It was a busy Saturday night for our British boxers with lightweight Anthony Crolla (32-6-3, 13KOs) defeating Scottish hero Ricky Burns (41-7-1, 14KOs) in Manchester, England. In Stuttgart, Germany, Chris Eubank Jr (26-1, 20KOs) kicked off his World Boxing Super Series with an impressive knockout victory against undefeated Turkish super-middleweight Avni Yildirim (16-1, 10KOs). Then on terrestrial television Welsh flyweight Andrew Selby (10-0, 5KOs) sealed victory over Mexican Maximino Flores (23-4-1, 2KOs) in a title eliminator at London’s York Hall.
For me the pick of the bunch was the night hosted by Matchroom at the Manchester Arena. There was no title on the line, no eliminator or place up for grabs in the next round of a tournament, just two accomplished fighters stepping into the ring for a battle of national pride.
In a close opening round the Rickster established a good solid jab and finished stronger with a nice right hand in the closing minute. In the second Crolla managed to judge his distances better and made Burns miss with his jab while working the body well which put my scorecard even.
Crolla takes control
The Englishman took the centre of the ring in the third and continued his assault to the body with not too much coming back from Burns. The fourth was pretty much the same with the Scotsman forcing his shots but Crolla was in and out while continuing to work that body. Both fighters returned big uppercuts but to no effect.
The fifth round was very even with Crolla taking the first half of the round and Burns the second. It definitely started to really heat up with Burns picking his shots well but Crolla coming back with two and three shots of his own. The sixth was a clear round for the Englishman who outworked the Scot yet again and started to establish a strong lead.
Burns fights back
With Burns clearly trailing in my eyes the Scotsman had to raise his game. Both fighters continued to target the body in another even round but Burns caught Crolla with a terrific right hand uppercut to win the round. The eighth was almost a carbon copy of the seventh with Burns steeling it late on to close the gap on Crolla.
With Burns starting to get into the ascendancy Crolla came storming back by outworking the three time world champion in the ninth but once again Burns returned the favour with a strong tenth.
With the fight in the balance going into the last two rounds it was the Manchester fighter that cemented his victory in the eleventh by mixing up his shots to the head and body. Burns was unable to keep up with the younger fighter during the round which effectively cost him the fight. The last round was tight again and too close to call.
Anthony Crolla was announced the winner by unanimous decision 116-113, 117-112, 116-114. I had the fight 116-114 and I don’t think anyone will be arguing the decision other than Burns himself. It was a close fight in the end but the right man won on the night.
What that victory does for Anthony Crolla is give him one last chance at a title shot. With Luke Campbell falling short against Jorge Linares a few weeks back maybe a title eliminator can be arranged? Or even a shot at Turbo Terry Flanagan’s title could be on the cards for Crolla? As for Ricky Burns, he has showed once again that he’s a strong solid fighter that mix it up with the best of them but maybe it’s time to call it day?
Other results from Manchester
Conor Benn bt Nathan Clarke TKO1
Mohamed Mimoune bt Sam Eggington SD (New EBU Champion)
Lewis Ritson bt Robbie Barrett TKO7 (New British Champion)
Hosea Burton bt Ratu Latianara TKO1
Scott Cardle bt Lee Connelly UD
In the Hanns-Martin-Schleyer-Halle Arena, Stuttgart, Germany Chris Eubanks Jr destroyed home crowd favourite Avni Yildirim with a fierce left hook which prompted the referee to immediately stop the fight without a count. With the Turk sprawled out on the canvas and looking wobbly once he did return to his feet, it was clear to see that the Polish ref made the correct decision.
After his emphatic victory the Englishman was quick to call out George Groves who takes on Jamie Cox (24-0, 13KOs) in the other quarter-final, Eubank Jr said: “I’m not playing anymore. Groves, I’m coming for you.”
Groves still has to get past undefeated Cox which is by no means a straight forward match-up but if successful next week a mouth watering showdown between Groves and Eubank Jr at Wembley Arena will surely get the British public excited.
Andrew Selby booked a shot at the WBC flyweight title after winning his eliminator against Mexican Maximino Flores at the historic York Hall in London. The Welshman took an unanimous 119-109, 117-111, 117-112 decision on the judges’ score cards.
The 28-year-old from Barry is now a step closer to joining brother, Lee, as a world champion. Providing the WBC flyweight champion Daigo Higa (13-0, 13KOs) successfully defends his title against Thomas Masson (17-3-1, 5KOs) in Kokugikan, Japan.
Posted in loving memory to my brother Jason Brown who lost his life to cancer in 2015. Happy 43rd Birthday Bruv!