Photos: Lomachenko dominates Crolla

Vasiliy Lomachenko once again staked his claim as the pound-for-pound king, knocking out mandatory challenger Anthony Crolla in four rounds to retain his WBA/WBO/Ring Magazine lightweight titles.

Crolla, the former WBA lightweight champion, was game but never threatened Lomachenko. After tough battles against Jorge Linares and Jose Pedraza in 2018, he had an easier night at the office to begin his 2019 campaign.

“I want to fight with Mikey Garcia, but we’ll see. I don’t know,” Lomachenko said. “I stay at 135 as long as it’s possible, and I want to unify all {the} titles.”

Lomachenko (13-1, 10 KOs) scored a knockdown at the end of the third round when referee Pat Russell ruled the ropes held Crolla up.

In the fourth, Loma came out on the attack, knocking Crolla (34-7-3, 13 KOs) back to the ropes. Then, it happened. A right hook to the top of Crolla’s head put him down and out.

Photos/Courtesy: Top Rank/Mikey Williams:
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Loma: ‘I still want that fight, 100 percent, but it is up to Mikey(Garcia); can he cut the weight?’

WBA/WBO lightweight world champion Vasiliy Lomachenko felt right at home Tuesday at the Ukrainian Culture Center, site of Tuesday’s media workout. Lomachenko (12-1, 9 KOs) won a pair of Olympic gold medals (2008 and 2012) for his native Ukraine.

For the first time as a professional, Lomachenko will headline a STAPLES Center card, a short drive from his United States training base in Ventura County.

Lomachenko will defend his world titles against the hard-charging Anthony Crolla (34-6-3, 13 KOs), while longtime WBO super middleweight champion Gilberto “Zurdo” Ramirez (39-0, 25 KOs) will dip his toe in the light heavyweight waters versus veteran Tommy Karpency (29-6-1, 18 KOs) in the 10-round co-feature.

Lomachenko-Crolla and Ramirez-Karpency will stream exclusively Friday, April 12 at 11 p.m. ET/8 p.m. PT on ESPN+ — the leading multi-sport streaming service.

The undercard broadcast (ESPN+, 8 p.m. EST) will feature unbeaten 140-pound contender Arnold Barboza Jr. (20-0, 7 KOs) against former world champion Mike Alvarado (40-4, 28 KOs) in a 10-rounder and welterweight contender Alexander Besputin (12-0, 9 KOs) versus Alfredo Blanco (20-7, 11 KOs) in a 10-rounder for Besputin’s USBA belt. Besputin is ranked No. 1 in the world by the WBA.

Three days before taking center stage at STAPLES Center, this is what Loma had to say:

On fighting Crolla:

“I anticipate a good and entertaining fight. I want to enjoy {myself} during the fight. All of my fights, I have enjoyed.”

“Before the fight, you’re nervous a little bit, but when you step in the ring, it’s your place. You step into your house, relax and enjoy the fight.”

On headlining in Los Angeles:

“On April 12, I am going to show my best style and give the fans a great show. I am excited to fight at STAPLES Center. The fans in Los Angeles are special and appreciate my boxing style.”

On a potential Mikey Garcia fight:

“I still want that fight, 100 percent, but it is up to Mikey. Can he cut the weight? I don’t know. But if he can make 135, I want to fight.”

“My goal is to unify all the titles. If it’s {IBF champion Richard} Commey later this year, that would be a great fight. Any champion, I would want to fight. I want IBF and WBC belts. I want to go down in history as a great champion.”

Loma on fighters quitting against him: ‘It’s not good for boxing’

Former two-weight world champion Vasiliy Lomachenko is special. His speed, his quickness, and his skill have forced many fighters to quit, and after only 11 fights, he has many calling him one of the pound-for-pound best in the sport of boxing.

Ask Guillermo Rigondeaux and Nicholas Walters, who many thought would beat Lomachenko, but the skill, the speed, and the quickness of Lomachenko were too much for both fighters. The pressure was so intense that both Walters and Rigondeaux quit on their stools.

“Well, I guess I’ll have to change my name to ‘No-Mas-chenko,'” Lomachenko said after beating Rigondeaux last December.

Now, Lomachenko(10-1, 8 KOs) is moving on up to 135 as he battles World Boxing Association (WBA) and Ring Magazine lightweight champion Jorge Linares(43-3, 27 KOs) on May 12 at Madison Square Garden in New York City.

While Lomachenko likes to win, he does not like when fighters quit.

“It’s not good for me. It’s not good for boxing. Boxing, it’s a war,” Lomachenko said on Tuesday at his media workout. “It’s a very, very brutal sport, and if you come in the ring, then you need to be willing to die in the ring. If you can’t die, you’re out.”

Beating Linares will be a tall order for Lomachenko. Linares has not lost since 2012.

Can Loma force Linares to quit? We’ll see if the speed, quickness, and skill of Loma will make Linares quit on May 12.

Linares vs. Lomachenko will be televised live and exclusively at 8:00 p.m. ET on ESPN and ESPN Deportes, and undercard bouts will stream live on ESPN+, available through the ESPN App,  beginning at 4:30 p.m. ET.

Photo: Mikey Williams/Top Rank