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ANTHONY CROLLA is preparing for “a date with destiny” against WBA and WBO lightweight world champion Vasyl Lomachenko.
Lomachenko is one of the finest fighters pound for pound in the world today but Crolla, a former world champion, is the number one contender for his WBA title and is training for a possible showdown with the great Ukrainian in April.
“Hopefully, that’s the plan,” his trainer Joe Gallagher told Boxing News. “The purse bid was supposed to be a week last Monday, then they moved to the Wednesday, now I’m hearing they’re going to be put back another week. [New IBF lightweight champion Richard] Commey injured his hand. What a great performance by Richard Commey, a very good fighter. A good performance and his hand’s injured. I don’t see any reason now why that [Lomachenko-Crolla] fight can’t go ahead to purse bids. I know Eddie Hearn’s very confident of winning that in a purse bid situation. I think Eddie Hearn [Crolla’s promoter] winning it would give Lomachenko a huge payday. I’m sure Bob Arum will be wanting to keep Lomachenko on his platform over there with Top Rank and the platform that they use [ESPN]. What we don’t want to do is for Lomachenko to give up the belt because someone else has won the purse bid. An offer’s been made by Top Rank, we don’t feel it’s quite enough. Negotiations are ongoing. Anthony Crolla’s in training.
“I think the money that Lomachenko would get for fighting Anthony Crolla on DAZN would be better than anything he would have got up to now. Also as well, I don’t think Lomachenko wants to vacate a belt, he wants all the belts and win them all like Usyk has. It’s a tricky situation but I’m sure there can be a deal to be done somewhere along the line that all parties agree with.”
Lomachenko was ringside at the Manchester Arena when Oleksandr Usyk beat Tony Bellew. The Ukrainian might be interested in returning to the UK to box himself but Crolla himself is clearly prepared to travel to America for the title fight. “He was here when Usyk fought Bellew, he’s seen the crowd, the atmosphere, that will be a full house and I think it’ll be sold out,” Gallagher said. “The support would come out and that would be a great atmosphere. Fingers crossed now and that would be Anthony’s date with destiny.
“There was a date pencilled in for April 12, I think it was for Lomachenko vs Commey so I’m sure they’ve got that reserved on hold still.”
Crolla would of course be a significant underdog going into that fight. “Anthony’s training very hard. We’re studying Lomachenko and we’re looking for faults and little things that we can try and capitalise. He’s got a huge challenge ahead of him but Anthony Crolla has always had a huge challenge on him,” his trainer said. “So it’s nothing different for him. His mindset is always the same.
“For Anthony Crolla it’s a huge opportunity for him. He’s worked hard since he lost to [Jorge] Linares. He’s beat Ricky Burns, he’s beat Daud Yordan in a final eliminator and he’s got himself in the mandatory position.”
“I know Lomachenko’s in camp, Anthony Crolla’s in camp, we’re looking forward to that fight most probably in April,” he continued. “What a great away day if it ends up being that way.”