By Terence Dooley
Anthony Crolla made short work of Belgiumís Herve De Luca, now 16-6-1 (7), on a Hatton Promotions show at Wiganís 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.
ďIt was the perfect way to win.† I know Gavin Rees will be a much harder fight and heís not going to be ruffled by that.† Heís a former world championíĒ said the 24-year-old when speaking to the Manchester Evening News.
He added: ďBut a first round win with body shots against an opponent who came to win, I couldnít really ask for better.† Iím 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.† Thereís always things you can pick on and Iím my own worst critic.† But I got the win and that is the most important thing.Ē
The current British titlist also inked a new contract with Hatton Promotions in the wake of the win along with stablemate Joe Murray Ė a pointís winner over Scotlandís 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.† ĎGeniusí 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.
ďIíd 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,Ē revealed the 11-0 (5) fighter in todayís MEN.
ďI boxed well but maybe switched off a bit.† Itís a learning point for me and by going through that Iíll get better.† I was crippling him in there but the bell kept saving him.
ďIíve 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.† Iím just becoming an all round pro.† Iím happy with my progress.† Iím not saying Iím the finished article, I know what Iíve got to work on and because of that I know Iím only going to get better.Ē
Ancliff drops to 11-14-2 (2).
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