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Crolla clashes with Barroso in testing first lightweight title defence

Lee Gormley | May 5, 2016

Anthony Crolla v Ismael Barroso

  • WBA lightweight title fight
  • Saturday, May 7th
  • Scheduled for: 22:00 BST
  • Manchester Arena
  • Live on Sky Sports 2

Crolla makes dangerous first defence

Manchester’s Anthony Crolla makes the first defence of his WBA lightweight title this Saturday night, as he puts the strap he clinched from Darleys Perez last year on the line against dangerous Venezuelan challenger Ismael Barroso.

Anthony Crolla and Ismael Barroso Press Conference - Radisson Blu Hotel

The 29-year-old stopped Colombian Perez in five rounds last November with a thumping body shot during their rematch, after initially being the victim of a contentious majority draw in July, and the reigning champion is hopeful of a successful maiden defence over Barroso (19-0-2, 18 KOs).

On home soil, in front of what is sure to be another electrifying Manchester Arena crowd, Crolla (30-4-3, 12 KOs) will take to the ring at 11/10 with Coral for a second successive victory over South American opposition.

Champion targeting away day

The defending lightweight title holder was in high spirits ahead of a tough test this weekend, familiarly donning his Manchester United colours during an open workout in his home city, where the Joe Gallagher trained WBA champion will soon be pushing for another memorable night.

Boxing - High Stakes - Manchester Arena

‘Million Dolla’ Crolla outpointed Juan Montiel at the MGM Grand on the undercard of Floyd Mayweather’s controversial meeting with Victor Ortiz back in 2011, and the Mancunian is keen on a returning fight in Las Vegas in the near future.

“There’s nothing I love more than fighting in the Manchester Arena but a nice away day for the fans wouldn’t go amiss so it’s something I’d be willing to do,” stated Crolla, who is 9/2 for knockout victory.

“It would be nice to fight over there…”

“It would be nice to fight over there in Las Vegas. I fought there on a Floyd Mayweather undercard earlier on in my career.

Anthony Crolla and Ismael Barroso Press Conference - Radisson Blu Hotel

“It was a great experience but that was in the middle of the afternoon so to be a bit higher up in a main event for a world title fight would be brilliant.

“There’s only one Ricky Hatton and I don’t think we’ll ever see that kind of support again [in Las Vegas] but if I could have just a fraction of that with those crazy Mancs, that’d be brilliant.”

Hard hitting Barroso poses a genuine threat to Crolla’s status as WBA champion this weekend, with the unbeaten contender having showcased his devastating power when destroying Britain’s Kevin Mitchell in December and he is 11/8 for a stoppage success on his latest travels.

That fourth-round stoppage of now retired Mitchell was the 33-year-old’s UK debut at the O2 Arena in London, and he will be hoping to add to his growing reputation by dethroning Manchester’s finest this time out.

Barroso a threat to Crolla crown

El Tigre-born southpaw Barroso enters the Manchester Arena as the favourite to reign supreme, after halting his last 10 fights prematurely and seeing just two early career draws blemishing his current professional record.

O2 Arena Boxing

The undefeated challenger has waited a long time for his shot, having turned pro back in 2005, but he possesses the power to announce himself on the lightweight scene, and Crolla, who has been stopped just once before, is 2/1 to secure a points victory in front of his home fans.

Crolla has already endured three draws in his career to date, against Derry Mathews in 2013 and Mexican Gamaliel Diaz in 2014 as well as Perez last year, and another this weekend is 25/1 to occur.

Although, the home fighter has been a warrior his whole career, as well as outside of the ring in recent years, and he isn’t going to give up his belt easily in front of a packed out Manchester Arena crowd.

On the undercard, Hull’s Tommy Coyle and Liverpool’s Martin Murray are both heavy 1/100 favourites to overcome Reynaldo Mora and Cedric Spera respectively, while another Merseysider Paul Smith is the same price to get the better of Daniel Regi over a six-round contest.

Elsewhere this weekend, British heavyweight Dereck Chisora is 5/2 to overcome Bulgarian foe Kubrat Pulev, whose only career loss has been to Wladimir Klitschko in 2014, and he is 15/8 to stop ‘Del Boy’ in Germany.

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Coral’s top tip: Back Manchester’s WBA lightweight champion Anthony Crolla to outpoint challenger Ismael Barroso at 2/1 this Saturday night.

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