By Rushan Newton
After the horrific 12 months Anthony Crolla has endured he has finally gone on to become WBA lightweight champion.
Manchester-born Crolla was up against the tough and durable Olympian Darleys Perez. The delight on Crolla’s face when the result was announced was priceless; this is a man that suffered a fractured skull and broken ankle under 12 months ago after spotting two burglars in his next door neighbours garden. He went round to put a stop to the burglary and was consequently hit over the head with a brick and now 12 months later is WBA Champion.
Crolla and Perez had previously fought in July in a highly debated encounter in which the three judges scored the bout level many people were bewildered at this decision. Promoter Eddie Hearn said at the end of the first fight: “I don’t think it was one of those outrageous ones, but I did think Anthony won. It was probably a close fight, but I thought he had it by three or four rounds.”
After a month of Crolla feeling harshly done by, Hearn announced that there would be a rematch between the pair. The seond time round Crolla didn’t leave the decision down to the judges as he knocked Perez out with a crippling body shot in round five. It was similar to his hero Ricky Hatton 10 years before that in the same arena to win his first world title.
Winning a world title has been Crolla’s dream since he first laced a pair of boxing gloves and he finally achieved it. Crolla said: “Honestly, I always believed I would get back here and I made a promise when I was in my hospital bed that I would come back bigger and stronger and I believe that’s what I have done.”
With Crolla winning the world title it will open a lot more doors for him and domestically there is some very big fights. He could fight Terry Flanagan, the current WBO champion, also from Manchester – there is potential for this fight to be held at a football stadium as this would be a unification fight.
There is also the Olympic gold medallist Luke Campbell who is tearing up the domestic scene and is determined to get a world title shot within the next 12 months. Furthermore there is Kevin Mitchell who after two world title shots is hungry for another. He fights Ismael Barroso on December 12 in a final eliminator and the winner fights Crolla within 90 days.