Venezuela’s Jorge Linares retained his WBA lightweight title on Saturday on a unanimous points decision against big-hearted Anthony Crolla of Britain.
Linares had Crolla on the canvas in the seventh round but the British fighter showed great determination and grit to last the 12-round distance.
Linares was declared the winner 118-109 on all three of the judges’ scorecards.
The Venezuelan had also beaten 30-year-old Crolla in September and now has a record of 42 wins against just three losses.
“Jorge Linares is a great fighter and a great champion,” Crolla said of an opponent who has not lost for five years.
“He’s proved that again tonight. He caught me with a great shot. Before that I was trying to close the distance and I thought that I was going to get to him but he moved very well. I can say I got beat off the better man. No excuses.”
Linares hailed his opponent.
“I want to tell everyone in Manchester, Anthony Crolla has some big balls. He had a lot of heart and that’s why he made it to the 12th round with me,” said the Venezuelan.
ZEUGE RETAINS WBA BELT
WBA super-middleweight champion Tyron Zeuge, 20-0-1, 11, retained his belt on a fifth round technical decision against Isaac Ekpo, 31-3; 24, at the MBS Arena in Potsdam, Germany on Saturday night.
Zeuge sustained a bad cut over his right eye after a clash of heads in the third round.
The referee decided to stop the fight in the fifth round and go to the scorecards, in accordance with the rules.
The scores were 49-46, 48-47 and 49-47, all in favour of Zeuge.