By Steve Bateson: Anthony Crolla boxed brilliantly on way to a unanimous decision over Daud Yordan in a final eliminator for the WBA Lightweight Championship.
Crolla started to the body early, hoping for it to pay dividends down the line, and was taking advantage of Yordan’s tight peek-a-boo guard as he just marched forward. Crolla was trying to bring uppercuts through the middle later on in the stanza as Yordan continued to pressure but throw very little.
The Indonesian was much more aggressive in the second and letting his hands go but Crolla was undaunted and happy to stand with his opponent and trade shots. Both men were already setting a high pace and Crolla was looking very composed at the speed, still outpunching Yordan and displaying more dimensions.
Yordan’s key component is his come forward pressure but he wasn’t being effective with it as Crolla was able to show great footwork and body movement as he consistently switched positions and worked away to head and body, slamming a hard left to the body to punctuate the third round.
Crolla continued to put the early rounds in the bank as Yordan tucked up on the ropes and seemed happy to absorb what was coming his way. The Indonesian then followed the Mancunian out to the centre but wasn’t matching the output, he was slipping way behind on the scorecards at this point.
There was a reality check in the sixth as Yordan sank two solid lefts into Crolla’s body and had the Briton backing up for the first time, displaying signs of being hurt. Yordan was encouraged by this and was able to throw much more meaningful blows through the three minutes, taking his first clear round on the cards.
But Crolla snatched momentum back in the seventh and went back to outworking and outhustling his man. Crolla was showing a difference in their classy operations now as he negotiated Yordan’s come forward approach with tremendous movement, pivoting off to the side and slipping out of any impending danger before opportunities arose for the visitor.
Yordan’s will was not broken though and he was still pressing the action in the ninth, probably registering another round on the scorecards as he let his hands go in a much more effective way. Crolla had his moments of success too, a couple of sharp counter uppercuts, but he was guilty of dropping back onto the ropes and inviting unnecessary pressure.
Yordan, in his 42nd professional fight, showed why he has been avoided at this level for so long because he makes his opponent work for every second of every round but Crolla showed he has the engine and the mental capacity to stay switched on throughout. He momentarily stopped Yordan in his tracks with a right hand in the tenth and then continued to work at gears that his opponent just could not match.
Yordan was back in the mix in the eleventh as Crolla’s output regressed and he slowed but the Indonesian couldn’t find a breakthrough punch that would swing the fight in his favour. Both men let their hands go in the twelfth, maybe the result wasn’t as clear in their heads, but it was Crolla who was having the final say in the exchanges. Yordan was trying to press Crolla back to the ropes and bang away but Crolla was manoeuvring around him with expertise, boxing his way out to a decisive win.
It was a tremendous performance from Crolla in the end, he was made to work very hard for the win but he took a clear wide decision over an opponent that was touted as a 50-50 chance of winning. The Manchester man is now mandatory challenger for Vasyl Lomanchenko’s WBA Title, Lomachenko meets Jose Pedraza in a unification early next month, but it remains to be seen whether Loma chooses to stay at the weight following that bout. Either way Crolla’s next fight will be for a world championship.
Scorecards read: 116-112 x3
Ricky Burns clinically dispatched Scott Cardle in three rounds of a scheduled ten at Lightweight.
Burns stepped in at two weeks notice for the injured Joe Cordina but quickly demonstrated that there were serious levels between him and his opponent. Burns was on point with the jab, busting Cardle’s nose, and was soon bringing in the right hand. Cardle was bobbing and weaving but Burns was finding him an easy target, tagging him constantly with heavy, meaningful shots.
Burns’ timing continued to be on the money in the second and he was flashing in left hooks now as Cardle tried to pull clear. Cardle’s legs were looking shaky almost every time Burns landed and that may be a worry considering Burns has never been considered a power puncher. It was clear that there was a difference in class between the two fighters and Burns was fancying the job, walking his opponent down with a killer instinct.
Cardle was cut from a sharp right hand counter early in the third and then a huge right hand dropped Cardle rigid. Cardle was all over the place and although he managed to get to his feet it was clear he could not carry on, the referee making the right decision to stop it there and then.
Burns (now 43-7-1 with 16 KO’s) is a three weight world champion and he showed here that he still has plenty to offer at the highest level, it is very likely that he will be directed toward another world title tilt in 2019.
Josh Kelly needed less than a round to blow away the overmatched Walter Castillo in a Welterweight contest scheduled for ten.
