Vasiliy Lomachenko Stops Anthony Crolla & Gilberto Ramirez Stops Tommy Karpency – Video Highlights
LOS ANGELES — Pound-for-pound king Vasiliy Lomachenko was a massive favorite to retain his unified lightweight world title against mandatory challenger Anthony Crolla, and he did just that in dominating fashion Friday night at Staples Center.
Lomachenko knocked out Crolla face-first with a right hand in the fourth round in the main event of the Top Rank Boxing on ESPN+ card before a crowd of 10,101 on the first anniversary of the streaming service’s launch.
Lomachenko was as dominant as ever as he retained his title for the second time. Crolla, a former titleholder, was completely outclassed
It was a fight that Lomachenko (13-1, 10 KOs) didn’t really want. He took the fight only because it was mandatory.
Lomachenko, the brilliant two-time Olympic gold medalist, had unified two 135-pound belts with a one-sided decision over Jose Pedraza in a December fight in which he dropped Pedraza twice in the 11th round to punctuate the victory. That bout came less than seven months after he had torn the labrum in his right shoulder in his lightweight title victory over Jorge Linares last May. Lomachenko’s shoulder was not 100 percent going into the fight with Pedraza, but it was all good against Crolla.
“My shoulder wasn’t 100 percent in my last fight, but tonight I felt great. I have a great doctor [Neal ElAttrache], and I want to thank him for all he did,” Lomachenko said. “The crowd in Los Angeles was great. I always wanted a Staples Center fight. This lived up to my expectations.”
It was hard not to be impressed by Lomachenko’s performance.
“He’s fantastic, unbelievable. I’ve never seen a fighter of that size be at that level, and I’ve been doing this for over 50 years,” said Top Rank chairman Bob Arum, Lomachenko’s promoter. “It’s almost breathtaking.”
Atlas: Lomachenko ‘No. 1 entertainer in the world’
Teddy Atlas considers Vasiliy Lomachenko not only the No. 1 pound-for-pound fighter in the world, but the No. 1 entertainer in the world as well.
Lomachenko, who has won world titles in three weight classes, had expected to further unify the division by facing fellow belt holder Richard Commey on Friday night. Top Rank had in place a deal for the winner of the vacant world title fight between Commey and Isa Chaniev on Feb. 2 to face Lomachenko next. However, when Commey won the title by drilling Chaniev in the second round, he injured his right hand, putting him on the shelf for several weeks and making him unavailable to face Lomachenko on Friday.
That turn of events dropped the bout in Crolla’s lap, although Lomachenko likely will face Commey, who was cleared to return to training last week, later in the year.
Crolla could not have been more complimentary of Lomachenko.
“My pride is more hurt than my body as I wanted to give it my best, but he’s just phenomenal,” Crolla said. “I knew where I was when the shot hit me on the top of my head, but I just couldn’t get up. I wanted to go out on my shield, but the shot just caught me high and robbed me of my senses.
“He’s very special. He doesn’t waste a shot. He’ll go on to dominate and do whatever he wants to do in the sport. My team put so much effort in with me, but he’s incredible. It’s the first time in my career I’ve gone down like that. For it to end like that and as early as that is heartbreaking, really. He’s even better than I thought. His balance and his feet are incredible, and the angles he picks are just crazily good.”
Lomachenko, a 31-year-old southpaw from Ukraine, began the fight like he always does, methodically stalking his opponent and looking for any opening. He eventually began to find those openings against Crolla, landing his right jab and a few body shots. Crolla (34-7-3, 13 KOs), 32, of England, meanwhile, barely threw any punches and continually backed up against the slicker Lomachenko.
Lomachenko began to let his combinations flow in the second round and slipped in an uppercut that rocked Crolla’s head back in a dominant round.
Lomachenko had a huge third round. He was landing everything from all angles, like it was target practice. Straight left hands and body shots were doing damage. Crolla was in tremendous trouble and eating punches when one shot knocked him hard into the ropes.
Referee Jack Reiss called a knockdown because the ropes were responsible for keeping Crolla on his feet, but Lomachenko, the crowd and some of the California State Athletic Commission officials thought Reiss had waved the fight off. He had not.
Lomachenko had climbed the ring post to celebrate the victory and had to get down and collect himself. The ring was cleared and the fight resumed, but moments later, the bell rang to end the round.
When the fourth round began, Lomachenko, making his 13th appearance in a world title fight in his 14 professional bouts, pointed to Crolla across the ring and asked him if he was OK, and then proceeded to continue taking him apart.
He was landing punches at will and then forced Crolla toward the ropes. Lomachenko threw a left hand and followed with a clean right hook to the side of the head that crumpled Crolla, who went down face-first. Reiss began the count but quickly waved it off at three, giving Lomachenko the dominating victory at 58 seconds.
