With the constant talk over who is boxing's best pound-for-pound fighter today, Vasiliy Lomachenko made his case as the No. 1 guy on that list with a dominant performance in Los Angeles.
It took Lomachenko less than 10 minutes to knock out former champion Anthony Crolla to retain his WBA and WBO lightweight titles. The fight headlined a Top Rank on ESPN+ card from the Staples Center.
Lomachenko quickly went to work, dissecting Crolla with precise punching and constant footwork around the ring. Lomachenko would continue pressuring Crolla throughout the fight, landing the right hook hard at times during a never-ending flurry of combinations. The unified champion started hurting Crolla in the final minute of the round, landing a number of shots that broke through Crolla's defense.
Things seemed to be over in the third round when Lomachenko landed a combination of punches to Crolla and referee Jack Reiss stepped in to stop the action. At first, Lomachenko thought he had won the fight by stoppage, going to the opposite corner and standing atop the second rope to celebrate. As it turned out, Reiss ruled that Crolla would have been knocked down, but was saved by the ropes and thus it was ruled a knockdown. That didn't stop Lomachenko from continuing his dominance over Crolla. Lomachenko emphatically ended the fight with a thudding right hand to the side of Crolla's head, knocking him out 58 seconds into the fourth round.
This was Lomachenko's first fight as the unified champion after defeating then-WBO champion Jose Pedraza last December. Lomachenko has won all three of his fights since moving up to lightweight last year with two of those wins were by knockout.
Lomachenko's current focus is to become the undisputed lightweight champion and that means having to fight the IBF and WBC titleholders to accomplish that goal. After the fight, Lomachenko called out WBC champion Miley Garcia to a fight, but even he admitted that he's not sure if that fight can be made. Lomachenko was supposed to face IBF champion Richard Commey instead of Crolla, but Commey was recently recovering from a hand injury which prevented the title unification from happening in April.
With Commey recently being cleared to continue fighting and Lomachenko fulfilling his role by fighting his mandatory challenger, everything seems to be in place for a three-belt unification involving Lomachenko before the end of 2019.