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Richar Abril to defend WBA belt against Anthony Crolla

Anthony Crolla has been looking for an opportunity, and he'll get it against Richar Abril in January.

Alex Livesey

On January 23 in Manchester, England, Anthony Crolla will receive his first world title shot when he faces WBA lightweight titleholder Richar Abril at the Phones4u Arena, with Sky Sports televising the fight.

Abril (19-3-1, 8 KO) was elevated from interim to full titlist in 2013 for his fight with Sharif Bogere, after losing an incredibly controversial decision to former full titlist Brandon Rios in April 2012 in Las Vegas. Rios had vacated the WBA belt by missing weight, allowing the sanctioning body to elevate Abril after the fight. It all made a lot of sense -- a lot of nonsense, ha ha! -- but in boxing terms, it was pretty fair.

Crolla (29-4-2, 11 KO) is a fringe contender in the division, but hasn't lost since 2012, when he was beaten by Derry Mathews (TKO-6) and then lost to Gary Sykes in a Prizefighter bout. He's 5-0-2 in his last seven, the draws coming against Mathews in March 2013, and a technical draw earlier this year against Gamaliel Diaz.

Also on the card, Scotland's Willie Limond (38-4, 10 KO) will defend his British junior welterweight title against Welsh prospect Chris Jenkins (16-0, 8 KO).

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