Boxing on AWE Results: Linares Defeats Crolla In Front of a Rowdy Manchester Crowd
By: William Holmes
The Manchester Arena in Manchester, England was the host site for tonight’s WBA/WBC Diamond/ and Ring Magazine Lightweight Championship. Matchroom Boxing was the lead promoter for the card tonight.
The first bout of the night was in the light heavyweight division between Fernando Castaneda (24-10) and Hosea Burton (17-0).
Burton, the British light heavyweight champion, looked to be the taller and better boxer early on and was able to keep Castaneda at bay with his long reaching jab early on. Burton looked significantly bigger than Castaneda, who looked like he could cut down to the middleweight division or lower easily.
Burton took his time in the first two rounds, but was able to end the fight in the third round after scoring two knockdowns. Burton wins by TKO at 2:18 of the third round.
The next bout of the night was in the welterweight division between Ross Jameson (1-0-1) and Conor Benn (4-0).
Conor Benn, the son of Nigel Benn, fought his first six round fight against a game but overmatched opponent. Benn was able to bust the nose of Jameson in the opening round and showed good head movement and choice of combinations.
Benn pressed the action the whole fight and kept up a good pace. Jameson was able to land a few shots of his own, but wasn’t able to score a knockdown or convincingly win a round.
Conor Benn won the decision with scores of 60-55 on all three scorecards.
The next bout of the night was between Callum Johnson (15-0) and Willbeforce Shihepo (23-8) for the Commonwealth Light Heavyweight Title.
Shihepo, the WBO African Champion, was aggressive in the first round and presented an awkward style that gave Johnson fits early on. Johnson was looking to time his counters in the second round, but wasn’t able to land anything of note.
Johnson turned the fight in his favor in the third round when he hurt Shihepo with a left hook, and he hurt Shihepo again in the final minute of the fourth and sixth rounds.
Johnson was strong in the early parts of the seventh round as Shihepo was forced to tie up whenever they got in tight. Johnson scored a knockdown in the seventh round when a body shot forced Shihepo to sit on the ropes which kept him from going down. Shihepo was able to get up before the count of ten, but tied up for the remainder of the round.
Shihepo looked like he was close to going down again in the eighth round, and looked exhausted by the start of the ninth round, but he dug in deep and landed some good shots on Johnson by the corner. However, Johnson landed a brutal combination that sent Shihepo down to the mat again, but this time for the full ten count.
Callum Johnson wins by knockout in the ninth round.
The next bout of the night was an uneventful fight between John Ryder (23-2) and Jack Arnfield (20-2) for the WBA International Middleweight Championship.
The crowd lost interest in this bout quickly, and began chanting for Crolla while ignoring the action in the ring. Arnfield’s reach was used well throughout.
Ryder had his moments, but Arnfield won a majority of the rounds.
The final scores were 117-114, 118-110, and 115-114 for Jack Arnfield.
Anthony Crolla (31-4-3) met Jorge Linares (40-3) in the main event of the night. The crowd loudly serenated “Sweet Caroline” before the boxers entered the ring.
Jorge Linares was introduced first and entered the ring the to a chorus of boos. The crowd was electric and sung loudly as Anthony Crolla entered the ring.
Linares circled towards the left hand of Crolla in the opening round and Crolla was able to stop that movement with early shots to the body. Linares began to heat up in the last thirty seconds of the round and landed a quick three punch combination, but the action and tension was tight.
Linares was crisp in the second and third round and was able to land several good combinations. However, Crolla ket up the pressure and was able to back Linares up to the corner.
Linares was warned for a low blow in the fourth round, and the back and forth action began to pick up. Both boxers were able to land their share of hard body shots. Crolla’s pace seemed to effect Linares in the fifth round as he was able to land short jabs and shots to the liver while keeping in tight with Linares.
Crolla kept up the pressure in the sixth rounds and was dominant in the first two minutes, but Linares cracked a hard right hook to the cin of Crolla in the final minute and had him hurt badly. Crolla looked like he was still on wobbly legs in the seventh round, but recovered halfway through and was able to trap Linares in the corner and land hard shots to the body.
The eighth and ninth rounds were close and both boxers looked like they were tiring, but Crolla may have been the slightly more active fighter.
However, Linares caught his wind in the championship rounds and closed out strongly. Crolla’s punches had lost their snap and Linares looked comfortable pop shotting Crolla and showing off his incredible hand speed.
Linares most dominant rounds of the fight were the tenth and eleventh round. Crolla needed a knockdown or knockout in the final round to win, but he was unable to hurt Linares.
The final scores were 115-114, 117-111, and 115-113 for Jorge Linares.
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