By Terence Dooley
Anthony Crolla made short work of Belgium’s Herve De Luca, now 16-6-1 (7), on a Hatton Promotions show at Wigan’s Robin Park Centre on Saturday night, ending the scheduled ten-threes contest at 2:59 of the opening stanza after flooring his man three times with body shots.
The 2006 ABA lightweight titlist was due to contest the vacant WBA Inter-Continental crown only for the fight to be downgraded after the withdrawal of original opponent Osumanu Akaba.
Crolla moved to 21-2 (9) courtesy of the quick fire win, he now has his sights set on EBU lightweight champion Gavin Rees, who won the vacant title courtesy of a decision over the previously undefeated Andy Murray earlier this month.
“It was the perfect way to win. I know Gavin Rees will be a much harder fight and he’s not going to be ruffled by that. He’s a former world champion’” said the 24-year-old when speaking to the Manchester Evening News.
He added: “But a first round win with body shots against an opponent who came to win, I couldn’t really ask for better. I’m sure I will have tougher nights, but I went about it in a clinical way and did what I had to do. The first shot sickened him. There’s always things you can pick on and I’m my own worst critic. But I got the win and that is the most important thing.”
The current British titlist also inked a new contract with Hatton Promotions in the wake of the win along with stablemate Joe Murray – a point’s winner over Scotland’s James Ancliff on the same bill.
Murray travelled the championship distance for the first time to pick up the IBF Youth featherweight title by scores of 118-111, 120-11- and 120-109. ‘Genius’ used movement, punch picking and body blows to keep his foe at bay for the best part of the contest.
Joe seemed troubled by a left hook to the temple in the fourth round yet was generally punch perfect, drawing praise from Sky TV commentator Richie Woodhall. However, the 24-year-old Olympian believes he still has a lot to learn as he moves on with his pro career.
“I’d judge it about six out of ten as a performance. It was just about getting the rounds in and learning how to do a 12-rounder,” revealed the 11-0 (5) fighter in today’s MEN.
“I boxed well but maybe switched off a bit. It’s a learning point for me and by going through that I’ll get better. I was crippling him in there but the bell kept saving him.
“I’ve only done eight-rounders before that, so to get 12 out of the way gives me confidence. If I go for a British title I know I can do this distance no problem. I’m just becoming an all round pro. I’m happy with my progress. I’m not saying I’m the finished article, I know what I’ve got to work on and because of that I know I’m only going to get better.”
Ancliff drops to 11-14-2 (2).
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