Vasiliy Lomachenko to make title defense April 12 in Los Angeles vs. Ant Crolla

Combat columnist
Yahoo Sports
WBA-WBO lightweight champion Vasiliy Lomachenko will defend his titles on April 12 against Ant Crolla at Staples Center in Los Angeles in a bout streamed live on ESPN+. (Getty Images)
WBA-WBO lightweight champion Vasiliy Lomachenko will defend his titles on April 12 against Ant Crolla at Staples Center in Los Angeles in a bout streamed live on ESPN+. (Getty Images)

The men who are widely regarded as the best two pound-for-pound fighters in boxing will compete in back-to-back weeks. On Tuesday, Top Rank president Todd duBoef told Yahoo Sports that WBA-WBO lightweight champion Vasiliy Lomachenko will make his mandatory defense against Ant Crolla on April 12 at Staples Center in Los Angeles.

The bout will be streamed live on ESPN+, the streaming service’s first anniversary.

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Eight days later, on April 20, WBO welterweight champion Terence Crawford will defend his belt on pay-per-view against Amir “King” Khan in the main event of a card at Madison Square Garden.

Lomachenko’s fight with Crolla is essentially about getting his mandatory out of the way, as Crolla isn’t expected to provide much of a challenge. Crolla is 34-6-3 with just 13 KOs and is just 3-2 in his last five.

He doesn’t appear to have either the speed, power or athletic ability of Lomachenko, the Ukrainian who has vaulted to the top of so many pound-for-pound lists.

There was some discussion about putting 21-year-old wunderkind Teofimo Lopez in against Lomachenko on April 12. But Lomachenko and his father/trainer, Anatoly, prefer Lopez to have a title before they met. Lopez will fight an opponent to be named on April 20 underneath Crawford-Khan.

If he is successful, he’ll likely face IBF champion Richard Commey later in the summer, with a goal of a fight with Lomachenko late in the year.

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