FAREWELL: Anthony Crolla former WBA lightweight World champion takes to the ring for the final time official on-site £60 full ticket, 2nd November 2019, Manchester Arena, Manchester.
Anthony Crolla edged to a points win as he ended his 13-year professional career with a hard fought victory over Frank Urquiaga at Manchester Arena.
The Mancunian fighter enjoyed a raucous ring walk on his much publicised farewell but had to grind out a win.
A volume of punches from his Spanish rival caught the eye midway through the lightweight bout but neither threatened victory inside the 10 rounds.
Crolla, 32, did enough for a 95-95 98-92 97-93 majority decision.
"Getting the win was the main thing but now I know my time's up," he told BBC Radio 5 Live.
"I wasn't nervous coming into the arena but it did get to me a bit when I came out here - knowing it was for the last time.
"Hopefully I've left a bit of a legacy. And I'll be back in the gym training the youngsters and hopefully some of the champions of the future."
Fight off, on and gritty
Ringside rumours swirled hours before the fight that Urquiaga might have been forced out of the bout for refusing to remove strapping on his arm.
When he did appear, he walked into a cacophony of Manchester noise.
Around 9,000 had turned out to bid a fighting farewell to one of the city's sons and after a thrilling Crolla ring walk, songs of his beloved Manchester United rang out through round one.
Urquiaga fizzed a solid right hand around the guard late in the opening three minutes and another in round two, pointing to a desire to ruin the evening and thrust his own career to new levels.
The Barcelona based fighter threw punches in bunches but only had one stoppage win among his 13 triumphs coming into the bout, leading some to think Crolla could afford to let his hands go in the face of limited power coming at him.
By the fifth though, Urquiaga had landed more than enough punches to merit respect, with Crolla walking on to an uppercut and appearing briefly frozen.
As tunes from Manchester bands blasted out between rounds, an air of concern was apparent in the arena.
Crolla, his guard high, marched forward but was thrust into the ropes by a heavy shot in the sixth before landing a smart left hook of his own late on.
He tried to work the body of the away fighter a tactic that has proved fruitful throughout his career but never found a way to rock the underdog, who had visibly reddened under his right eye by the 10th and final round.
In the last round of his career Crolla fired off sharp left hands in a bid to fashion an opening but, in truth, a stoppage never looked likely.
He lapped the ring, arm raised, to acclaim moments before a verdict which sees him end a roller coaster career with 35 wins, seven defeats and three draws.
A journey, the end
Crolla had already served hard years in the ring by the time he was badly injured when apprehending burglars at a neighbour's home in 2014.
The incident forced him to amend his training as a result of the broken ankle he suffered. His bravery briefly cost him a World title shot but with an enhanced profile by virtue of his neighbourly act, he claimed his first global honours by stopping Darleys Perez at this very arena 11 months later.
He managed to rekindle a taste of the Manchester buzz that had surrounded one of his own heroes, Ricky Hatton, for fight fans not just in the city but throughout British boxing.
But he now joins a list of homegrown fighting personalities to call time in recent years such as Carl Froch, Tony Bellew, James DeGale and George Groves.
The list of names now capable of frequently filling out arenas feels shorter, and a need for emerging talents to grasp opportunities is apparent.
Crolla, as has been said all week, squeezed the most out of his talent. As it has other fighters, a naturally humble, salt of the earth character served to enhance his likability.
Those who paid to follow him know only too well of the ups and downs. Thankfully, in this most punishing of businesses, his career ends on his terms and with health in tact.
Crolla, undoubtedly, will grace the ring again in corners or through satisfying his desire to train champions of his own.
His fighting days are done though. What a journey it has been.
Anthony 'Million Dollar' Crolla - Highlights
Anthony Crolla (born 16 November 1986) is a British boxer who has fought in the super featherweight and lightweight divisions. He is the current WBA lightweight champion. He won the English super featherweight title in October 2010 with a victory over Andy Morris and the British lightweight title in February 2011 with a win against John Watson.
