Top Rank on ESPN to Bring Vasiliy Lomachenko vs. Anthony Crolla Lightweight World Title Bout April 12 Exclusively on ESPN+

One of the biggest boxing events of the year will stream live and exclusively on ESPN+ on April 12 at 11 p.m. ET from the STAPLES Center in Los Angeles. The reigning WBA/WBO lightweight – and widely regarded pound-for-pound –champion, Vasiliy Lomachenko (12-1, 9 KOs), is set to defend his unified lightweight world title against mandatory challenger Anthony Crolla (34-6-3, 13 KOs). The undercard bouts will also stream live on ESPN+ beginning at 8 p.m. ET. All the evening’s fights will be available in Spanish on ESPN+.

Friday’s Top Rank on ESPN card coincides with the one-year anniversary of the launch of ESPN+ – the leading direct-to-consumer sports streaming service.

Calling the action for ESPN will be Joe Tessitore (play-by-play), former two-division world titleholder Tim Bradley (analyst) and former pound-for-pound two-division world titleholder and 2004 Olympic gold medalist Andre Ward (analyst). The on-location desk team will feature analysis from Mark Kriegel and Max Kellerman, and the ESPN+ Spanish coverage includes play-by-play from Jorge Eduardo Sánchez and former boxing champion Juan Manuel Márquez as analyst.”

ESPN’s official coverage of fight week kicked off Sunday, April 7, with Countdown to Lomachenko vs. Crolla, where viewers follow rival boxers Vasiliy Lomachenko and Anthony Crolla as they prepare for a must-see world title fight on April 12. See inside the training camp of pound-for-pound superstar Lomachenko as he trains at his home base in Oxnard, Calif., while former world champion Crolla trains to return the WBA title he once held to its rightful owner. will have the fight covered throughout the week with a feature on Anthony Crolla from Nick Parkinson, a unique look at how the world’s best boxing trainers would prepare their fighters to face Vasiliy Lomachenko from Steve Kim and a complete guide to the fight from Dan Rafael. Rafael and Kim will be at the fight offering their unique insight as the action goes down.

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Hall of Fame promoter Frank Warren has issued a statement on making a potential unification clash between WBO lightweight world champion Terry Flanagan (30-0, 12 KOs) and WBA lightweight king Anthony Crolla (31-4-3, 13 KOs). “In simple terms, no barriers, no excuses, let’s get it done! The ball is now firmly in Team Crolla’s court. Flanagan is ready and I’m ready and our door is open,” stated Warren.

Quite simply, Flanagan v Crolla has to happen. when has there even been an opportunity to see two world champions from the same city, in fact the same school, attempt to unify their World titles?

Far too often, politics get in the way of making great events, now so more than ever before. During my 35 year career, I have co-promoted countless of events with major promoters in the UK and around the world, including Matchroom so I see no reason why this cannot happen again.

It seems the one stumbling block being flagged up by Matchroom Sport was the issue of the respective fighters rival broadcast platforms, Sky Sports, who televise Anthony Crolla’s fights and BoxNation, who televise Terry Flanagan. To get over this, as Terry’s exclusive Promoter, I am prepared to agree, subject to contract and the commercial terms offered by Sky, that Sky Sports Box Office, can have the exclusive UK broadcast rights to the event to make it happen.

This should ensure that the Sky Sports/BoxNation argument cannot be used as a smokescreen to prevent this fight from happening. I will not make counter offers to secure the event for BoxNation providing Sky Sports Box Office do not offer unreasonable terms.

I will agree to this if the following terms are accurately reflected in a contract:

    The Event is staged by Queensberry Promotions Ltd and Matchroom Sport Ltd, on an equal 50:50 basis. All decisions regarding the event, including pricing and costs, must be mutually agreed.
    The Event takes place in 2016 at the Manchester Arena.
    Manchester Arena’s official ticketing partner, Eventim, receive the sole and exclusive ticketing rights for the event. No secondary ticket agents are permitted to be a sponsor, associate or partner of the event, such as StubHub and the like.
    Each co-promoter is responsible for paying the purse of their respective boxers (i.e. Terry Flanagan to be paid by Queensberry Promotions and Anthony Crolla to be paid by Matchroom Sports) with an undercard to be mutually agreed.

This is an opportunity for both Terry and Anthony to earn career high purses, along with delivering a huge British unification clash for the fans. There is no reason why we cannot move forward on what are fair and reasonable terms for all involved and get this fight on, that is of course if they want it to.

