BLH will be here this afternoon with live round by round updates for the lightweight main event in Manchester, as Anthony Crolla defends his WBA title against Jorge Linares in a 12-round fight.
The full show goes live at 2:30 pm ET on Sky Sports in the United Kingdom.
Crolla (31-4-3, 13 KO) is coming off of back-to-back body shot knockouts, putting Darleys Perez away in the fifth round last November, and hard-punching contender Ismael Barroso in the seventh round in May.
Linares (40-3, 27 KO) is a three-division titleholder, and most recently held the WBC lightweight belt, which he did not lose. Instead of facing interim champion Dejan Zlaticanin, he chose a more lucrative fight with Crolla. Linares hasn’t fought this year, but went 2-0 in 2015, beating Kevin Mitchell and Ivan Cano.
The undercard will feature John Ryder (23-2, 12 KO) vs Jack Arnfield (20-2, 5 KO) in a middleweight 12-rounder; Callum Johnson (15-0, 10 KO) vs Wilbeforce Shihepo (23-8, 17 KO) for the vacant Commonwealth light heavyweight title; and returns to Hosea Burton and Conor Benn.
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Jorge Linares def. Anthony Crolla by UD (115-114, 115-113, 117-111)
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ROUND BY ROUND
ANTHONY CROLLA vs JORGE LINARES
Round 1: Linares with a good start here, looking slick and working the body. Crolla there, cutting the ring off, but Linares just looks too sharp for him off the bat here. But it's very early, and rounds fought change things. Linares 10-9
Round 2: Crolla coming forward, Linares comfortable boxing off the back foot, as usual, and his speed continues giving Crolla some fits. Good body shots from Linares. Linares 10-9, 20-18
Round 3: Crolla is sticking with the plan, which impresses Paulie Malignaggi and EVEN me! He's doing things right, but Linares is moving so well and just landing more and better shots. Crolla with a small cut over the left eye. Linares really looks as sharp as I can remember. Linares 10-9, 30-27
Round 4: Crolla finally lands a couple good shots, and he's getting home with the punches more now. Linares firing back, though. Linares' body shots bothering Crolla, and he's found out he can work the referee on borderline shots. HARD body shots from Linares, he's got Crolla in trouble on the ropes it seems, and then the referee overly involves himself, drags Linares away from the action and warns him again for a low blow that he almost certainly didn't see. Also replays show they didn't really stray low enough. Linares 10-9, 40-36
Round 5: Crolla is coming on stronger, and after a good right hand up top, Linares is cut. So now we've got it going for sure. Linares not targeting the body as much, and he's eating a few more shots. Crolla 10-9, Linares 49-46
Round 6: Crolla's pressure is getting to Linares a bit. He's had to work hard this whole fight, and round 6 is not round 2. Body shots from Crolla, then Linares back, and now we've got a bit of a firefight. Linares cracked and he's feeling it. There's no way he goes 12 at this pace. AND NOW LINARES HAS CROLLA HURT AND IS UNLOADING! Crolla survives the round! Hell of a round! Linares 10-9, 59-55
Round 7: Crolla's legs don't look great, but he's coming forward still. He's also bleeding from his ear, either inside the ear or out, where Linares cracked him in the sixth with a big right hand. I honestly liked Crolla's work better this round. Linares sort of took the round off a bit and Crolla capitalized. Crolla 10-9, Linares 68-65
Round 8: This is a tough round from both guys, both of them are feeling the pace, and neither of them are backing off, either. For Linares that means finding more in the gas tank. For Crolla it means staying determined to go forward. Grueling stuff. Crolla 10-9, Linares 77-75
Round 9: I like Crolla again this round, and it's definitely close now. Linares is fatiguing, as you would expect anyone to do under this pressure, because Crolla has not given him room or time to breathe in this one. I like that determination in rounds where maybe there's not a super clear winner. Crolla 10-9, Linares 86-85
Round 10: Linares picking it back up a bit this round, maybe he feels the momentum going the other way, too. Clean right hands from Linares in this round. Crolla having issues as he did early in the fight. Linares 10-9, 96-94
Round 11: Linares picking Crolla apart a bit in these last two rounds, sticking and moving, landing scoring punches, Crolla's pressure now just too slow. Linares 10-9, 106-103
Round 12: Linares just so relaxed, in a rhythm, and you know what, he was just a bit better this night. Crolla fought hard and did what he wanted, more or less, but he just didn't get enough done. Linares 10-9, 116-112