Early Professional Career
Crolla made his professional debut on 14 October 2006 when he scored a points win over Abdul Rashid at the MEN Arena in Manchester. Five more fights throughout the rest of the year and into 2007 resulted in five more victories giving Crolla an unbeaten record of 6–0 at the end of his first full year as a professional. Crolla begun 2008 with a win in Germany on 19 January beating Tomasz Kwiecien and followed this up with another victory on 14 March, travelling to the Old Trafford Stadium to beat journeyman Steve Gethin. On 5 April however, in his third fight of the year so far, Crolla lost his unbeaten record to Syrian Youssef Al Hamidi at the Bolton Arena, losing on points over 8 rounds. Two fights in September resulted in Crolla returning to winning ways against Robin Deakin on the 6th and then travelling to the York Hall in Bethnal Green on the 26th to meet Al Hamidi once more and to gain a revenge win over six rounds. Crolla finished 2008 with further victories over Carl Allen in October and Jon Baguley in December finishing the year with a record of 12–1.
Fights With Sykes, Brodie And Morris
Crolla begun 2009 on 14 March with a repeat victory over former opponent Carl Allen and then on 29 May took part in his most significant bout to date, a British title eliminator at the Fenton Manor Sports Complex in Stoke. The fight resulted in a second career defeat for Crolla as he lost a ten round points decision to Gary Sykes. On 25 September he returned to the ring and scored another victory over an opponent he had already met, Jon Baguley and then on 27 November met and defeated the former World champion Michael Brodie who had returned to the ring following a long lay off. He continued his winning run in 2010 with victories over Jason Nesbitt, Sid Razak and Chris Riley before on 2 October challenging Andy Morris for the English super featherweight title. The fight at the De Vere Whites hotel in Bolton resulted in a 7th round stoppage for Crolla and a first career title.
British Lightweight Champion
Crolla stepped up a weight division when on 12 February 2011 he challenged John Watson for the vacant British lightweight title. Described as an "early contender for fight of the year" Crolla won the fight in the 9th round after scoring a 9th round knockout. Describing his move up a weight division after the fight Crolla said "I knew I’d be strong enough at lightweight, but I didn’t know I’d be that strong. I’m in with strong kids in the gym all the time and they say my strength is underrated. But even I couldn’t believe how strong I was." On 21 April 2012 Crolla lost his British Lightweight Title to 28-year-old Liverpudlian Derry Matthews at the Oldham Sports Centre. Matthews knocked Crolla down in the 3rd round, and the fight was eventually stopped with 4 seconds remaining in the 6th round.
In September 2012 Crolla entered the Prize Fighter tournament beating Stephen Jennings in the quarter finals in what many felt was the best display of the night. Crolla reached the semi-final stage, losing a very close points decision that could have gone either way to Gary Sykes.
Fight With Kieran Farrell
Kieran Farrell was at the time a young up and coming prospect that had beaten the 14 opponents put before him. His new promoter Dave Coldwell fancied his fighters chances against Crolla, feeling he may be on the slide. Crolla beat Farrell; just after the final bell Farrell collapsed and was rushed to hospital. He had suffered a brain injury during the contest and will no longer be able to box.
Matthews 'The Rematch'
The rematch took place and the fight ended in what was as clear a draw as you could expect. The fight started with Crolla being very cautious and allowing Matthews to score without much reply. The middle rounds were closer and Crolla took the later rounds.
WBO Inter-Continental Lightweight Title
On 30 June 2013, Crolla beat former WBA light-welterweight World champion Gavin Rees with a majority decision at the Bolton Arena.
World Title Cancellation
Crolla was scheduled to fight Richar Abril of Cuba for the WBA World lightweight title in January 2015.
This fight was cancelled after Crolla suffered a broken ankle and a fractured skull during a burglary. Crolla confronted two burglars who were raiding a neighbour’s house. Crolla was able to catch one of the intruders, but was then attacked by the other with a lump of concrete.