Contrary to the opinion of a few people with their own agenda, no other fight for either fighter can deliver them the type of pay day and profile that is possible from this event. It has all the ingredients to be a special night and an historic one for Manchester. Two World Champions from the same City, same school and arguably the number 1 and 2 in the lightweight division putting it all on the line for local bragging rights. Add on top of that that one is a City fan and the other United. What more could you ask for?

Boxing fans have called for Promoters to put aside rivalries, egos and personal agendas and collaborate to deliver the best possible fights for the public. Here is the perfect opportunity to do this and I’m playing my part.

I am making this statement public to show boxing fans how serious I am about making this event happen. Neither the fighters, nor the public deserve to miss out on what will be a memorable night for British boxing.

In simple terms, no barriers, no excuses, let’s get it done! The ball is now firmly in Team Crolla’s court. Flanagan is ready and I’m ready and our door is open.



Anthony Crolla believes a big performance on Saturday night can lead him to a World title shot when he defends his WBO Inter-Continental Lightweight title against Gamaliel Diaz at the Phones 4u Arena in Manchester, live on Sky Sports.

‘Million Dollar’ has seen off Brit foes Gavin Rees, Stephen Foster Jnr and John Murray in his last three fights and now faces the former WBC Super Featherweight champion Diaz in an acid test of his World crown credentials.

Omar Figueroa successfully defended his WBC crown on the undercard of Kell Brook’s magnificent World title win in California and on Saturday night, Miguel Vazquez defends his IBF title against Mickey Bay on the undercard of the Floyd Mayweather-Marcos Maidana rematch in Las Vegas. Terence Crawford defends his WBO crown against Raymundo Beltran and Crolla has already been strongly linked with a clash against WBA champ Richar Abril – and the 27 year old is keeping a close eye on developments as he looks for a huge fight at the end of the year.

“I’m due a massive fight and if you look at the WBO ratings there’s a good chance I good get a final eliminator to fight for the WBO belt later in the year,” said Crolla. “All those fighters are superb operators but I wouldn’t hesitate in getting in there with them and I would be confident of becoming Britain’s newest World champion alongside Kell and Paul Smith in a couple of weeks. There’s always going to be politics in boxing but I have to keep performing and keep winning.

“I have to make sure I come through Saturday night against Diaz and I am sure if I do so in style then Eddie Hearn will be able to deliver something big for me. Anyone who knows boxing knows that Diaz is a quality operator and they know this is not an easy fight.

“There’s been a lot of talk on social media about a third fight with Derry Mathews but that doesn’t do anything for me at this stage. I’m ranked at number four in the WBO and if I get the win on Saturday I am looking in a really strong position to land a World title shot. The fight with Derry is always going to sell. We’ve had two great fights and I would take a third fight and it will always be a great fight, but at the minute, despite what Derry might say or think, I don’t need Derry now, it’s the biggest fight out there for him but it’s not for me.”

Crolla’s clash with Diaz is part of a great night of action in Manchester as ‘Million Dollar’ provides the chief support to Scott Quigg’s WBA World Super Bantamweight title defence against Stephane Jamoye.

Olympic gold medal hero Anthony Joshua MBE will be hunting an eighth KO win when he takes on Kazakh-born German Heavyweight Konstantin Airich. Scotty Cardle challenges Kirk Goodings for the English Lightweight title with the fight also an eliminator for the British belt, the first of two exciting eliminator contests for the coveted Lord Lonsdale strap as Welterweights Sam Eggington and Denton Vassell clash while local favourites Liam Hanrahan, Sam Hyde, Hosea Burton, Jimmy Kelly and debutant Marcus Morrison and Derbyshire’s Jack Massey are all in action.—81956




By Shaun Brown /

Only in boxing.

Two friends punch lumps out of one another for half an hour, putting aside their friendship for local bragging rights and to take another step on the ladder to fighting for world honours. And when Anthony Crolla 28-4-1 (11 KOs) had finally halted the unrelenting and valiant challenge of John Murray 33-3 (20 KOs) after 10 rounds in front of a fervent Manchester crowd last Saturday night, the two British lightweights shook hands and continued their friendship after the dust had settled.

With Crolla in a “Zombie like state” for a few days after a lack of sleep due to aches and pains, he then received a call from the friend that gave them to him.

“It was really nice of him (Murray) to phone,” Crolla told BoxingScene.

“We said we’ll meet up in the next week or two and grab some food or something. We just talked about the fight and we had a good chat. It was really nice to go over it. We both enjoyed the night, the occasion, the build-up and everything that came with it. It was a great thing for Manchester boxing and for us both to be involved in. We were mates before it and after a great fight like that we’re still mates I have even more respect for him now.”

