Crolla, the former WBA lightweight champion, was game but never threatened Lomachenko. After tough battles against Jorge Linares and Jose Pedraza in 2018, he had an easier night at the office to begin his 2019 campaign.
Lomachenko (13-1, 10 KOs) scored a knockdown at the end of the third round when referee Pat Russell ruled the ropes held Crolla up.
In the fourth, Loma came out on the attack, knocking Crolla (34-7-3, 13 KOs) back to the ropes. Then, it happened. A right hook to the top of Crolla’s head put him down and out.
Ramirez makes grand light heavyweight debut
After a career spent at super middleweight, and five successful title defenses, Gilberto “Zurdo” Ramirez (40-0, 26 KOs) made a statement-making light heavyweight debut, stopping former world title challenger Tommy Karpency (29-7-1, 18 KOs) in four rounds.
Karpency elected to stay on his stool after the fourth round, as he suffered a rib injury in the opening round.
As for Ramirez, it remains to be seen whether he stays at light heavyweight or moves back down to defend his title again.
“I feel more comfortable at 175 pounds than 168,” Ramirez said. “I’m looking for all the champions at 175. I want to be a pound-for-pound fighter.
“I struggled making 168 for a very long time. We’ll see what’s next, but my body felt great at 175. My new head trainer, Julian Chua, did an excellent job preparing me for this fight. Karpency was a tough guy.”
Barboza KOs Alvarado in 3
Arnold Barboza Jr., the local product from South El Monte, had the Staples Center crowd on his side. He sent the partisan fans home happy, knocking out former world champion Mike Alvarado (40-5, 28 KOs) in the third round.
Barboza (21-0, 8 KOs) knocked Alvarado down with a right hand. Alvarado stumbled to his feet, but he rose on wobbly legs, forcing the referee to stop the fight.
“That was a good fight, and now I want Jose Ramirez. I want Maurice Hooker,” Barboza said. “That’s what I want in my future. Alvarado is a tough guy, and I stopped him in three rounds. Hopefully, this performance will catapult me to a world title opportunity. To perform like I did in front of my hometown fans, it doesn’t get better than that.”
Said Alvarado: “He caught me with a clean, surprising shot. He just caught me. It’s boxing. Some just sneak in and do the job, you know?”
In other action:
USBA welterweight champion and WBA No 1 contender Alexander Besputin (13-0, 9 KOs) moved closer to a world title shot with a dominant 10-round decision over Alfredo Blanco (20-8, 11 KOs).
He said the contender stage of his career is over.
“He had a very uncomfortable, awkward style, which made it difficult for me to find my rhythm,” Besputin said. “Most importantly, I got the win, and we can move on to bigger fights. I am a top contender now, and I am ready to fight for a world title next. Bob Arum says I can beat the top welterweights, and I know I can.”
Janibek Alimkhanuly (6-0, 2 KOs), a former amateur standout for his native Kazakhstan, passed the toughest test of his career with a 10-round unanimous decision (100-90 2X and 99-91) over Cristian Olivas (16-5, 13 KOs). Alimkhanuly picked up the WBC Continental Americas and WBO Global middleweight belt, as he outworked Olivas to cruise to victory.
It was a short night at the office for Italian heavyweight Guido Vianello (3-0, 3 KOs), who knocked out Lawrence Gabriel (3-2-1, 2 KOs) at 49 seconds of the opening round. Vianello represented his homeland at the 2016 Rio Olympics.
“I believe this was my strongest performance to date, and I’m only going to get better and better,” Vianello said. “My power is improving with every fight.”
Ruben Rodriguez (6-0, 2 KOs) maintained his unbeaten record with a four-round majority decision (38-38, 39-37 and 40-36) over the battle-tested veteran Ramel Snegur (3-4-1, 2 KOs).