Current unified lightweight champion (WBO and WBA) Vasyl Lomachenko returned to the ring on Friday night to take on the #1 ranked mandatory challenger Anthony Crolla. Lomachenko entered the ring on an eleven-fight winning streak and is generally considered to be the best pound for pound boxer in the world.
The challenger Crolla was obviously the major underdog in the match with some setting the odds as high as 100-1 for him to win. Despite the challenge, Crolla said he was up for the task stating his opponent was different but not unbeatable.
The two fighters came out in purple and gold robes in homage to the Los Angeles Lakers, the home team of the Staples Center where the fight took place.
The first two rounds saw Lomachenko set the pace with his footwork, stalking Crolla around the ring and throwing punches. While there wasn’t full power behind his attempts, he did land a few and seemed to be testing Crolla’s guard.
Things changed in the last minute of the second round when Lomachenko went to work, landing a quick combo followed by a powerful body shot to end the round.
Lomachenko increased his attack in the third round and threw a variety of punches early, landing some solidly and causing Crolla to go on constant defense. The current champ continued the pressure and had Crolla trapped near the corner and landed non-stop blows until the referee intervened.
Vasyl climbed the ropes thinking he had won the fight but the referee started a count on Crolla. Members of the California commission had to come in and advise Lomachenko the fight was not over despite the fact that Crolla was unable to move from the onslaught Lomachenko was delivering.
The referee ruled that it was a technical knockdown rather than a knockout as Crolla was propped on the ropes and didn’t fall to the canvas. The bell rang shortly after to end the round.
Lomachenko would eventually score the knockout blow at 0:58 of the fourth round. He woudl lead with a left jab and followed it with a powerful right hook from short distance. Crolla fell forward to the ground on his face, with the referee ruling it a knockout and attending to the fallen fighter.
The blow was so powerful that it took several minutes for Crolla to finally get up from the stool he was helped to and walk around the win.
During the post-fight interview in the ring, Lomachenko thanked his daughter and fans. When asked who he would like to fight next, he stated he would like to remain at lightweight and fight Mikey Garcia to continue unifying titles. Garcia is the current IBF lightweight champ.
Lomachenko improves his record to 13-1 with 9 KOs while Crolla drops to 34-7-3.