With his body now healed, Crolla told me he is ready to go again. After three of his last four bouts having been against top ten British lightweights, the 27-year-old is now looking for a world title shot in the coming months and hopes that a win in his next fight, at the very least, will earn him a spot to contest one.

“The domestic scene is fantastic and there’s some great fights there but I feel like I’ve paid my dues. I’ve not got a problem fighting those fighters but the ultimate goal is a world title. If it’s not my next fight then I’d like to get in a position to fight for one.

“It’s not for me to say I’m above that level but I feel as though I’ve earned my shot. I’ve earned my stripes. I’ve been in good domestic fights and not ducked anyone. Now hopefully [my promoter] Eddie [Hearn] and the team behind me are gonna do their very best to get me a world title shot at some point. I’d like some sort of meaningful fight. I’m not saying Saturday wasn’t one, I don’t mean it like that, but I want a big fight for me. I believe I’ve earned my shot and I don’t believe anyone can say differently.”

Crolla knows that whichever world champion he could possibly face at 135lbs, it will be anything but straightforward. In Terence Crawford (WBO), Miguel Vazquez (IBF), Richar Abril (WBA) and Omar Figueroa (WBC) there are various challenges of craft, guile, awkwardness and grit. Crolla doesn’t mind who it is in the other corner.

“If any of those fights were offered I’d snap their hands off and take it,” he said.

“You can’t look at those world champions and say ‘That route’s better, that route’s easier’. I honestly believe it’s one of the toughest divisions. I know it is domestically but on the world stage when you look those fighters, if you asked the opinion of boxing people who the best lightweight is they’d be split. I honestly couldn’t say which one was harder or easier. It’d be a pleasure to share a ring with any of them.”

And what about Ricky Burns? The Scot who was comfortably out-pointed when losing his WBO belt to Crawford last month had been consistently linked with Crolla during his reign as a world champion. I asked the Mancunian if the fight still interests him.

“I’ve got great respect for Ricky. We’ve been due to fight a few times and it’s not happened. Ricky’s a great fighter and I want to test myself against the best and I see a fight with Ricky as that being what I would be doing. If the fight happens, it happens. If not, so be it. I don’t want to be chasing that fight and be the way Junior Witter was to Ricky Hatton. It’d be a pleasure to fight him. Ricky’s going his route and I’m going my route and if our paths cross, and there’s a good chance they will then the fight will happen. At the minute it won’t be happening.”

There were doubts about Crolla when he moved up to 135lbs from 130lbs a few years ago. Would he be strong enough? Is he not just a Super featherweight? Will he have the power? With wins over former world champion, Gavin Rees and former world title challenger, John Murray, those questions have been comprehensively answered. His confidence is growing. His performances are improving and credit is down to him and his trainer Joe Gallagher. So why does Gallagher come in for so much flak these days, especially on social networks?

“There’s some brilliant boxing fans out there, 99% of them are but you get the small minority. Whatever they want to say about Joe is their opinion and they’re entitled to it but what you can’t deny is that he’s doing brilliant things in a big way.

“I think if you get a parody account made about you then you’re doing something right (laughs). Those people that have done that have done Joe a favour. It’s given him more and more publicity. It does make me laugh. I’ve saw people on social networks say: ‘I’ve got nowt against Crolla but I want him to get knocked out because I can’t stand Gallagher’. We’re a team, what do you want me to say?: ‘Yeah, great don’t worry about it. You want me to get knocked out?’ If you’re wishing Joe’s fighters to get knocked out to get at Joe then you’re wishing it to us personally as well.”

Like the rest of the close-knit Gallagher’s gym, Crolla shrugs off the stick that his trainer gets. He knows he has the right man in his corner and is continually seeing improvements in all aspects of his boxing with much more to come.

“I believe I’m improving all the time. I’ve got a lot more improving to do which is a good thing. I’ve grown as a fighter and the last few performances have been getting better. And with each fight I want to raise my performance which is something that I believe that I’m more than capable of doing.”–77198

article-2608786-1D357EBC00000578-460_634x388Tough: Anthony Crolla stopped good friend John Murray in the 10th round of the battle of Manchester

Photos/Getty Images

Article by:  Mike Dawes –

Anthony Crolla won the battle of Manchester by sensationally stopping John Murray in the 10th round.

The 27-year-old successfully defended his WBO inter-continental title in the process, a result that propels his world title hopes.