Kelly, who is touted for big things, was quick off the mark and demonstrating his lightning reflexes and handspeed. Castillo looked bamboozled and well out of his depth as he struggled to stay out of range, constantly bombarded by the snaring attacks from the Olympian.
Castillo was wobbled by a hook, his legs wobbling beneath him, and he tried to withdraw into a shell but Kelly just stalked him and took him apart. A solid left to the body caused a wince from Castillo and then a succession of left hooks to the head had him retreating to the opposite side of the ring. Kelly pounced and began teeing off on his man, prompting the referee to leap in and stop the fight.
Kelly (now 8-0 with 6 KO’s) is a tremendous prospect who looks destined for big things. He and his team do not want to wait around and it has already been announced that he will face former WBA Regular Champion David Avanesyan on December 8th. We won’t learn anything from Kelly tonight but his skills and abilities will be on show in December as his calibre of opponent grows.
Dave Allen continued his winning streak by defeating Esteban Bracamonte via seventh round retirement in an old fashioned Heavyweight slugfest.
Bracamonte started fast and was letting his hands go at will to head and body. Allen answered back with an uppercut through the guard at the end of the first stanza and both men knew they were in for a fight.
Allen, himself, didn’t tip this fight to go past round one but he clearly wasn’t banking on the resilience and attrition of his Argentinian foe, who came to win.
The Argentine was back throwing shots in the second but Allen had more success with another uppercut and a left hook combination. Allen landed a solid overhand right on the ropes but Bracamonte came back with a flurry of his own, refusing to be looked upon as second best in any of the exchanges.
Bracamonte was boxing well in the third, a solid uppercut and right hand putting Allen on the backfoot. But Allen responded with a brutal left hook and then a right hand that had the visitor out on his feet. Allen poured the pressure on, looking for the finish, but Bracamonte demonstrated his heart and desire by sticking in there.
Another left hook had Bracamonte rocked in the fourth after it seemed he had hurt Allen with his own heavy punches. Allen was starting to take control of the bout and was timing big shots but he just couldn’t find a way to deter his tough and gritty foe.
Both men were blowing hard, neither in fantastic fighting shape, and they were starting to miss wildly. Allen was still having the better in the exchanges but he was eating shots in return at every juncture and he didn’t seem to have the energy to push to the next gear to get rid of his opponent, who was out on his feet.
A sickening cut opened up over the bridge of Bracamonte’s nose in the seventh following a chopping right hand, blood spurting all over the Argentinian’s face, and Allen started to put his punches together again as the visitor’s legs began to betray him once more. Bracamonte was on jelly legs but Allen could not find the punch to finally put him down and out.
Bracamonte returned to his corner at the end of the round and his corner took the decision to withdraw their man, probably the correct one given the state of his face.
It was disappointing from Dave Allen (now 16-4 with 12 KO’s), who has been afforded yet another opportunity on a top UK show. He’s a very likeable character with plenty to offer but time and again he fails to get in the correct shape and conduct himself professionally. It has been mooted that he’ll have a big fight on December 22nd, names such as Tom Little and David Price have been mentioned, but you have to wonder how many more chances he’ll be given.
Richard Riakporhe opened the show and won the battle of the undefeated prospects, taking a eight round TKO over Sam Hyde to win the vacant WBA Intercontinental Championship.
Hyde was busier over the first six rounds, constantly jabbing to head and body, as Riakporhe just followed him around the ring and loaded up far too often. Riakporhe was clearly trading off his reputation as a puncher, six knockouts in seven wins, but early doors he was landing very little of note whilst Hyde racked up the rounds on the scorecards without having to over exert himself. Riakporhe was looking cumbersome and slightly unwilling to let his hands go, despite the proclamations and encouragement from his corner.
But as the fight progressed Riakporhe (now 8-0 with 7 KO’s) was starting to time his bigger punches, even though he was seemingly running out of energy, and the whole complexion changed off a monstrous right hand at the beginning of the eighth round. A sickening haematoma arose around Hyde’s eye within seconds of impact and several more rights put Hyde’s corner in a position where they had to withdraw their fighter for his own safety.
It was a big learning curve for both fighters and despite winning Riakporhe will have to learn he cannot just rely on his power to see him through, it got him through this bout but it may not happen in the future. Hyde will need plenty of time to recover but he can certainly return from that and go again.