Vasyl Lomachenko defends his WBA and WBO lightweight titles against former WBA champion and current mandatory challenger Anthony Crolla on Friday, April 12, 2019, at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California.
In the undercard, WBO super middleweight champion Gilberto “Zurdo” Ramirez will make his light heavyweight debut against former 175-pound title challenger Tommy Karpency in a 10-round bout.
Vasyl Lomachenko vs Anthony Crolla
Lomachenko is the current best pound for pound fighter in the planet. He is regarded as the best amateur fighter ever with a record of 396-1 with his lone loss avenged twice. Loma won back to back gold medals in both the World Championships and the Olympic Games. He won his first world title in only his third professional fight. Lomachenko is 12-1 with 9 knockouts. The Ukrainian superstar 31 years old with a height of 5-7 and a reach of 65 inches. In his last bout, Loma annexed the WBA lightweight title by defeating Jose Pedraza via unanimous decision
Vasyl Lomachenko vs Anthony Crolla Odds
Odds from bet365 as of 3/14/19
Crolla is the former WBA champion who won the belt with a 5th round knockout of Darleys Perez. Crolla lost the title to Jorge Linares in his second title defense and lost to Linares again in an immediate rematch. Since then, he’s picked up three straight victories to earn a crack at his old belt and Lomachenko. Crolla is 5-8 ½ with a reach of 67 inches while fighting at the orthodox stance. His professional boxing record stands at 34-6-3 with 13 knockouts. In his last bout, Crolla recorded a UD win over Daud Yordan.
Loma is the total package as a boxer. He has a very high fight IQ, elite athleticism, excellent footwork and is one of the best in the game in fighting from a distance. But make no mistake, Loma also packs good power in his punches. Defensively, he moves his head very well and slips punches so well which leads to perfectly timed counters. Lomachenko is like a surgeon inside the ring. He dissects his opponent first before surgically tearing them apart. So far, he hasn’t shown any weaknesses inside the boxing ring, thus making it hard to prepare and box against him.
While Crolla has won a world title, he isn’t elite when it comes to skills. He isn’t lengthy and doesn’t pack enough punching power to be considered a hard hitter. But what he lacks in skill and talent, he makes up for in heart and determination. More than anything else, it was Crolla’s desire and heart that made him a world title. Unfortunately, those intangibles aren’t going to be enough to beat a supreme fighter like Lomachenko. Remember that Crolla lost twice and convincingly to Jorge Linares and Lomachenko picked Linares apart rather easily although Linares scored a knockdown against Loma.
I don’t see Crolla giving Lomachenko any trouble except perhaps that if Loma wants to put him away, it won’t be easy and the Ukrainian could end up getting frustrated. I see Lomachenko engaging here because Crolla doesn’t have the power. It won’t be a brawl because the cerebral fighter in Loma is going to display his full arsenal as usual. Crolla should put up a gallant effort but Loma isn’t losing this one.
I’m picking Vasyl Lomachenko to beat Anthony Crolla by stoppage.
Gilberto Ramirez vs Tommy Karpency
The 29-year old Ramirez is unbeaten in 39 bouts with 25 knockouts. The Mexican southpaw stands 6-2 tall and has a reach of 75 inches. He is the first ever Mexican to win a major boxing world title in the light heavyweight division. Zurdo won the belt by defeating Arthur Abraham in 2016. He’s since made five successful title defenses. In his last bout last December 2018, Ramirez scored a majority decision win over Jesse Hart to keep his belt.
Gilberto Ramirez vs Tommy Karpency Odds
Odds not yet available
The 33-year old Karpency has a record of 29-6-1 with 18 knockouts. The Pennsylvania, USA native is 5-11 tall with a reach of 73 inches and fights as a southpaw as well. Karpency has challenged for a world title thrice, losing on all occasions. In 2014, Karpency recorded his biggest career win with a split decision victory over former champion Chad Dawson. Since losing to current WBC light heavyweight king Oleksandr Gvozdyk in 2016, Karpency has won three straight bouts, all by TKO.
This fight is supposed to be a test bout for the 27-year old Mexican to see how well he fits in the 175-pound division before making a permanent leap in weight class. Ramirez was rumored to be vacating his WBO belt to move up to light heavyweight permanently. But upon hearing that the April 13 bout between BIllie Joe Saunders and Shefat Isufi would be for his 168-pound belt, Ramirez informed the WBO that he wasn’t vacating his title and was merely moving up in weight to take fight.
Ramirez is arguably the best boxer at super middleweight and a rising star in the sport. As a southpaw, Ramirez has a very powerful left hand and he is a terrific body puncher who can be relentless with his punches at times. He wears his opponents down with his body shots and he uses his length well to establish his jab and control the pace of his fights. He’s a fighter who can box his way and win rounds or he can be that puncher who tears his opponents apart with his big left hand.
Karpency has a tendency to just stand square and let his opponent push him back instead of throwing the right lead. If he does that here, Zurdo is going to take advantage and put the American on the ropes where he can land his combinations and body shots. I see Karpency trying to trade early but once he feels Zurdo’s power, he will be back to his bad habits. Ramirez has the power to hurt Karpency and I think that after weakening his midsection for a couple of round, Ramirez is going to put Karpency away with a monster left hand in the middle rounds. I’m thinking six but given Karpency’s durability, it could go to eight rounds. Regardless, Ramirez should pick up a knockout win here.
I’m picking Gilberto Ramirez to beat Tommy Karpency by knockout.
Upcoming Fight Predictions and Picks
March 15 – Tevin Farmer vs Jono Carroll
March 16 – Errol Spence vs Mikey Garcia
March 17 – Michael Conlan vs Ruben Garcia Hernandez
March 23 – Charlie Edwards vs Angel Moreno
March 24 – Lamont Peterson vs Sergey Lipinets
March 30 – Liam Smith vs Sam Eggington
March 30 – Oleksandr Gvozdyk vs Doudou Ngumbu