|Anthony Crolla: Still the British lightweight champion
A million Dollar smile, a Million Dollar performance, from the Million Dollar kid Anthony Crolla, who unanimously outpointed Scotland’s Willie Limond to retain his British lightweight title, with a measured pin point performance at the Ravenscraig Sports Centre, Motherwell, Scotland on Friday night.
It wasn’t a vintage British title clash by any means, but for the purists it was a boxing match. Just two good professionals, pitting their wits against each other.
But the champion, always composed, calm and in control in this first defence of his Lonsdale belt was far superior to his challenger in all departments.
Crolla won every round and afterwards, didn’t look like he had been in a fight, there wasn’t a mark on his face! – Judges scores were 120-108, 120-108 and 120-109 all in favour of Crolla. – On paper that wasn’t meant to happen. But Crolla just dominated the fight and Limond had no answers.
It wasn’t the hostile atmosphere and partisan crowd that was expected by the Crolla camp, but a knowledgeable bunch, who recognised that these two combatants, knew each other well, but were happy to trade off with each other and lay on the line the respect they hold for each other as friends, that respect just increased ten fold.
Crolla’s defence was as tight as a vice all night, but opened it up quick to land good combinations and closed it again quicker, to nullify anything Limond had to respond with.
For the first six rounds Crolla 25, dominated most of the action and was in full control. Not alot was happening in the form of heavy ammunition, but the pair took centre ring and traded there skills punch for punch. But it was the champions shots that were more precise and often.
Limonds tactic to stand in front of Crolla was not expected and he played into Crolla’s strength’s. The Mancunian boxes very well inside. He can rip the shots in very well from that crouched tucked up style and with hundreds of rounds sparred with gym mate John Murray, he is used to a toe to toe battle.
And then the light’s went out! – No there wasn’t a knockout, the lights in the arena failed and all was cast into darkness! – It didn’t take long to get the spark in and action was resumed quickly. But it was more of the same, Crolla calm and dictating proceedings. Someone apparently tripped over a cable and brought it loose!
To be truthful things got a little quiet in the crowd and in the fight and there wasn’t anything in the fight that required the edge of the seat. Limond wasn’t going for broke and until the ninth round he had proberbly not won a round. In return Crolla had still not come out of second gear and now and again dropped it in neutral, he didn’t have to, he was winning comfortably without pulling breath and he was coasting it.
Limond had been showing the marks of battle from early on and as they entered the home straight, the bumps and bruising around Limond’s eyes, cheek bones and ribs from the accurate digs from the methodical champion were now clearly evident.
Limond dug on the gum shield in the penultimate round and tried to gain some momentum but it was only minimal success and Crolla ended it still in the comfort zone.
The last round started with the customary embrace, with more emotion than the usual final round customary sportsmanship. Crolla though was back to it and stood in front of Limond to pop away again like a seasoned professional, with masses left in the tank.
The result was not in question and Crolla heads back to Mancunia with his treasured Lonsdale belt in metal case, ready to go back on the mantle piece at his house in New Moston, North Manchester.
Crolla will now fly out to New York with Scott Quigg, fellow British champion and Joe Gallagher boxer to watch John Murray challenge Brandon Rios next weekend for the WBA lightweight title. Crolla is now also a big player in the lightweight division and on his return to the UK next week will sit down with his trainer and promoter to plan his next move as a lightweight on the up and one of the most improved boxers in the country.
There are some big fights out there for Crolla, Ricky Burns as been mentioned and you never know. Also Erik Morales is still being touted. Crolla was due to face the legendary Mexican last time out, but it didnt happen. But Crolla is pushing the top league now and maybe a Million Dollars await him in 2012.
CROLLA v LIMOND: Undercard Results from Ravenscraig Sports Centre Motherwell, Scotland.
John Thain beat Steve Spence points over 4 rounds 40-36.
Stephen Simmons beat John Anthony points over 6 rounds 60-55.
Matthew Hall beat Chris Castle points over 10 rounds UD (94-96, 96-94, 97-95).
By Chris Maylett