By Elliot Foster (@FreelanceFoz)
Anthony Crolla claimed the world title with a scintillating stoppage in his hometown.
The Manchester lightweight became the WBA champion after stopping outgoing champion Darleys Pérez of Colombia inside five rounds, live on Sky Sports.
Crolla was denied a world belt back in July when his first clash with Pérez was controversially declared a draw. It was a decision which robbed the former British champion an emotional win in the wake of him sustaining serious injuries while trying to detain a burglar earlier in the year.
But this time around, it was a left-hook to the body which decided proceedings and a shot that left 32-year-old unable to beat the count of referee Terry O’Connor, which was deployed after 30 seconds of stanza number five.
The early going in the fight was in favour of Pérez, who was reportedly ill in the build up to his first world title defence against Crolla four months ago.
His timing was impeccable and ‘Million Dollar’ struggled to have any success in the first couple of rounds.
But as the fight played out and developed, Crolla, 28, got back into it and began to land his shots.
He won the fourth round on work-rate and then in round five, it was pretty even up until the point where Crolla pinned Pérez to the ropes and sunk in a beautifully timed left hook to downstairs to conclusively announce himself on the world stage.
“I can’t put into words what this means to me,” said Crolla.
“It’s a moment that I’ve dreamt about since being a little boy and I’m absolutely made up to do it.
“You could see the emotion on my face, you could see my reactions. This means everything to me.
“I did a few things wrong in there and took a few stupid shots early on,” he said, “but I’m world champion.”by