SAN DIEGO, September 23, 2016 – The top headlines in boxing come from Great Britain this weekend.
Jorge Linares of Venezuela (41-3, 27 KOs) won a unanimous decision to become the new lineal lightweight champion, taking the WBA title from Anthony “Million Dollar” Crolla (31-5-3, 13 KOs) at home in Manchester, England.
It can be tough to overcome the hometown judges, and two cards were close, 115-114 and 115-113, with 117-111 on the third scorecard. Linares’ speed, impressive combinations and ring command all born of many rounds in the ring carried the day against the determined Crolla. Crolla applied a steady as she goes approach, and at times looked good against the veteran, but he couldn’t keep it up for every minute of all 12 rounds. Linares has the better toolkit.
It was the first time Linares has gone the 12 round distance in his professional career. Both fighters showed signs of fatigue but Linares put on the better show in the closing minutes. The tremendous effort and action from both men made it a fan friendly fight.
“Thank you to all the people in Manchester. Anthony Crolla once told me he’s a fan of mine, now I’m a fan of his,” said Linares. “We gave the fans a beautiful fight and we can do it again. … I’ll come back to England and maybe to Manchester. I love it here. Anthony Crolla deserves a rematch,” said Linares.
Linares came close to knocking down Crolla in the sixth round, hurting him with a big right hook. Crolla made it out of the round. Linares said he hurt a knuckle on his right hand as a result, so he backed off a bit and concentrated more on boxing strategy. “I told my corner in the tenth round that I was going to go and close the last three and I think that’s what got me the victory,” said Linares.
Crolla said he was disappointed he couldn’t win the belts for his hometown of Manchester. “It was close. You work hard. I’ve got no complaints.
“He rocked my world. I’m not going to lie. My head’s still spinning now. I’m in great condition and that’s what pulled me through it. It’s a pleasure to share the ring with a great like Linares. He’s the best fighter I’ve shared the ring with. I came so close to beaten him so it shows I belong at that level,” said Crolla.
Whither Tyson Fury? While boxing fans awaited the Crolla vs. Linares showdown, they learned late on Friday the October 29 rematch in Manchester between the reigning unified British heavyweight champion Tyson Fury and Wladimir Klitschko of Ukraine was postponed for a second time.
Fury’s promoter Mike Hennessy released a statement calling the British champion “medically unfit to fight.” The specific medical issues was not disclosed, but this never stops speculation. Fury posted the original July 9 fight date in late June due to a sprained ankle officially, but it was no secret Fury was terribly overweight and had been seen partying and drinking to excess in the weeks prior to the first postponement. Sources at the time said Fury wasn’t in any condition for the fight.
Fury skipped a London news conference for the fight two weeks ago on September 12, claiming his car broke down as the reason he didn’t show up. He apparently never heard of Uber and doesn’t have the money for a cab.
This time, insiders believe the issues are due to Fury’s mental condition rather than his physical condition. Fury is a one of a kind personality who has talked openly about suffering depression and “hating” training and boxing.
Hennessy’s statement concluded: “Tyson will now immediately undergo the treatment he needs to make a full recovery. We and Tyson wish to express our sincerest apologies to all those concerned with the event and all the boxing fans who had been looking forward to the rematch. Tyson is understandably devastated by the development.
“We will be making a further statement in due course. Until then, we ask that Tyson and his family be given the privacy and the space he needs to recover during this difficult time.”
Klitschko and his team were set to start their training camp in Austria leading to the bout, and have expressed disappointment over the situation. Klitschko’s representatives have reportedly asked the sanctioning bodies to strip Fury of his championship titles. But Klitschko would have preferred to get them back the old fashioned way, by beating Fury.
In the meantime with Fury out of the picture and fan interest in the rematch fading fast, the possibility emerges for young British heavyweight sensation Anthony Joshua to face Klitschko. Joshua (17-0, 17 KOs) has scheduled a date at Manchester Arena on November 26, a month after Fury vs. Klitschko 2 was supposed to take place, but he doesn’t have an opponent for his title defense. Matchroom Boxing’s Eddie Hearn says he loves the idea and has already reached out to Klitschko’s camp.
Hearn is on a roll after making GGG vs. Brook. If he can make this happen, he’ll get our vote for Promoter of the Year in boxing.
Fury (25-0, 18 KOs) stunned the boxing world in November by defeating the longtime champion Klitschko (64-4, 54 KOs) on his home turf in Germany, winning a unanimous decision. It was the 2015 Upset of the Year.
Canelo vs. Smith replay Saturday: HBO Sports will air last Saturday’s junior middleweight title fight between Saul “Canelo” Alvarez of Mexico and Liam “Beefy” Smith of Great Britain at 10:05 p.m. ET/PT in its entirety. It will also air on Sunday, September 25 at 11:30 a.m. and 11 p.m. (both ET/PT), and on HBO2 on September 27 at 12:05 a.m. ET/PT. The fight will air in Spanish on HBO Latino.
Alvarez and Smith drew over 50,000 fight fans to AT&T Stadium in Dallas Texas for their bout, which ended in a ninth round body shot knockout by Alvarez.
Gayle Lynn Falkenthal, APR, is President/Owner of the Falcon Valley Group in San Diego, California. She is also a serious boxing fan covering the Sweet Science for Communities. Read more Ringside Seat in Communities Digital News. Follow Gayle on Facebook and on Twitter @PRProSanDiego.
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