for Lomachenko is hard because he’s so unorthodox. He’s that good that when he does something wrong he gets away with it.
“You wouldn’t teach some of the things that he does. He’s so unique in that respect.”
“I’m delighted that Anthony gets another chance at a world title, this time against pound-for-pound star Vasiliy Lomachenko,” said Eddie Hearn, Managing Director of Matchroom Sport.
“After losing his world title to Jorge Linares, Anthony has fought his way back into the mandatory position, and he is more than ready for the challenge.
“It’s been a fairytale story for him and now he gets another big chance on the big stage in a fight that means everything to him.”
Lomachenko (12-1, 9 KOs) entered the professional ranks following an amateur career that included a pair of Olympic gold medals for his native Ukraine and an unprecedented 396-1 record.
He set a boxing record by winning world titles in three weight classes in 12 fights, shattering the previous mark of 20 set by Jeff Fenech 30 years prior.
He was named 2017 Fighter of the Year by most boxing outlets after forcing all three of his opponents — Jason Sosa, Marriaga and fellow two-time Olympic gold medalist Guillermo Rigondeaux — to quit on their stools.
In May 2018, he moved up in weight and captured the WBA lightweight title when he rebounded from a torn labrum and a sixth-round knockdown to stop Jorge Linares at Madison Square Garden with a body shot in the 10th round.
That December, in front of a sold-out Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden crowd, he scored a pair of knockdowns and won a wide unanimous decision over WBO lightweight champion Jose “Sniper” Pedraza to unify titles.
Crolla (34-6-3, 13 KOs), from Manchester, England, turned pro in October 2006 and won the British lightweight title in 2011.
He won the WBA lightweight title with a fifth-round knockout over Darleys Perez in November 2015, knocking Perez out for the count with a vicious left hook to the liver.
Crolla defended the belt with an upset seventh-round knockout win against Ismael Barroso, scoring the finishing blow on a right hand to the body.
He lost the title via competitive unanimous decision to Linares in September 2016, then lost the immediate rematch by unanimous decision the following March.
Crolla earned another world title shot by authoring three consecutive decision wins, including a unanimous decision over former three-weight world champion Ricky Burns in October 2017.