Crolla said he knows he is near the end of his career but would like a hometown fight in Manchester, England, to possibly say goodbye.
“I don’t want to go out like that. I’ve never said that I want to stay in boxing too long, but I know that I haven’t got long left,” Crolla said. “Hopefully [Matchroom Boxing promoter Eddie Hearn] does something in Manchester later in the year and I can go again.”
Lomachenko’s dominance was illustrated by the CompuBox punch statistics. He landed 72 of 249 shots (29 percent), whereas Crolla landed 12 of 96 (13 percent).
The fight with Commey (28-2, 25 KOs) could take place later this year, but the fight Lomachenko really wants is a unification bout with Mikey Garcia, who holds the fourth belt. Garcia was outclassed by Errol Spence Jr. in a shutout decision as Spence challenged him for a welterweight world title on March 16. Garcia has not decided whether he will return to lightweight to defend his title, stay at welterweight or drop down one division to junior welterweight.
It’s a hard fight to make, with Lomachenko fighting for Top Rank on ESPN and Garcia aligned with Premier Boxing Champions, which has its fights on Showtime and Fox. But Arum insisted after Friday’s fight that he would try to make it.
But Arum also has another plan in mind if it can’t be made, though the plan is unlikely. Arum promotes 21-year-old Teofimo Lopez (12-0, 10 KOs), the 2018 prospect of the year, who has been calling out Lomachenko.
Lopez, who was ringside, fights on the Terence Crawford-Amir Khan undercard on April 20 in New York, and Arum said if Lopez wins, Arum would like to match him against Commey for Commey’s title. And if Garcia decides not to return to lightweight and vacates, Arum would like to have Lomachenko face fellow Olympic gold medalist Luke Campbell (20-2, 16 KOs), of England, who is Garcia’s mandatory challenger, for the potentially vacant title. Arum said if Lomachenko and Lopez win those fights, he would match them for the undisputed title in early 2020.
The best-laid plans rarely work out in boxing, not to mention Lomachenko has his mind on one opponent.
“I want to fight with Mikey Garcia, but we’ll see. I don’t know,” Lomachenko said. “I stay at 135 as long as it’s possible, and I want to unify all [the] titles.
LOS ANGELES — Super middleweight world titlist Gilberto “Zurdo” Ramirez made the move up to the light heavyweight division and turned in a dominating performance Friday night at Staples Center.
Ramirez, who still holds the 168-pound belt he has defended five times, laid a beating on Tommy Karpency before his corner stopped the fight after the fourth round in the co-feature of the Top Rank Boxing on ESPN+ card headlined by the Vasiliy Lomachenko-Anthony Crolla lightweight world championship fight.
“I feel more comfortable at 175 pounds than 168,” Ramirez said. “I’m looking for all the champions at 175. I want to be a pound-for-pound fighter. I struggled making 168 for a very long time.”
Last week Ramirez got engaged to his pregnant girlfriend, Priscilla, and went into the fight with new trainer Julian Chua. Ramirez had cut ties with the Zapari family, who he had been close to since childhood. Hector Zapari had trained him since he was 12 but was fired and replaced by Chua. Jesus Zapari, Hector’s father, had managed him for his entire 10-year career.
Ramirez, who also recently moved from Mazatlan, Mexico, to Los Angeles, said he was not at all distracted by the many changes in his life and career, and it sure looked like he was being truthful.
By the second round, it looked as though Karpency’s nose had been broken, his left eye was black and blue, and he was covering up. But Ramirez penetrated his guard with multiple combinations that knocked him back repeatedly.
Ramirez (40-0, 26 KOs), a 27-year-old southpaw from Mexico, continued the assault in the third round, again blasting two-time world title challenger Karpency (29-7-1, 18 KOs), 33, of Adah, Pennsylvania, with his right hand. One punch sent him into one of the corner posts.
Ramirez continued to pound him in the fourth round and when it was over Karpency’s corner said he had had enough, and referee Ray Corona stopped the fight. Karpency said he suffered a rib injury and was unable to continue.
“He hit me with a great shot to the body in the first 30 seconds, and it impacted me the rest of the fight,” Karpency said. “He’s no better, no worse, than the other champions I’ve fought at 175 pounds.”
Now Ramirez has a decision to make: stay at light heavyweight or return to super middleweight to defend his title.
“We’ll see what’s next, but my body felt great at 175,” Ramirez said. “My new head trainer, Julian Chua, did an excellent job preparing me for this fight. Karpency was a tough guy.”
Ramirez has left open the possibility of returning to super middleweight, where he could meet Callum Smith in a title unification fight this summer in Smith’s home country of England. Ramirez’s promoter, Bob Arum of Top Rank, and Matchroom Boxing promoter Eddie Hearn, who promotes Smith but is also in Los Angeles as Anthony Crolla’s promoter, talked about the possibility of a deal this week.
