Anthony Crolla refuses to run scared of Vasyl Lomachenko – and says he’s earned the right to send the Ukrainian packing.
The Manchester fighter will face the WBA and WBO lightweight champion on April 12 at Staples Center in LA after a deal was struck on Tuesday.
Lomachenko is 12-1 as a professional but he has already won world titles in three different weight classes.
The two-time Olympic gold medallist is widely considered to be the best active fighter on the planet.
Former WBA champion Crolla has won three fights on the bounce since he lost his world title to Jorge Linares.
The 31-year-old’s wins over Ricky Burns, Edson Ramirez and Daud Yordan put him into No.1 spot in the WBA rankings and mandatory challenger for Lomachenko.
Lomachenko tried to set up a unification clash against new IBF champion Richard Commey but the Ghana fighter is currently out injured.
With WBC lightweight title holder Mikey Garcia set to fight Errol Spence Jnr at welterweight next month, Lomachenko had no other option but to face his mandatory.
"I believe that I can win a world title again, and these are the kind of fights that I’m in it for," Crolla told Sky Sports.
“This is the biggest fight that can be made out there for me. I’ve earned it, it’s not like I’ve been given this shot.
“Since losing my title to Linares, I’ve come back and had three solid wins.
“I’ve not won the lottery or not won a raffle to fight Vasyl Lomachenko, so I’m looking forward to it and I’m loving training as I’m get older.
“No man is unbeatable. It’s been proven with Lomachenko. He lost early on in his career.”
Crolla has had a rollercoaster career that hit its pinnacle when he beat Darleys Perez to claim the WBA belt in 2015.
The Manchester man has lost six times in his 43-fight career but back-to-back defeats by Linares are his only losses in six years.
Crolla’s promoter Eddie Hearn also reiterated his belief that his man deserves a shot at one of the best in the world. The Matchroom chief said: “Lomachenko is a great talent, but Anthony is in great shape and ready for this chance.
“It’s a huge opportunity for Anthony.
“He has earned his stripes – a former world champ who has fought the best.
“He won the final eliminator against Yordan in November, and I’m happy he gets this chance now.”