Crolla was crowned World champion when he defeated WBA lightweight champion Darleys Perez with a fifth round stoppage. The stoppage came after a body shot crumpled Perez to the canvas. This was a rematch after their first fight ended in a controversial draw in July 2015.
Crolla vs Barroso
Crolla made his first defence of his WBA lightweight title against mandatory challenger Ismael Barroso at the Manchester Arena on 7 May. Barroso displayed his punch power in a chilling knockout win over Kevin Mitchell in December 2015. Crolla finished the fight with a body shot, retaining the WBA lightweight title. Crolla was behind on all three judges scorecards (56–58, 55–59 twice).
Crolla vs Linares
On 15 June it was announced on Sky Sports that a deal had been made for Crolla to fight WBC 'Diamond' champion Jorge Linares (40–3. 27 KOs) on 24 September at the Manchester Arena. Crolla's WBA World lightweight title will also be at stake as well as the Ring Magazine World championship. Crolla, who was named Ring Magazine's Most Inspirational fighter of 2015, said it would be 'a dream come true' if he can beat Linares and claim the Ring Magazine title. In front of the hometown crowd, Crolla was rocked in round 6 following a right hook as the fight went the distance. The judges scored the fight 115-114, 117-111 and 115-113 in favour of Linares. This was Crolla's first loss in 10 fights and regarded by many a close contest filled with action throughout. An immediate rematch was discussed post fight.
Crolla vs Linares II
Reports in early December suggested a rematch could possibly take place in Manchester on 25 March 2017. The winner of the rematch would then be ordered to fight the winner of the Dejan Zlaticanin vs Mikey Garcia, due to take place January, which was won by Garcia, in a unification fight. All three titles would be at stake in the rematch, with Eddie Hearn due to make an announcement in 2017. An official announcement was made on 4 January 2017, for the fight take place at the Manchester Arena in Manchester, a city which Linares said was open to returning to. The WBA, WBC Diamond and Ring magazine World lightweight titles would be at stake. The fight would be televised live on Sky Sports in the UK and on 24 January, Showtime announced they would cover the fight in the United States. Both fighters weighed in at 134.4 pounds.
On fight night, in front of 13,000 fans, Crolla was dropped in the seventh round by a left uppercut, and went the distance to lose by wider margins (119-109 on all three scorecards) than the first fight. Crolla started off well hitting to body, but Linares quickly capitalised and started connected well to the body and landing combinations of uppercuts. Linares put in a more solid and dominant performance than their first encounter. At the end of round 11, Crolla's trainer Joe Gallagher came into the ring and walked towards referee Howard John Foster, possibly to stop the fight. After Crolla pleaded with him, Gallagher allowed him to go the distance. With the win, Linares retained the WBA, The Ring and WBC Diamond lightweight titles.
In the post-fight interview, he thanked his promoter Oscar De Le Hoya for making the trip and watching him ringside and said his next move would be a big pay day in Las Vegas against WBC lightweight champion Mikey Garcia. Crolla apologized to the live attendance, admitted he lost to the better man and said he would be back to rebuild, "Manchester, I am so sorry I couldn't do it for you. Your support means so much to me. He caught me but before that I thought I could get to him. I got beaten by the better man - no excuses. I am 30 years old, I am going to rest, but I believe I can go again." Both fighters embraced at the final bell and showed respect. Crolla meditated around moving up to super lightweight. This was the first time Crolla had lost consecutive fights and losing to the same opponent twice after his losses to Gary Sykes in 2009 and 2012.
