LOS ANGELES — Unified lightweight world champion Vasiliy Lomachenko and former titlist and mandatory challenger Anthony Crolla both made weight with seeming ease on Thursday.
They will square off in the main event of the Top Rank Boxing on ESPN+ card on Friday (ESPN+, 11 p.m. ET main card, 8 p.m. ET for preliminaries) at the Staples Center.
Three-division world champion Lomachenko, who will be making his second lightweight title defense, weighed 134.4 pounds, and Crolla was 134.8 pounds, both inside the 135-pound division limit.
They officially weighed in late Thursday morning at the fight hotel near Los Angeles International Airport, as did every boxer on the card, before later heading to an outdoor area next to Staples Center for a ceremonial weigh-in in the afternoon.
The official weigh-in was originally going to take place inside Staples Center shortly before the ceremonial weigh-in in the main arena, but promoter Top Rank, at the request of Staples Center officials, moved the weigh-in to accommodate the memorial service for slain rapper and community activist Nipsey Hussle.
Lomachenko would have preferred to face Richard Commey in a title unification fight, as had been planned, but when Commey suffered a hand injury when he won a vacant title on Feb. 2, Crolla got the fight.
Lomachenko (12-1, 9 KOs), a 31-year-old southpaw and two-time Olympic gold medalist from Ukraine, has admitted he was disappointed in the change because he so badly wants to continue unifying the division.
“I want to [unify] all titles. That’s why I prepare very hard and very seriously for all of my opponents,” he said after the ceremonial weigh-in. “He’s mandatory. That’s why I prepare very serious.”
Lomachenko tore the labrum in his right shoulder when he won a lightweight belt last May against Jorge Linares. The injury required surgery and he wasn’t necessarily 100 percent healthy when he unified belts by decision over Jose Pedraza on Dec. 8.
But Lomachenko said on Thursday that his shoulder is fine.
“Now I am healthy, 100 percent, so (Friday) I will try to show all my skill and my try to show my best style,” he said.
England’s Crolla (34-6-3, 13 KOs), 32, is bidding for what would be a massive upset and certainly one of the biggest in British boxing history.
“I’ve got to try and make my size (advantage) count — height, reach. I’ve got a much longer reach but winning this fight is going to be much more than being the bigger guy,” Crolla said. “I’ve got to be smart in there. I’ve got to use my size well. I’m the best prepared I’ve ever been in my life so the timing is perfect for me.
“Would Loma rather have another opponent for a super fight? Yeah, he probably would. But do I believe he’s underestimating me? I’m not so sure. He’s got a very professional team around him but if he has I’m prepared the best I possibly can and fight night I’ll be giving it everything I possibly can to pull off this upset, and I really believe I can do it.”
Super middleweight world titlist Gilberto “Zurdo” Ramirez (39-0, 25 KOs), a 27-year-old southpaw from Mexico, who is moving up in weight to compete at light heavyweight on Friday, weighed 174.6 pounds and former two-time world title challenger Tommy Karpency (29-6-1, 18 KOs), 33, of Adah, Pennsylvania, was also 174.6 pounds for the 10-round 175-pound fight.
Also, former junior welterweight titlist Mike Alvarado (40-4, 28 KOs), 38, of Denver, was 139.6 pounds and Arnold Barboza Jr. (20-0, 7 KOs), 27, of Los Angeles, was on the division limit of 140 pounds for their 10-rounder. Top Rank chairman Bob Arum said this week that the winner of the fight could land a shot against junior welterweight world titleholder Jose Ramirez, who is also with Top Rank.
Russian welterweight up-and-comer Alexander Besputin (12-0, 9 KOs), 27, who fights out of Oxnard, California, was 147 pounds and Alfredo Blanco (20-7, 11 KOs), 29, of Argentina, was 146.4 for their 10-round fight.
The California State Athletic Commission also released the official contract purses on Thursday. Lomachenko’s purse is $1.2 million, but his guarantee is closer to about $3.2 million, according to a source with knowledge of the agreement. Crolla’s purse is $300,000. Ramirez is due $250,000, Karpency $100,000, Barboza $50,000, Alvarado $30,000, Besputin $25,000 and Blanco $10,000.