Vasyl Lomachenko v Anthony Crolla Preview6 min read
Anthony Crolla faces one of the toughest challenges in boxing when he faces pound for pound king Vasyl Lomachenko this weekend.
The Mancunian is a huge underdog with odds of 20/1 for him to win the fight in Los Angeles. No-one is giving him a chance against the outstanding Ukraine boxer but can he pull off an extraordinary upset to win the WBA and WBO lightweight world titles?
Crolla’s career has seen him overcome adversity, inside and outside the ring, going on to achieve his dream of becoming a world champion. He survived a vicious attack by burglars in 2014 when he suffered a fractured skull.
The English boxer made an astonishing recovery from the injury and went on to win the WBA lightweight title the following year with a fifth-round victory over Darleys Perez in front of his jubilant fans in Manchester.
It was the crowning moment of his career and underlined his courage and determination, less than 12 months after his life-threatening injury.
‘Million Dollar’ Crolla lost the world title after defeat by unanimous decision against Jorge Linares in 2016 and was also beaten on points after the rematch against the Venezuelan boxer.
His last three fights, against Ricky Burns, Edson Ramirez and Daud Yordan, have seen Crolla win by unanimous decision but the 32-year-old faces a completely different proposition against Lomachenko this weekend.
Viewed as one of the best fighters in the world, across all weight divisions, Lomachenko has made a rapid rise through the professional ranks after a stellar amateur career which saw him win two Olympic gold medals.
His only defeat came in his second fight as a pro, when he ambitiously attempted to win a world title, after losing a split decision to Orlando Salido in 2014.
In just his third fight, Lomachenko won the WBO featherweight title with a majority decision against Gary Russell Jr.
He became the fastest boxer to win a world title in two weight divisions after a knockout victory over Roman Martinez in 2016. It was Lomachenko’s seventh pro fight as he won the WBO super featherweight belt.
The 31-year-old stopped Linares in the tenth round of their fight in New York last year to win the WBA super world lightweight title. Again, he became the quickest boxer to win a third world title in three different divisions in his 12th bout.
Lomachenko’s most recent contest was a unanimous decision against Jose Pedraza in December as he added the WBO lightweight title to his WBA belt.
The favourite is 1/200 to win which emphasises the sheer size of the task facing Crolla at the Staples Center.
It is hard to make a case for Crolla, with their respective results against Linares underlining the disparity between them, and it is all about trying to work out the method of victory for southpaw Lomachenko.
He knocked down Pedraza twice in the 11th round although he was unable to put him away. Prior to this, he had stopped his last eight opponents inside the distance.
Crolla has lost six times during his career but only one came by stoppage against Derry Matthews in 2012. He is a totally different fighter now although this looks to be a step too far for him against a world class opponent.
It is just 1/6 for the fight not to go the distance with Lomachenko is heavily fancied to stop Crolla.
Trainer Joe Gallagher and Crolla have prepared meticulously for the toughest challenge of his career and he can take Lomachenko into the closing rounds even if he is well behind on the cards.
Backing the fight to go over 9.5 rounds is a tempting option at 7/4 which will still be a winning bet if Lomachenko secures a late stoppage or a wide decision on points in LA.
Tip: Total rounds over 9.5 at