Undefeated Crawford moves for junior welterweight title shot

ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) Undefeated WBO lightweight champion Terence Crawford is moving up in weight to fight for the vacant junior welterweight title in his first bout of 2015.

He will take on No. 2 world-rated junior welterweight contender Thomas Dulorme on April 18 at the University of Texas-Arlington.

”It’s my second title that I’m going for in a different weight, and I just feel like I’m going to be up for it,” Crawford said. ”I’m always ready and prepared for any fight.”

The bout was announced Thursday on the UTA campus between Dallas and Fort Worth.

Crawford has a record of 25-0, with 17 knockouts. In 2014, he was the fighter of the year by the Boxing Writers Association of America.

”This fight is going to be fun, I can already tell,” Crawford said. ”For one, he thinks he’s going to the bigger and stronger guy in the ring. … Come fight time, I’ll show everybody that I’m going to be in control. It’s going to be a great fight, and I look forward to getting my hand raised at the end. We’re going to put on a great performance, and I’m going to put on a great show.”

After the second defense of his WBO lightweight title in his last fight Nov. 29 in his hometown of Omaha, Nebraska, Crawford said it would be his last bout at 135 pounds and he’d move up to the 140-pound division.

Crawford won the WBO version of the 135-pound title with a unanimous decision over Ricky Burns in the defending champion’s native Scotland last March. Crawford first defended the title when he knocked out former Olympic gold medalist Yuriorkis Gamboa in June, then ended the year with a unanimous decision over top-ranked contender Ray Beltran.

Dulorme is 22-1, with 14 knockouts. This will be his first world championship fight for the Puerto Rican fighter after winning six consecutive bouts since losing to Luis Carlos Abregu in October 2012 for the vacant WBC international welterweight title.

”I’m here to prove to the world that I am the best fighter in the junior welterweight division,” Dulorme said. ”I’m envisioning a hard-fought victory.”