But Ramirez could also have major fights at light heavyweight, where Top Rank promotes world champion Oleksandr Gvozdyk, world titlist Artur Beterbiev and is the co-promoter for world titlist Sergey Kovalev and former titleholder Eleider “Storm” Alvarez.
For comparison’s sake, Gvozdyk stopped Karpency in the sixth round before he won the world title, but Karpency knocked him down in the first round. Ramirez defeated him far more easily.
Barboza destroys Alvarado
Junior welterweight Arnold Barboza Jr. easily knocked out long-faded world titleholder Mike Alvarado in the third round of an utterly one-sided fight.
Barboza took it right to Alvarado, who hadn’t won a significant fight since his 2013 rematch with Brandon Rios, from the opening bell. He landed multiple combinations in the first round and then snapped Alvarado’s head straight back with a right uppercut in the second round.
Barboza kept throwing, and landing, punches against an Alvarado, who had little left but the heart he showed through so many brutal fights during his prime. In the third round, Barboza (21-0, 8 KOs), 27, of South El Monte, California, rocked Alvarado with an uppercut and a left hand and kept landing punches. He eventually connected with a clean right hand on the chin and Alvarado went down.
Alvarado (40-5, 28 KOs), 38, of Denver, barely got to the his feet but stumbled forward and referee Thomas Taylor waved it off at 49 seconds.
Top Rank chairman Bob Arum said this week that the winner of the fight could land a shot against junior welterweight world titleholder Jose Ramirez, who is also with Top Rank, later this year. A title shot is exactly what Barboza wants.
“That was a good fight, and now I want Jose Ramirez. I want [titleholder] Maurice Hooker,” Barboza said. “That’s what I want in my future. Alvarado is a tough guy, and I stopped him in three rounds. Hopefully, this performance will catapult me to a world title opportunity. To perform like I did in front of my hometown fans, it doesn’t get better than that.”
Alvarado probably is at the end of the line but was noncommittal about his ring future.
“He caught me with a clean, surprising shot. He just caught me. It’s boxing,” Alvarado said. “Some just sneak in and do the job, you know? My legs didn’t cooperate. Hey, you know, I got back up. That’s what I’m thankful for. I’m healthy. I’m safe.”
More undercard results
- Middleweight Janibek Alimkhanuly (6-0, 2 KOs), 26, of Kazakhstan, cruised to a one-sided decision over Cristian Olivas (16-5, 13 KOs), 27, of San Ysidro, California. Alimkhanuly, a 2016 Olympian and 2013 world amateur champion, won 100-90 on two scorecards and 99-91 on the third. Alimkhanuly, who is trained by Buddy McGirt, the former world champion who will be inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in June, had no trouble whatsoever as he pounded Olivas to the body and head though he never appeared close to getting a knockout.”I hurt my right shoulder in the fight, but I got valuable experience,” Alimkhanuly said. “It’s exactly what I needed.”
- Heavyweight Guido Vianello (2-0, 2 KOs), 24, a 2016 Olympian from Italy, blew away Lawrence Gabriel (3-2-1, 2 KOs), 32, of Syracuse, New York, in just 49 seconds. The 6-foot-6, 245-pound Vianello badly hurt the 6-4, 208-pound Lawrence with a right hand and then pounded him to the ground with a series of follow-up punches. He beat the count but was in no shape to continue, and referee Thomas Taylor waved off the fight.”I believe this was my strongest performance to date, and I’m only going to get better and better,” said Vianello, who is trained by Abel Sanchez. “My power is improving with every fight.”
- Russian welterweight up-and-comer Alexander Besputin (13-0, 9 KOs), 27, who fights out of Oxnard, California, notched a one-sided rout of Alfredo Blanco (20-8, 11 KOs), 29, of Argentina. Besputin won 100-90 on two scorecards and 99-91 on the third. Blanco was very awkward and while Besputin didn’t look impressive against a very slow journeyman opponent he won handily. Besputin suffered a cut on his forehead as a result of an accidental head but in the ninth round.
“He had a very uncomfortable, awkward style, which made it difficult for me to find my rhythm,” Besputin said. “Most importantly, I got the win, and we can move on to bigger fights. I am a top contender now, and I am ready to fight for a world title next. Bob Arum says I can beat the top welterweights, and I know I can.”
Arum has said he views Besputin as an eventual challenger for world titlist Terence Crawford.
- Welterweight Ruben Rodriguez (6-0, 2 KOs), 22, of Indio, California, won a spirited majority decision over Ramel Snegur (3-4-1, 2 KOs), 23, of Portland, Oregon. Two judges gave it to Rodriguez 40-36 and 39-37 and one had the fight 38-38. Rodriguez seemed to control most of the fight and rocked Snegur with a left hook late in second round.