Crolla vs Burns
On 7 July 2017, STV news reported there was talks between Crolla and Ricky Burns (41-6-1, 14 KOs) about a potential all-British fight towards the end of 2017. Talks suggested a fight would likely take place in Manchester or Glasgow at light welterweight. A provisional date of 14 October 2017 was being considered. Both boxers tweeted a day earlier confirming their interest in the fight. Burns told Sky Sports, he agreed to the fight straight away when he first heard about the speculations. He said, both he and Crolla were in the same position, coming off losses. At the time, Burn's compatriot Josh Taylor had been calling him out for an all Scottish showdown. Crolla admitted the fight would be a 'make or break' fight for both of them and could steer the defeated boxer into retirement, whereas the winner could line himself up for another potential World title fight. On 7 August 2017, it was confirmed by Eddie Hearn that a deal had been reached between Crolla and Burns for a fight to take place at lightweight on 7 October, live on Sky Sports. Manchester Arena was confirmed as the venue, marking it the first time Burns would fight in Manchester. Hearn spoke to Sky Sports about the fight, "What a fight between two great warriors. Both Anthony and Ricky are in similar places in the careers and they know that this absolute must win. Knowing these two like I do this is going to be a fight until the finishing bell with neither taking a backward step. It's an all-British super fight between two great World champions." Crolla won the fight via 12 round unanimous decision. In the end, the three judges' scored the fight 116-113, 117-112, 116-114. Sky pundits at ringside had either Crolla winning or a draw, however non believed Burns had done enough to warrant a win. Crolla was the busier fighter throwing much more than Burns and focused a lot of his body shots. Burns made Crolla miss a lot with his movement and looked to land cleaner and accurate punches. Both fighters embraced in the end, as they had shown mutual respect for one another in the build up. In the post fight, Crolla said, "I thought I definitely did enough. He just kept coming, he gave me a very tough fight, but I thought my quality shots won it." Burns felt he did enough to win the fight saying, "Although it was close, I thought I did enough, thought I landed the cleaner shots. In my eyes, I thought I just edged it." Crolla also said he would be willing to travel to Glasgow for a rematch.
On 19 March 2018, Hearn announced that Crolla would fight on 31 March at the Principality Stadium in Cardiff on the undercard of the heavyweight unification fight between Anthony Joshua and Joseph Parker on Sky Sports Box Office. His opponent was announced as Mexican boxer Edson Ramirez, who was on an 18-fight win streak. The fight went the 10 round distance with Crolla doing just enough to win the rounds. The final judges' scorecards were 100-91, 100-90 and 98-92 in favour of Crolla. Ramirez focused on the body attack and was given 2 warnings from the referee for landing body shots that he felt were low. Crolla was cut over his right eye in the round 3.
Crolla vs Yordan
In August 2018, according to trainer Joe Gallagher, Vasyl Lomachenko was interested in a possible fight with Crolla in the UK. On 17 September, it was reported that Crolla would return to the Manchester Arena on 10 November on the Oleksandr Usyk vs. Tony Bellew undercard. Indonesian boxer Daud Yordan was considered a possible opponent. Yordan, a former two time IBO World champion, had a record of 38 wins, 26 by KO and 3 losses. On 24 September, the fight was confirmed by Hearn and was likely to be a final eliminator for the WBA lightweight title, at the time, held by Lomachenko. Crolla defeated Yordan via a 12 round unanimous decision to earn a title shot against Lomachenko. Crolla outworked and out boxed Yordan throughout most of the fight. Coming forward, Crolla was also being hit, but managed to tie Yordan up and land body shots. From rounds 9 through 12, Yordan was the busier fighter, and he was able to land more shots in that part of the fight than he had earlier. Crolla began to tire, but looked to have a good enough lead to take the decision. The three judges scored the fight 116-112, 116-112 and 116-112 for Crolla. Speaking on the fight, Crolla stated it was 'a very mature boxing performance' as he knew it would 'be a very hard 12 rounds.' Crolla said he'd love to fight Lomachenko in Manchester, but he 'wouldn’t be disrespectful' to call out Lomachenko.
On 30 November, the WBA confirmed that Crolla would be next in line to fight the winner of Vasyl Lomachenko's unification fight against José Pedraza on 8 December 2018.
