Anthony Crolla: ‘I want to shock the world’

Anthony Crolla says he wants to produce one of the ‘biggest upsets of all time’ when he challenges pound-for-pound superstar Vasyl Lomachenko for his WBA and WBO Lightweight World titles at the Staples Center in Los Angeles on April 12.

‘Million Dollar’ won the WBA crown with a fifth-round knockout of Columbia’s Darleys Perez on a hugely emotional evening at the Manchester Arena in November 2015 but surrendered his title to Venezuela’s Jorge Linares in 2016.

Despite the former champion winning his last three fights against Daud Yordan, Edson Ramirez, and Ricky Burns, Crolla accepts he is a huge underdog heading into the biggest fight of his career with Ukraine’s Lomachenko, but the Manchester hero is confident he can shock the World by dethroning ‘Hi-Tech.’

“I want to shock the world and beating him would be one of the biggest upsets of all time,” said Crolla. “He’s a unique fighter, and I’ve had to change up sparring to spar with different guys to cover everything he can throw at me. We’ve used top-class sparring partners like Jazza Dickens and Frankie Gavin, who was probably the best amateur this country has ever produced.

“There is less pressure on me, but I have my own expectations and want to give a great account of myself and cause one of the biggest upsets ever by a British fighter. But Lomachenko is mentally very tough; he makes fighters quit, I know that. I know I will have to put up with being frustrated by him.

“Go back through history and see how many fighters have had the movement he’s got. This is the fight I wanted, though. I wanted a big one, and I’ve got myself into mandatory position to face him. The money is great, but it’s about the challenge. I’ve got myself into this place, so I want to make the most of it.

“Training has gone really well. It’s been brutal at times, but you expect it to be. I’ve really been put through it in this camp. My life has just been gyms and motorways. But I’m fighting one of the best fighters on the planet, and I will be best prepared I can possibly be. I’m not going over there just for a holiday.”

Watch Lomachenko vs. Crolla in Los Angeles from 3 am this Saturday on Sky Sports Main Event and Sky Sports Action.

Photo: Matchroom Boxing
Advertisements

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.”

Tank Davis: ‘Loma is not as good as everybody thinks'(VIDEO)

Vasyl Lomachenko is considered by many as one of the best, if not the best pound-for-pound fighter in the sport of boxing, and recently, Lomachenko won a unification fight against Jose Pedraza. Now, in only 13 contests, Lomachenko(12-1, 9 KOs) is a three-division world champion and a unified champion at 135.

While many think Loma is special, WBA junior lightweight champion Gervonta “Tank” Davis is not impressed. In 2017, Davis stopped Pedraza in seven rounds, while Lomachenko went the distance with Pedraza, and according to Davis, Loma is not all that special.

“Listen, Pedraza lost to me and went up to 135 and beat a champ (Ray Beltran),” Davis said. “It showed that Pedraza can fight, and it showed that Loma is not as good as everybody thinks. He got 12(13)fights and he on the pound-for-pound(list); come on.”

Loma is special, but Tank Davis is a quality fighter as well. The eyes show you that Lomachenko is a great fighter, and the eyes show you that Davis is not too far behind. However, just like a lot of things in boxing, this is a fight we will probably have to wait on.

Listen below:

Photos from Lomachenko’s victory over Pedraza

WBA lightweight champion Vasiliy Lomachenko wanted to unify lightweight world titles. After 12 rounds, he got his wish, although WBO champion Jose Pedraza sure didn’t make it easy and halted Lomachenko‘s eight-bout knockout streak in the process.

Lomachenko (12-1 9 KOs,) defeated Pedraza (25-2, 12 KOs) via unanimous decision in front of a sold-out crowd of 5,312 at the Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden to unify world titles for the first time in his illustrious career.

Scores were 119-107 and 117-109 2X.

“It was my dream to unify titles,” Lomachenko said. “It was my next goal. I can now focus on my next chapter.

“He’s a veteran. He did a very good job, and I respect Pedraza and his team.”

Said Pedraza: “I am happy with my performance tonight. I went 12 rounds with the best fighter in the world. I knew what we were going up against. I thought it was a close fight until the knockdowns. At the end of the day, I am proud of what I did.”

It was tactical fight, as Pedraza’s long arms kept Lomachenko at bay for much of the night. In the 11th round, Lomachenko, turned up the heat, scoring a pair of body shot knockdowns as Pedraza barely survived the round.

For Lomachenko, it’s on to the next challenge.