In a contest to be fought at lightning speed, Crolla just managed to come out on top against his good friend and former gym-mate.

article-2608786-1D358B3200000578-494_634x424Worry: Murray put ‘the fear of God’ into Crolla, according to the eventual winner in a gruelling battle

article-2608786-1D3586A500000578-241_634x469Done: Crolla successfully defended his WBO inter-continental title with the stoppage win on Saturday night

Murray started very quickly and had Crolla on the ropes in the third round, but the favourite grew into it – coming well out on top from the eighth onwards.

‘It was even tougher than I expected,’ Crolla told Sky Sports. ‘No matter how tough that looked, me and John were the luckiest men in this arena.

‘I prepared for this fight like no other, John put the fear of god into me. I remember how tough those sparring sessions were and I knew I had to keep a cool head in a hot kitchen.’

Murray did concede that Crolla had the better of it.

‘I gave it my all, I was the best I’ve been in training and he’s beaten me at my best,’ he said. ‘I want to take my hat off to Anthony because he was bang on.

‘I don’t want to make any excuses, as the rounds went on maybe I began to feel the inactivity but full respect to Anthony, I had a full camp and felt great.’

Could’ve been different: Murray started at lightning speed and landed a number of punches on his opponent

Big win: Crolla’s world title hopes have been propelled as he beat his former gym-mate at the Phones 4u arena


Anthony Crolla will defend his WBO Inter-Continental Lightweight title against fellow Manchester fighter Stephen Foster Jr. on the undercard of Carl Froch’s WBA and IBF World Super Middleweight title defence at the sold-out Phones 4u Arena Manchester on Saturday November 23, live on Sky Sports Box Office.

Crolla claimed the title with a career-best performance against Gavin Rees in Bolton in June, and makes his first defence against former WBU and European Super Featherweight champion Foster, who’s last title fight came in the same Arena when he challenged Gary Buckland for the British Super Featherweight title on the undercard of Ricky Hatton’s comeback a year ago.

Foster was set to face former interim WBO Lightweight champion Michael Katsidis in Australia on the same bill as St. Helens’ Middleweight star Martin Murray but now grabs the chance to move up to Lightweight on his home patch. ‘Million Dollar’ Crolla was due to fight Martin Gethin for the British title and the 27 year old is determined to capitalise on his recent resurgence with a strong performance against Foster leading to big fights in 2014.

“If I keep winning then it will happen because Eddie can deliver big fights,” said Crolla. “At the minute I’m not on (WBO champion) Ricky Burns’ radar, he’s looking at fighting Ray Beltran again or maybe Terence Crawford, and I’ve got unfinished business with Gethin that can hopefully be resolved around the same time. I’ve got to work my way up to that, but if I do I don’t see why I cannot challenge Ricky or we could go down another route, that’s all up to Eddie, I’m just going to keep concentrating on winning.

“It’s nice to be the Inter-Continental champion; it gives you a World ranking and puts you in the shop window for some big fights, so I have to defend the title well. In the Lightweight division there are domestic fights that can almost serve as World title eliminators or propel you up the World rankings.”

Foster added: “It’s a great opportunity to fight on a massive bill in my hometown. I’m always in the gym and in great shape and I was preparing for December 11 in Australia, so there are no issues there, I’m ready.

“I’m up for any fight and this one promises to be a cracker. Anthony is a very good fighter and a local derby always gets the blood going so I can’t wait to get in there. He’s been in some tough fights recently with Gavin Rees and Derry Mathews that might have taken something out of him, so I think I can get up there at Lightweight and show that I’ve got the power to gate crash his party.”

Scott Quigg defends his WBA Super Bantamweight title against Diego Silva, Quigg’s gym-mate and resurgent Lightweight star Anthony Crolla will defend his WBO Inter-Continental Lightweight title following the withdrawal of British champion Martin Gethin on a busy night for trainer Joe Gallagher, who also has unbeaten Lightweight talent Scotty Cardle on the bill, but Super Middleweight sensation Callum Smith has been forced to pull out of the show through injury.

Former IBF World Bantamweight champion Jamie McDonnell and former British Featherweight and Super Featherweight champion Stephen Smith will both fight in eight round bouts on the stacked bill.

There’s also a late spot on the bill for Murray, who is back in action after his controversial loss to Sergio Martinez in his second World title challenge in April. The 31 year old will now face Sergey Khomitsky in Manchester after his December fight in Australia fell through.

Rocky Fielding defends his Commonwealth Super Middleweight title and Olympic Gold medal heroes Anthony Joshua MBE and Luke Campbell MBE are both in action in their fourth pro contests, as Heavyweight star Joshua takes his first significant step in the paid ranks against Hector Avila, who took Dereck Chisora nine rounds in April, while unbeaten Super Flyweight Kal Yafai continues his comeback from injury.–71818