Anthony Crolla
Anthony Crolla produced a fine display of boxing in having to outbox the tough willing Chris Riley, producing two knockdowns along the way, eventually winning on points over 6 rounds on Friday night at the Bolton arena.

“Million Dollar” Crolla from Manchester got off to a wonderful start dropping Riley in the opening round, catching him with a cute right-hand counter. Riley was up quick and took the count from referee Steve Gray and going onto finish the round.

Crolla’s shots were very accurate from the outset and Riley’s nose was quick to see the effects of his quick piston like jab. With a proposed rematch with British super-featherweight champion Gary Sykes in Crolla sights, and a chance not only to avenge last years loss to the Yorkshire man but the opportunity to win the Lonsdale belt, Crolla looked liked he had no intention of letting any of that slip here.

Middlesbrough’s Riley always on the back foot now, Crolla planted his feet behind a tight defence and worked well to head and body whilst staying in punching range and making Riley pay for his mistakes.

Crolla backs Riley up to the ropes
Neat tidy boxing from Crolla saw him work Riley’s body well with the left hook which looked to be having a telling effect on slowing him down. To Riley’s credit he was soaking it up from Crolla and trying to come back with his own shots, but Crolla was a class or two up from Riley and in the fourth round a smart uppercut from Crolla had Riley visiting the canvas for a second time and the writing looked on the wall.

Riley now had to fend off Crolla who looked to finish the fight here, but kept his composure showing the maturity that seems to be creeping into his work now and didn’t go hell for leather leaving himself vulnerable to the still dangerous bloodied Riley who though out of his depth was not going to go down without a fight.

Crolla heeds trainer Gallagher’s advice
Crolla’s corner of Joe Gallagher and top British fighter John Murray looked to be giving him calm technical advice and with no panic it reflected in his work with Crolla going on to outbox a gutsy Riley, finishing strong to take the referee’s decision 60 – 62 extending his record to 18 wins, 2 losses, six of his wins coming by knockout.

Crolla, still only 23, has now six successive fights since losing to Sykes and is in good form, he looks to be getting better with every fight at the moment and could well start to live up to the rave reviews he received when turning professional.

Crolla’s first setback was in April 2008 when he was narrowly outpointed by Al Hamidi. Although he avenged that defeat by reversing the decision five months later outpointing Hamidi. With good wins over Sid Razak and Jason Nesbitt his career best scalp came when he stopped fellow Mancunian former world title challenger Michael Brodie in three rounds last November.

Crolla, a the 2006 ABA champion lightweight champion certainly looks to be developing into a good all round professional. British trainer of 2009 Gallagher, looks to have had a positive effect on his defensive work, covering up well and his shots to the body were almost John Murray esc, has he dipped his knees and sunk the hooks behind Riley’s elbows whilst never neglecting his tight guard. Crolla now looks ready to to take the next step up to title level.

By Chris Maylett

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