Photos/courtesy of Top Rank/Mikey Williams:

JOSE_PEDRAZA_cornerLoma_entranceLoma_handwrapsLoma_lockerLoma_locker2Loma_locker3Loma_Team_CornerLoma_TripleHLomachenko_cornerLomachenko_hopPedraza_handwrapsPedraza_lockerPedraza_locker2Team_Loma_victoryVASILIY_LOMACHENKO_&_BOB_ARUMVASILIY_LOMACHENKO_victoryVASILIY_LOMACHENKO_vs_JOSE_PEDRAZA_action1VASILIY_LOMACHENKO_vs_JOSE_PEDRAZA_action2VASILIY_LOMACHENKO_vs_JOSE_PEDRAZA_action3VASILIY_LOMACHENKO_vs_JOSE_PEDRAZA_action4VASILIY_LOMACHENKO_vs_JOSE_PEDRAZA_action5VASILIY_LOMACHENKO_vs_JOSE_PEDRAZA_action6VASILIY_LOMACHENKO_vs_JOSE_PEDRAZA_action7VASILIY_LOMACHENKO_vs_JOSE_PEDRAZA_action8VASILIY_LOMACHENKO_vs_JOSE_PEDRAZA_action9VASILIY_LOMACHENKO_vs_JOSE_PEDRAZA_action10VASILIY_LOMACHENKO_vs_JOSE_PEDRAZA_knockdown1VASILIY_LOMACHENKO_vs_JOSE_PEDRAZA_knockdown2VASILIY_LOMACHENKO_vs_JOSE_PEDRAZA_sportsmanship

Loma on Pacquiao: ‘I think his career is done’

Manny Pacquiao returns to the ring on January 19 against Adrien Broner at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. For the 39-year-old Pacquiao, who recently signed with Al Haymon, it’s an opportunity to beat a very good fighter with name recognition. Also, it could be an opportunity to get a rumored rematch with Floyd Mayweather or a fight with other big name fighters who are signed to Haymon and PBC.

WBA lightweight world champion Vasiliy Lomachenko, who has a unification fight against WBO lightweight world champion Jose Pedraza at the Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden on Saturday, and who many thought would eventually fight Pacquiao at some point, believes Pacquiao’s best years are behind him and would have no desire to fight the Philippine legend.

“I’m not disrespecting Pacquiao, but I don’t want to make my name bigger because I beat an old legend,” Lomachenko said at a press conference today. “I have my own road. There are a lot of good fighters to fight who are comparable to me. He’s old. I think his career is done. I don’t want to become a legend in boxing because of him.”

In reality, now that Pacquiao is with Haymon, a fight Lomachenko would probably be difficult to make. Therefore, it probably won’t happen.

Pacquiao’s best years are behind him, but he still is a formidable opponent for anybody as we saw back in July when he stopped Lucas Matthysse, so I don’t think he’s done just yet. In fact, Pacquiao probably beats Broner in January.

Photo: Esther Lin/SHOWTIME

Jose Pedraza: ‘Lomachenko Has Never Faced a Fighter Like Me’

The ‘Sniper’ guarantees there will be a surprise on Dec. 8 at the Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden in New York City. WBO lightweight champion Jose ‘Sniper’ Pedraza (25-1, 12 KOs) trained in front of the media of ‘The Island of Enchantment’ before departing for Las Vegas, where he will conclude training camp for his upcoming title unification bout against WBA champion Vasiliy Lomachenko (11-1, 9 KOs).

This is what Pedraza, a two-weight world champion, had to say during his media workout in Puerto Rico.

About his fight against Lomachenko

“Technically speaking, he has never faced a fighter like me.”

About fighting in New York

“I’m very excited for this fight and even more because the fight will be in New York where I will have the support of all the Puerto Ricans.”

On what fans can expect of him on December 8

“The fans can expect an even more focused and intelligent Jose Pedraza in the ring. On that night, I will show all my skills.”

Promoted by Top Rank, in association with Madison Square Garden, tickets for Lomachenko-Pedraza are on sale now. Priced at $506, $356, $206, $106, and $56, tickets can be purchased at the Madison Square Garden Box Office, all Ticketmaster outlets, Ticketmaster charge by phone (866-858-0008), and online at ticketmaster.com and MSG.com.

Lomachenko-Pedraza will headline a special edition of Top Rank on ESPN at 9 p.m. ET, which will follow the 84th Annual Heisman Memorial Trophy Presentation.

