Three-division champion Vasiliy Lomachenko will return to Southern California on April 12, fighting England’s Anthony Crolla at Staples Center for the World Boxing Assn. and World Boxing Organization lightweight belts, The Times learned Tuesday.
Lomachenko (12-1, nine knockouts) was supposed to meet newly belted International Boxing Federation lightweight champion Richard Commey in a unification bout, but Commey suffered a hand injury while winning by knockout Feb. 2 in Texas, and that bout is on hold.
In Crolla (34-6-3, 13 KOs), Lomachenko meets a 32-year-old veteran who moved into mandatory contender position in the WBA.
Lomachenko comes back to fight in the Southland for the first time since August 2017, when he defeated Miguel Marriaga at L.A. Live’s Microsoft Theater during a four-fight run of stopping guys on their stools.
Last year, Lomachenko scored a technical knockout of then-WBA champion Jorge Linares and unified the WBO belt at Madison Square Garden’s Theater in December by defeating Jose Pedraza by unanimous decision.
Crolla lost back-to-back decisions to Linares in 2016 and 2017.
“Not many guys can fight with 'Loma' … he picks people apart. He transcends the sport of boxing. His brand is very strong, and we believe by taking him back to L.A. and playing at Staples on the one-year anniversary of ESPN Plus is huge,” Top Rank President Todd duBoef said.
The ESPN Plus-streamed card also will include the light-heavyweight debut of unbeaten WBO super-middleweight champion Gilberto Ramirez.
DuBoef said it appears unlikely Lomachenko will fight World Boxing Council lightweight champion Mikey Garcia, who faces welterweight champion Errol Spence Jr. next month.
A more likely fight for Lomachenko would be Top Rank’s unbeaten prospect Teofimo Lopez, duBoef said.