Vasiliy Lomachenko wasn’t messing around Friday night.
Decked out in purple and gold trunks for his title bout in Staples Center, the No. 1 pound-for-pound boxer in the world did something the Lakers couldn't in their building: live up to expectations.
In a dominant and briefly breathtaking performance, the heavily favored Lomachenko knocked out Anthony Crolla with a right hook to the head 58 seconds into the fourth round of their lightweight championship fight. The 31-year-old Lomachenko successfully defended his WBA and WBO titles, making quick work of the bigger Crolla who was overmatched and outclassed.
In just his second bout since shoulder surgery last year, Lomachenko (13-1, 10 KOs) was ruthless, punishing Crolla with precise head shots—at times he was toying with him. Crolla (34-7-3, 13 KOs), who came all the way from the UK to suffer two knockdowns as Lomachenko’s mandatory opponent for the WBA title, took significant punishment in the second round and it only intensified from there.
The fight got a little crazy in the third round when referee Jack Reiss gave Lomachenko a knockdown because Crolla was getting pummeled with incredible combinations against the ropes near his corner. Lomachenko jumped on the ropes as if he won via TKO.
"I thought the referee stopped the fight," Lomachenko said. "That's why I did the celebration."
It was premature and order had to be restored in the ring, but Crolla wouldn't be standing upright much longer.
Where Lomachenko turns next remains to be seen. Although a showdown with lightweight Richard Commey makes sense since Commey was supposed to be Lomachenko's opponent on this night before an injury derailed that showdown, Lomachenko's promoter at Top Rank Bob Arum said after the fight that a showdown with Luke Campbell out of the UK is realistic. That's if a match his fighter really wants can't be made.
Just as he told Complex Sports earlier in the week, Lomachenko reiterated in the ring that he wants to fight fellow top 10 pound-for-pounder Mikey Garcia next.
"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."
In the undercard between light heavyweights, Tommy Karpency couldn’t answer the bell for the fourth round and Gilberto Ramirez remained undefeated in a one-sided affair. Ramirez (40-0, 26 KOs) was clearly the bigger fighter—ESPN+ reported he weighed 196 pounds for the fight after weighing in at 174.6 pounds Friday—and delivered way more damage through three rounds. Karpency (29-8-1, 18 KOs), face bleeding by the second round, cited a body shot as the reason why the fight didn’t come close to going the full 10 rounds.