Loma: ‘After Pedraza, we can talk about fighting Mikey(Garcia)’

WBA lightweight world champion Vasiliy Lomachenko was at home at the Boxing Laboratory as he prepared for his next challenge. Lomachenko (11-1, 9 KOs), who has won world titles in three weight classes in just 12 pro fights, will seek to unify titles for the first time as a pro when he takes on WBO champion Jose Pedraza (25-1, 12 KOs), Dec. 8 at the Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden (ESPN and ESPN Deportes, 9 p.m. ET).
Lomachenko worked out for the media Tuesday, showing off his assortment of training tricks. This is what the pound-for-pound great had to say.

On the Pedraza fight

“I had a long rest {following shoulder surgery}. I am looking forward to seeing how I feel and taking on a tough opponent like Pedraza. I haven’t had much time to watch his fights.”

On potentially unifying the titles

“I can’t wait. After this fight, a lot of doors will be open. Title unification fights are good for the sport of boxing.”

On future opponents

“I love challenges. That’s what motivates me. I want all the top fighters. I’m open to anyone.”

On the Jorge Linares fight

“It was the first time I was knocked down as a pro. After the knockdown, I came back and finished the fight. It was a tough fight, but I showed the heart of a champion.”

On whether he’ll remain at lightweight

“I believe I’ll stay at 135 and focus on 135 because when I fought against Linares, I felt like he was bigger than me. So I’ll stay at 135 because I think 135 is not my {ideal} weight category right now. After one or two years, it will be my {ideal} weight.”

On a Mikey Garcia fight

“I hope {it will happen}. We can see in the future because my next fight is against Pedraza. After Pedraza, we can talk about fighting Mikey.”

Promoted by Top Rank, in association with Madison Square Garden, tickets for Lomachenko-Pedraza are on sale now. Priced at $506, $356, $206, $106, and $56, tickets can be purchased at the Madison Square Garden Box Office, all Ticketmaster outlets, Ticketmaster charge by phone (866-858-0008), and online at ticketmaster.com and MSG.com.

Lomachenko-Pedraza will headline a special edition of Top Rank on ESPN at 9 p.m. ET, which will follow the 84th Annual Heisman Memorial Trophy Presentation.

Photo: Mikey Williams/Top Rank

Loma: ‘My goal has always been to unify the titles, and Pedraza is standing in my way’

Vasiliy Lomachenko is ready to take another bite out of the Big Apple. Lomachenko, the pound-for-pound superstar and WBA lightweight world champion, will look to unify world titles for the first time as a professional when he clashes with WBO champion Jose “Sniper” Pedraza on Saturday, Dec. 8 at 9 p.m. ET, live on ESPN and ESPN Deportes at the Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden. This marks Lomachenko’s fourth main event appearance at a Madison Square Garden venue.

Lomachenko-Pedraza will headline a special edition of Top Rank on ESPN, which will follow the 84th Annual Heisman Memorial Trophy Presentation.
Promoted by Top Rank, ticket and undercard information for this world championship event will be announced soon.

“Boxing fans are excited that Vasiliy Lomachenko will be back in action on Dec. 8,” said Top Rank CEO Bob Arum. “He knows that in WBO champion Jose Pedraza, he faces a tough opponent with a style that may give him a lot of trouble.”

“I am ready to fight an excellent opponent like Jose Pedraza,” Lomachenko said. “My goal has always been to unify the titles, and Pedraza is standing in my way. There is something special about fighting in New York City and at Madison Square Garden. The fans in New York City are true boxing fans, and I can’t wait to put on another spectacular performance for them.”

“I am grateful to have this opportunity, since I didn’t get the chance to unify titles when I was champion in the junior lightweight division,” Pedraza said. “In this division, I will achieve my goal, and I will do it against one of the best boxers in the world. There will be a surprise on Dec. 8!”

“We are thrilled to bring fans one of the year’s marquee boxing events to ESPN,” said ESPN’s Burke Magnus, executive vice president, programming and scheduling. “Currently ranked as the top pound-for-pound fighter in the sport, Lomachenko is who fans want to watch. His historic victory last year on this night was a tremendous success, and we look forward to showcasing the world’s best once again.”

Lomachenko (11-1, 9 KOs) is widely considered to be the greatest amateur boxer in history, as he posted a 396-1 record with Olympic gold medals for his native Ukraine in 2008 and 2012. In the pro ranks, he has continued to etch his name in the history books. Lomachenko tied a boxing record by winning a world title in his third pro bout on June 21, 2014, a clear points win against Gary Russell Jr. to claim the vacant WBO featherweight title. He made three defenses of that title before moving up to 130 pounds. In his debut at 130 pounds, Lomachenko knocked out Roman Martinez with an uppercut-hook combination to win the WBO junior lightweight world title. Following the Martinez bout, Lomachenko began an unprecedented streak of four consecutive opponents – Nicholas Walters, Jason Sosa, Miguel Marriaga, and Guillermo Rigondeaux – retiring on their stools. The Rigondeaux bout, which took place last December at the Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden, was the first time in boxing history that a pair of two-time Olympic gold medalists fought as professionals. After six rounds, Rigondeaux quit on his stool.

