Crolla calls for swift rematch after devastating draw on return
Manchester’s Anthony Crolla is craving a swift rematch with Darleys Perez, after a shocking majority draw with the WBA lightweight world champion on his emotional return to the ring on home soil.
The returning Mancunian made an incredible comeback in front of a rapturous home crowd, recovering from serious injuries sustained when confronting burglars last December, and looked to on course for a famous world title triumph.
In what was a dramatic bout at the Manchester Arena, Crolla gave his passionate home support plenty to shout about, as he looked to have wrapped up a perfect night and crowned off a fairy-tale ending to his recent career scare.
Crolla enjoyed arguably his most impressive performance to date to outgun the Colombian world champion, with the South American even having had two points deducted from his card for illegal low blows.
Although, the judges’ scores were initially read out incorrectly, with both fighters being handed a win and the third scoring a draw (114-113, 111-116, 113-113). But the scorecard should actually have been called out as 113-113, 111-116, 113-113, meaning a majority draw decision, but this was of little consolation to a devastated Crolla.
“I thought I’d done enough to be world champion,” Crolla stated. “But Perez is a great fighter and I’m sure the Manchester crowd will want to see him back again, we’ll go again.
“I’m bitterly disappointed not to have the world title to take home with me.
“I thought I’d done enough but I won’t sit around crying. I got hit low throughout the fight but Howard Foster is a great referee who judged that how he saw it.”
Crolla’s disappointment was echoed by the home crowd, who shared the Manchester United fan’s shock at drawing with an opponent who he looked to have rattled with a controlled and dominant return to the ring.
Perez depicted a frustrated figure towards the latter stages of his WBA title defence, with Crolla’s jab keeping him under wraps and a euphoric support only adding to his struggles, as he illegally struck the home favourite twice.
Eddie Hearn, Crolla’s Matchroom promoter felt that the WBA should definitely order an immediate rematch, something his fighter has reiterated, after a performance which undoubtedly proved he belongs at the world level.
“I’ve got to move on from it now and hope that with the team around me, I can get a rematch down the line,” he continued.
“You can’t sit around crying about things forever and it’s still a bit raw but I’ve got to move on.
“The performance is the main thing. My trainer was happy with my performance and I know I can only get better from it.”
Elsewhere, Carl Frampton successfully defended his IBF super-bantamweight title with a dominant points victory, overcoming an early scare as he was put down twice in the opening round by Alejandro Gonzalez Jnr.
Meanwhile, Scot Quigg demolished Spaniard Kiko Martinez with a second-round stoppage, and again called for a showdown with Belfast fighter Frampton later this year, though the latter may make a step-up in weight instead.
Now undefeated in 21 professional career bouts, Frampton admitted he struggled to make the weight for his super-bantamweight defence, as he considers a move up to the featherweight division.
“I have to seriously consider whether to stay at this weight or go to featherweight. I had a lot of weight to take off during the last few days before the fight,” he stated.
Coming up later this year, Great Britain’s 2012 Olympic gold medallist Luke Campbell looks to continue an impressive start to his professional career, as he looks to topple Tommy Coyle in their WBC lightweight title eliminator match-up (odds-on 1/8 to win).
In the heavyweight division, Wladimir Klitschko and Tyson Fury will finally come together in October and the latter unbeaten 26-year-old is 3/1 to cause an upset over the dominant Ukrainian.