Anthony Crolla to battle Ismael Barroso in first title defence
WBA lightweight champion Anthony Crolla (30-4-3, 12 KOs) will make the first defence of his belt against Ismael Barroso (19-0-2, 18 KOs) on May 7 at the Manchester Arena.
Crolla won the WBA title when he defeated Darleys Perez by fifth round knockout, also at the Manchester Arena, in a rematch of their previous draw.
The win came less than a year after the 29-year-old Mancunian had overcome life-threatening injuries, sustained while confronting burglars at a neighbours home.
Barroso, a 33-year-old southpaw from Venezuela, earned the shot when he stopped Britain's Kevin Mitchell in the fifth round to claim the vacant interim WBA title in December.
"I am under no illusion that this is a tough task," said Crolla. " I enjoyed a break since winning the title, but I have been in the gym for a while already and I am in a good place.
"I knew that wasn’t the best of Kevin Mitchell in there when they boxed. He didn’t look himself at the weigh-in and I was worried he was going to struggle. That said, Barroso was still impressive and we know he’s a big puncher. It’s a really tough examination but one that I am really up for."
If Crolla gets past Barroso, he looks set to fight the winner of Terry Flanagan's WBO title defence against Derry Mathews, which takes place tomorrow night.