Anthony Crolla will defend his WBA World lightweight title against Ismael Barroso over a scheduled 12 rounds at the Manchester Arena in Manchester, England, on Saturday, May 7.
Twenty-nine-year-old Crolla, who fights out of Manchester, is a 10-year pro (30-4-3, 12 KOs) who won the title last November by knocking out Darleys Perez in the fifth. “Million Dollar” hasn’t lost since October 2012, beaten by Gary Sykes via split decision. Cement-chinned, he’s only been stopped by Derry Mathews, who won by sixth-round TKO in April that year.
A southpaw, 33-year-old Barroso is an 11-year ring vet (19-0-2, 18 KOs) who won the interim WBA World lightweight title last December by stopping Kevin Mitchell via fifth-round TKO. The undefeated Venezuelan power-puncher is first-ranked by the WBA.
“Anthony Crolla is jumping straight in with a cracking first defense against Barroso,” says promoter Eddie Hearn, acknowledging that Barroso “is one of the dangerous fighters in the business.” Nevertheless, said Hearn, Crolla “is the man at 135 pounds.”
That may be, but Hearn is certainly right when he says that “this could be a fight of the year contender and it will be another huge night for British boxing.”
“I was always willing to take this fight, no matter what Barroso did with Mitchell,” said Crolla. “There was no way I was going to swerve Barroso. I’ll fight anyone and I wasn’t about to duck my mandatory, no matter how dangerous.”
Barroso is dangerous, and Crolla has been forewarned.
“He is a true champion,” said Barroso of Crolla. “There were easier domestic fights for more money he could have taken, but he wanted to do the right thing and face his top challenger. I admire him for that.”
Admiration, however, only goes so far.
“He won the WBA title by an upset last year and he’s a likable man,” continued Barroso, “but all good things come to an end. When they help him up after the fight Saturday, he will have all my respect and I wish him very well for the rest of his life.”
This article was penned by the author who is not related to the WBA and the statements, expressions or opinions referenced herein are that of the author alone and not the WBA.