Linares defeats Crolla, retains lightweight titles

Anthony Crolla failed in his attempt to reclaim his titles in Manchester on Saturday night, losing to Jorge Linares in a unanimous decision.

The judges scored the bout 118-109, 118-109, 118-109 in the Venezuelan’s favour, meaning he retained the WBA, WBC Diamond and Ring Magazine World Lightweight titles.

It was a brave attempt by the Mancunian, but his opponent just had too much class.

The fight started off with both fighters sizing each other up, Crolla landing a few decent shots before Linares replied with some good work of his own.

Crolla was clearly targeting the Venezuelan’s body, but Linares kept him at bay and landed a couple of big right hands to keep the scorecard ticking over.

The third round saw the champion up his work rate and pick off Crolla as the Brit continued to try and get inside.

The next round continued in the same vein, Linares landing solid punches as Crolla advanced.

Linares was proving hard to pin down, and Crolla was struggling to do make his work count before he was then floored in the seventh round by a vicious left uppercut from the Venezuelan.

Crolla though, managed to clamber back to his feet and get through to the end of the round.

The Brit came back strongly in the next round, dictating the fight from the centre of the ring as he ramped up the pressure on Vinales.

Crolla was visibly upping his attacks, throwing some big punches as he attempted to claw back some of the rounds he lost earlier in the fight, but Vinales continued to hurt him on the counter.

Million Dollar carried on in the next round, although Linares continued to defend well and landed some great combinations of his own, including another huge uppercut.

The final round petered out with Vinales content to sit back and see it out. Credit must go to Crolla, who continued to try right to the last bell, but in the end his opponent just had too much class.

In the evening’s other big fight, Germany’s Tyron Zeuge retained his WBA super middleweight title by unanimous decision over Nigeria’s Isaac Ekpo after the bout was stopped in the fifth round because of a cut above his eye.

The unbeaten champion was up in the opening rounds but an accidental clash of heads in the third round opened a large cut over his right eye.

The bout was ended in the fifth after the ring doctor ruled it could not go on, the judges awarding the fight 49-46, 48-47, and 49-47 to the German.