WBO Unified Bout: Lomachenko and Crolla faced off for the first time in LA

WBO/WBA lightweight champion Vasiliy Lomachenko came to Los Angeles to defend his titles. Anthony Crolla hopes to shock the world.

Lomachenko and Crolla faced off for the first time Wednesday at the final press conference two days before their STAPLES Center showdown, which will stream on ESPN+ starting at 11 p.m. EST/8 p.m. PST. In the co-feature, WBO super middleweight champion Gilberto “Zurdo” Ramirez will make his light heavyweight debut against Tommy Karpency in a 10-rounder.

And, in the featured bout on the undercard stream (ESPN+, 8 p.m. EST/5 p.m. PST), former 140-pound world champion Mike Alvarado will take on the unbeaten Arnold Barboza Jr. in a 10-rounder.

This is what the fighters and Top Rank chairman Bob Arum had to say.

Vasiliy Lomachenko

“I saw his fights with Linares. Anthony Crolla has a very defensive style. I have my strategy, and I plan on showing it Friday night. I will find the key to his defense. I have to be aggressive and throw a lot of punches. I want to win and I don’t like to lose. That is my motivation. I always think about the fans and putting on a show in the ring.”

“I need two more belts to become undisputed champion. In my next fight, maybe I will unify with Richard Commey. Everyone asks me about Mikey Garcia, but can he make 135? If he vacates his belt, we will see what happens. If he can cut the weight, I’m ready.”

Bob Arum

“I think this is going to be a very good and interesting fight, but I have to say that any Loma fight is worth watching. It’s the equivalent of watching Picasso do a painting. What a great thrill that would be. It’s a great thrill for people who love boxing to watch this guy fight. It’s something that’s unique. It’s something that we won’t see again for many years. All fans should come out and watch this because this is an artist at work.”

Anthony Crolla

“We always knew the April 12 date was penciled in with the Top Rank team for {IBF lightweight champion} Richard Commey to fight Vasiliy. We also knew it was a very quick turnaround from the Commey-Isa Chaniev fight {on Feb. 2}. I was watching it, and people think I had only seven weeks’ notice, but {trainer} Joe {Gallagher} always stresses the importance of staying in the gym, staying ready. A lot of people think to have only seven weeks to prepare for a guy like Lomachenko isn’t long, but we had a full 12-week camp just in case this popped up. And, lo and behold, after Commey stopped Chaniev, we saw an interview after the fight and his hand was wrapped up. And we thought, ‘Oh, there’s a chance of this happening. I’m thankful for the opportunity, like {Matchroom Boxing promoter Eddie Hearn} said. And I prepared the best I possibly can. I’m in, without a doubt, the best shape of my life physically and mentally. That’s what it should be in a fight like this.”

“I’ve been loving it over here. I’ve trained here lots of times in the Wild Card and boxed in Las Vegas, but never in LA, so it’s brilliant to be fighting here.”

“This would be the pinnacle of my career and then some. I think we’ll see a bit of everything on the night. I know I am prepared to leave everything in the ring. I’ve got fans, family, friends and gym mates coming to LA to cheer for me and that just spurs me on even more.”

ESPN+, 11 p.m. EST/8 p.m. PST

Vasiliy Lomachenko (champion) vs. Anthony Crolla (challenger), 12 rounds, Lomachenko’s WBO/WBA lightweight world titles

Gilberto Ramirez vs. Tommy Karpency, 10 rounds, light heavyweight

ESPN+, 8 p.m. EST/5 p.m. PST

Mike Alvarado vs. Arnold Barboza Jr., 10 rounds, Barboza’s NABF jr. super lightweight title

Alexander Besputin vs. Alfredo Blanco, 10 rounds, Besputin’s USBA welterweight title

Janibek Alimkhanuly vs. Cristian Olivas, 10 rounds, vacant WBO Global and WBC Continental Americas middleweight titles

Promoted by Top Rank, in association with Matchroom Boxing USA, tickets priced at $310.50, $207, $103.50, $77.65, $51.75 and $25.90 (including facility fees) are available now and can be purchased by visiting AXS.com.

For more information visit: www.toprank.com, www.espn.com/boxing; Facebook:facebook.com/trboxing; Twitter: twitter.com/trboxing.

Use the hashtag #LomaCrolla to join the conversation on social media

(Photo Credit: Mikey Williams/Top Rank)