Career From 2019–Present
Crolla vs Lomachenko
In December 2018, after Lomachenko successfully unified at lightweight, Top Rank president Todd duBoef announced Lomachenko would return to the ring on 12 April 2019 at the Staples Center in Los Angeles headlining Friday night Top Rank Boxing on ESPN. With Richard Commey and Isa Chaniev set to fight for the vacant IBF lightweight title, it was highly likely that the winner would fight Lomachenko in what would be Lomachenko's second unification fight. Top Rank intended to finalize the deal with promoter Lou DiBella, which would see Commey vs. Chaniev take place on 2 February 2019 at the Ford Center in Frisco, Texas. By the end of January 2019, purse bids for Lomachenko vs Crolla were pushed back two days to 6 February 2019 with the minimum bid being $150,000.
Commey defeated Chaniev to become the new IBF lightweight champion, however picked up a hand injury during the fight. His promoter Lou DiBella advised Top Rank, Commey would be out of training for a minimum of two months. This prompted Top Rank to start searching for a new opponent for Lomachenko. On 20 February it was announced that Lomachenko would defend his WBA (Super), WBO and The Ring titles against Crolla at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California on 12 April 2019. The bout, including the full undercard would be streamed live and exclusive on ESPN+, to mark the one year anniversary of the streaming service. The fight was made official a week later with ticket information. The bout would mark Crolla's first time fighting in USA, having only fought once previously outside of his native UK. It was reported that Lomachenlo would earn $1.2 million, but guaranteed closer to $3.2 million. Crolla, who was a heavy 100-1 underdog, had an official purse of $300,000 for the fight, however guaranteed more due to UK TV rights.
In front of 10,101 in attendance, Lomachenko stopped Crolla in the first minute of round 4. The initial two rounds were paced and methodical as Lomachenko visibly started to out punch Crolla during round 2. In round 3, Lomachenko became overwhelmingly dominant while forcing Crolla to spend a majority of his time against the ropes. With 11 seconds left in the round, Lomachenko's combination was interrupted by referee Jack Reiss. At first glance Lomachenko, and even the crowd, thought it looked as if Reiss had stopped the fight, causing Lomachenko to celebrate by jumping on the corner ropes. However, Reiss immediately corrected the misunderstanding and forced out commissioners who had climbed into the ring, and resumed the fight after a 10 second count for Crolla — although with 1 second left, the round effectively ended immediately. Between rounds 3 and 4, Reiss explained he'd not actually waved off the fight, and instead called a technical knockdown he was seen immediately pointing and saying "down". He explained he was accounting for the ropes' aid to Crolla's ability to stand, since if the ropes had been absent Crolla would've been down and it is against the rules for a fighter to have any outside support in standing throughout the entire duration of the fight, thus justifying his rarely used but sanctioned technical knockdown. Because of this Crolla continued on into round 4 where after briefly trying to rally back he was knocked down in second 52 by a right hook to the temple. Crolla fell to the canvas face first, unable to break his fall. After what looked to be a 3 to 4 second count by Reiss, the fight was waved off, giving Lomachenko the win and retaining his sanctioned belts. Crolla was unable to participate in the post fight interviews, but did not decide to immediately go to hospital. According to CompuBox Stats, Lomachenko landed 72 of 249 shots (29%), and Crolla landed only 12 of his 96 thrown (13%), this included 7 power shots, compared to Lomachenko's 58 power shots. After the fight, Crolla said, "I don't want to go out like that but the end is near." He stated he would regroup with his team, and hope for a farewell bout in Manchester to finish his career.
Crolla vs Frank Urquiaga
The New Moston fighter has announced he will take to the ring for the final time at the Manchester Arena on November 2. Co headlining the bill at the 21,000 capacity arena will be Irish sensation Katie Taylor who is stepping up to super-lightweight to fight Greece's WBO title holder Christina Linardatou after unifying the women's lightweight division. Crolla beat his opponent who trains in Barcelona, Spain, but is from Peru, Frank's record is : 13-2-1.