WHO in their right mind would volunteer as a potential Vasyl Lomachenko opponent?

Anthony Crolla, apparently.

The popular Mancunian faces Daud Yordan this Saturday night (November 10) in his home city and believes, should he secure the 34th victory of his career, there’s every possibility he’ll be lining up to fight Lomachenko, the WBA lightweight champion, in 2019.

Not only that, it’s an opportunity Crolla, 33-6-3 (13), actually wants.

“I’d never be disrespectful and call Vasyl Lomachenko out, but if he ever wants to fight in England…” he said. “If I win on November 10 then there’s a good chance that fight happens.

“I’d love to get in the ring with him. He’s a fantastic fighter and one of the best fighters on the planet. It’s something that I’d look forward to, of course.”

Crolla is no stranger to fighting talented lightweights. He spent 24 rounds in the company of the technically gifted Jorge Linares and has also shared the ring with the likes of Darleys Perez, Ismael Barroso and Ricky Burns.

None of those mentioned, however, will prepare him for Lomachenko, perhaps the most talented boxer on the planet, next year. He knows it, too, yet still Crolla wants to give it a go.

Anthony Crolla

Crolla’s stablemate Callum Smith, meanwhile, is also on the hunt for big names and career-defining fights.

The new WBA super-middleweight champion, recently seen stopping George Groves in seven rounds in Saudi Arabia, wants to return home to Anfield to make his first defence of the belt and has a shortlist of possible opponents, all of whom carry appeal.

“We’re after the big guns – [Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez], Andre Ward is the preferred one, we’d love to get him out of retirement,” Smith’s trainer Joe Gallagher said this afternoon in Manchester.

“Gennady Golovkin is another one. Badou Jack, Adonis Stevenson…”

Eddie Hearn, Smith’s promoter, revealed contact had been made with Golovkin’s team for a potential fight, while Ward, out of action since he retired last year, has often hinted about making a return to the ring.

“I want to test myself against the best to see how good I really am,” Smith said. “I believe the future is bright. There are big names in my division or around my division.

“I have unfinished business at super-middle before I move to 175lbs.”

The plan, it would seem, is for Callum Smith, 25-0 (18), to do for Liverpool Football Club and Anfield what Tony Bellew did for Everton Football Club and Goodison Park back in 2016.

However, while Bellew won the WBC world cruiserweight title with a stunning third-round knockout of Ilunga Makabu at Goodison, it appears Smith, a Liverpool fan, is setting his sights even higher.

Callum Smith

Speaking of Tony Bellew, an old rival of the ‘Bomber’ has come out and compared the former cruiserweight champion’s punch power to that of heavyweights Wladimir Klitschko and Deontay Wilder. It stacks up favourably, too.

David Haye, a man who twice shared the ring with Bellew before announcing his retirement this summer, has told talkSPORT the Liverpudlian famed for his fight-ending left-hook punches harder than any cruiserweight he has ever faced and that this power could be key when Bellew tries to dethrone Oleksandr Usyk on Saturday (November 10) in Manchester.

“I can tell you first-hand that he punches way harder than a cruiserweight,” said Haye, a former WBA, WBC and WBO world cruiserweight champion.

“Believe me, I’ve been hit by Wladimir Klitschko, I’ve been hit by Deontay Wilder, I’ve been hit by some of the biggest and hardest-hitting heavyweights on the planet and none of them have put me down like Tony Bellew did in our last fight.

“So, going on current form you’d have to say Tony Bellew is the knock-out specialist, and going into a fight which he needs a knockout in, you can’t get better preparation than the stoppage victories he’s had over the last couple of years.”

David Haye