MANCHESTER, England – In a hard-fought battle, former WBA lightweight titleholder Anthony Crolla scored a 12-round unanimous decision over Daud Yordan at the Manchester Arena in Manchester, England, on Saturday. All three judges scored the bout 116-112 in what was sanctioned as a final WBA lightweight eliminator.
Crolla, who is rated No. 5 by The Ring at 135 pounds, moved adeptly around the ring perimeter and popped the jab early. The right hook to the body also worked well and there were some memorable uppercuts which pierced the guard. Yordan threw significantly less, but it was clear the visitor carried power whenever he trapped the popular Englishman against the ropes.
It was during one such moment in the fourth where Crolla (34-6-3, 13 knockouts) spun his man and gave him a dose of his own medicine. That proved to be an effective tactic and Crolla’s superior craft and variety began carrying the day. Yordan was the better puncher, but the former champion was a lot better at everything else.
However, a left hook to the body in the sixth did seem to trouble Crolla for several seconds. The home fighter retreated to the ropes and Yordan (38-4, 26 KOs) pressed the advantage with some solid shots up and down. It was the best round of the fight by far for the Indonesian power-puncher.
There were some close rounds down the stretch, but Crolla’s volume and accuracy trumped Yordan’s power and aggression.
If things fall into place for Crolla, a rarity in boxing, then the 31-year-old technician could have a shot at WBA lightweight titleholder, and pound-for-pound No. 1, Vasiliy Lomachenko.
“There will be people with their opinions on social media, but I’m not, in any way, calling out Lomachenko,” said Crolla in an interview with The Ring last week.
“If I become mandatory, we’ll see what happens. I’m not an idiot, and I know that Lomachenko will go whatever way he wants to go. It’s not like he’s not gonna get stripped. We’ll see what happens, but a win here puts me in a good position. I would be mandatory for a world title.”
Former three-weight world titleholder Ricky Burns scored a third-round knockout over Scott Cardle at junior welterweight. The official time was 2:06.
A flush right hand from Burns cut Cardle over the left eye in the third and the same shot knocked him out on his feet. The former British lightweight champion took a heavy fall and the referee had no choice but to stop contest when Cardle rose on unsteady legs.
Burns (43-7-1, 16 KOs) easily took center ring at the opening bell and had everything his own way behind an effective jab. Cardle 23-3-1 (7 KOs) threaded home the odd left-hand counter, but he was completely out of his depth against an opponent who was light years ahead in terms of experience.
The 35-year-old Burns, who has won world titles from 130 to 140 pounds, is campaigning in earnest at lightweight.
Tom Gray is Associate Editor for Ring Magazine. Follow him on Twitter: @Tom_Gray_Boxing
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