With nothing left to prove at 130 pounds, Lomachenko moved up to lightweight and challenged WBA champion Jorge Linares. On May 12 at Madison Square Garden, Lomachenko suffered a labral tear of his right shoulder in the second round and was knocked down with a right hand in the sixth, only to come back and stop Linares with a left hand to the body in the 10th round. The Linares victory signified another milestone for Lomachenko. In becoming a three-weight world champion in 12 professional fights, he broke the previous record set by Jeff Fenech (20 fights) in 1988. Lomachenko has knocked out eight consecutive opponents dating back to his fourth professional bout in 2014.

Pedraza (25-1, 12 KOs), from Cidra, Puerto Rico, has climbed back to the top of the sport following a January 2017 TKO loss to Gervonta Davis that saw him relinquish his IBF junior lightweight world title. He returned 14 months later as a lightweight on March 17, shutting out Jose Luis Rodriguez over eight rounds at the Hulu Theater at Madison Garden. After a hard-fought 10-round unanimous decision against Antonio Moran on June 9, Pedraza traveled to Glendale, Ariz., on Aug. 25 to face WBO lightweight world champion Ray Beltran. He scored an 11th-round knockdown to seal the unanimous decision victory, becoming only the second male Puerto Rican fighter to win world titles at 130 and 135 pounds.

Beltran: ‘Hopefully, we have another big fight coming up against Lomachenko’

Ray Beltran scratched and clawed and spent nearly 19 years as a pro boxer before earning his first world title. He outpointed Paulus Moses on Feb. 16 in Reno, Nevada, to win the vacant WBO lightweight title, a lifelong dream finally fulfilled. A native of Los Mochis, Mexico, Beltran is now a proud resident of Phoenix, a short drive from where he will make his first title defense.

Beltran (35-7-1, 21 KOs) will defend his title against former 130-pound world champion Jose “Sniper” Pedraza as the headliner of an ESPN-televised card, Aug. 25 at the Gila River Area in Glendale, Arizona.

Beltran returned home Saturday for a full slate of media activities, including an open workout at Gent’s Boxing Club in Glendale and as a guest broadcaster for the second inning of the Arizona Diamondbacks Alumni Game.

This is what he had to say.

On his future: Hopefully, we have another big fight coming up against {Vasiliy} Lomachenko. I’m pretty happy when I fight the best. I’ve had no easy fights in my boxing career. We made our own way. We made our own name. We got a contract with Top Rank after 20-something fights. Nobody created our record. I have a lot of knockouts, but I have more power than it looks like on {my record}. All the losses that I have, four or five were robberies. I’m ready. Right now, I’m focused on Pedraza, but we dream big.”

On fighting for Phoenix and Mexico: “I feel like my heart is in half. I feel like a Phoenix fighter, but I’m also a Mexican fighter from my hometown. I can’t believe what I’ve come from. I come from nothing. I come from a place where nobody is supposed to make it. I think it’s important that the people where I came from know about it, so they get the message — whatever you want to do in life, if you work hard, you can make a change.”

On his opponent: “Pedraza is a former world champion. I believe he’s going to bring some heat. He’s going to come and fight hard to take the belt away from me. He bobs and moves around the ring a lot. He’s got good footwork, but we’ve been working at Wild Card with all different types of styles.”

PHOTO: Chas Wright

Loma would fight Gervonta Davis, but at 135

The last time we saw WBA lightweight champion Vasyl Lomachenko, he stopped Jorge Linares to capture a title in his third weight class back in May.

Now, the 30-year-old Lomachenko is expected to be out of commission until the end of 2018 due to surgery on his right shoulder to repair a torn labrum.

When he returns, one guy that many would like to see Loma fight is WBA junior lightweight champion Gervonta Davis, but according to Loma, if the fight were to happen, it would have to be at 135.

If he goes to my next weight category(135), in my next weight category, shoot, why not? I’m ready,” Loma told TMZ Sports.

Davis is content to stay at 130, and wants to unify the division, so a Loma-Tank fight will probably not be happening anytime soon.

Photo: Top Rank