Anthony Crolla will be facing the toughest opponent of his career in unified lightweight champion Vasyl Lomachenko, this Saturday night at Los Angeles’ Staples Center.

The Ukrainian southpaw is a two-time Olympic gold medallist and has made a largely seamless transition into professional boxing, having already established himself as a three-weight World champion and a pound-for-pound superstar in just thirteen fights.

Lomachenko enjoyed a hugely successful 2018, moving up to 135lbs to dethrone Jorge Linares in the tenth round of a fight-of-the-year contender, before unifying titles against Puerto Rican switch-hitter Jose Pedraza.

However, Lomachenko’s plans to add Richard Commey’s IBF belt to his collection were scuppered by injury, which provided mandatory challenger Crolla with an opportunity to test himself against one of the best fighters in the world.

Crolla himself is a former champion at the weight, having defeated Darlys Perez in November 2015 following the contentious outcome of their first fight earlier that year – a draw – before sensationally dispatching of Colombia’s then-undefeated dangerous challenger Ismael Barroso in seven rounds.

However, he was soundly defeated twice afterwards by Jorge Linares, and comes into this fight against Lomachenko – someone who has routinely befuddled World champions with exquisite footwork and creative combinations – as a prohibitive underdog.

Crolla will be aiming to capitalise on his size and strength advantages to somehow spring a surprise, but expect his physical advantages to be negated early in the face of Lomachenko’s characteristically sharp start, as he forces his British counterpart on the defensive before ultimately stopping the Mancunian, probably around the midway point.

Former WBO World super middleweight champion Gilberto Ramirez also makes his light heavyweight debut against former World title challenger Tommy Karpency, while undefeated hopeful Arnold Barboza Jr faces seasoned veteran Mike Alvarado at super lightweight.

Article by: Navi Singh

Follow Navi on Twitter at: @DarkMan________