Loma: ‘If you have a belt, you can come in the ring, and I’ll fight with you’

WBA/WBO lightweight world champion Vasiliy “Loma” Lomachenko and WBO super middleweight world champion Gilberto “Zurdo” Ramirez came to Fortune Gym in Hollywood on Monday for a media workout as they prepare for their respective bouts, April 12 at Staples Center.

Lomachenko, the pound-for-pound Picasso, will defend his world titles in the main event against the hard-charging Anthony “Million Dollar’ Crolla, while Ramirez will dip his toe in the light heavyweight waters versus veteran Tommy Karpency in the co-feature.

Lomachenko-Crolla and Ramirez-Karpency will stream exclusively April 12 at 11 p.m. ET/8 p.m. PT on ESPN+

In front of a packed media contingent, here is what Lomachenko had to say.

On his weight

Right now, I am a lightweight, but lightweight is not my ideal weight category. My goal now is to unify all four titles, and then, we’ll see. Maybe I’ll move back down to 130 pounds and win world titles there for a second time.

On Anthony Crolla as a fighter

“I don’t know too much about him. I know him from his two fights with Jorge Linares. I do know he is an aggressive fighter, and I like to fight guys who come forward.”

On preparing for Crolla

“I prepare like always. We are training hard. I’ve been training for a couple months already and will put on a great performance for my fans in Los Angeles and on ESPN+. I will show everyone my best style and hope everyone enjoys it.”

On future opponents

“I want to fight the best. But now, Crolla is the best choice. He is the mandatory challenger and wanted to fight me. That is why I accepted this fight.”

On whether he thinks he’ll dominate Crolla

“I don’t know. I can’t see in the future. It depends how he fights. We’ll see.”

On Teofimo Lopez

I’m ready for everyone. I need the belts. If you have a belt, you can come in the ring, and I’ll fight with you.”

Photo: Mikey Williams/Top Rank
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Lomachenko-Crolla set for April 12 in Los Angeles

After thrilling Big Apple audiences in his last three bouts, Vasiliy “Loma” 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. The entire undercard will also stream live on ESPN+ starting at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT.

Promoted by Top Rank, in association with Matchroom Boxing USA, tickets priced at $310.50, $207, $103.50, $77.65, and $51.75 (including facility fees) go on sale Tuesday, Feb. 26 at 12 p.m. PT. 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.”

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.

Ramirez (39-0, 25 KOs) is ready to make his mark at light heavyweight after making five successful defenses of his WBO world title. The native of Mazatlán, Mexico, is a 10-year pro who won the world title in April 2016 with a shutout unanimous decision over two-weight world champion Arthur Abraham. In his last bout, Dec. 14 in Corpus Christi, Texas, he closed the show strong and defeated Jesse “Hollywood” Hart via majority decision. Ramirez, who has not ruled out returning to super middleweight to defend his title, also has his sights set on the light heavyweight division’s leading names.

“I am very motivated because of all the new things I have been doing to advance my career,” Ramirez said. “I am very excited to fight at Staples Center for the first time, as I consider Los Angeles my second home. I knew there will be many Latino fans supporting me. I want to become an idol of Mexican boxing, and nothing will stop me as I work to fulfill my dreams. I am also working with a new trainer, Julian Chua, who is pushing me to become the best fighter possible.”