Crolla stuns Rees to clinch close decision
Anthony Crolla (26-4-1) picked up the biggest victory in his entire career over former WBA light welterweight champion Gavin Rees (37-3-1) by a majority decision, on Saturday night at the USN Bolton Arena.
The judges scores were 115-113, 116-113 for Crolla and a 115-115 draw.
The Manchester lightweight claimed the vacant WBO Inter-Continental title and now looks towards a world title opportunity against champion Ricky Burns.
Favourite Rees took the first two rounds as the Welshman set a fast tempo, loading up on his shots and landing hurtful left hooks. But Crolla started to hit back more in the 3rd and his overhand right caught Rees on several occasions, opening up a nick by the left eye.
The rounds were not easy to score with rees' rugged style not pleasing on the eye while Crolla continued to pour forward without landing any heavy shots of note, bar an occasional right over the top.
Crolla upped the tempo in the 5th, pushing Rees back for the first time in the fight. Rees responded in the 6th getting through with some good combinations to the body.
In the second half of the fight, Crolla started to take control. Rees' spurts became considerably more short-lived, while Crolla connected with a combination of punches thus overwhelming Rees awkwardness with his activity.
Rees managed to steal some rounds late on, becoming considerably more aggressive at the end of each round, though, Crolla caught Rees on nunerous times on the way in. At the end, his skills and will brought Crolla a deserved victory.
Also on the bill, Paul Smith (33-3) scored a 6th round TKO of fellow scouser Tony Dodson (29-8-1) to become a two-time British super middleweight champion.
Smith, who won a unanimous decision when the pair met in March 2010, floored Dodson with a left hook in the 3rd, although his local rival got up and regrouped to finish the round strongly. Smith bide his time until the 6th when Dodson, with blood coming from a cut above his left eye, walked onto a big right hand before referee Richie Davies stepped in at 2:31 of the round with Dodson reeling from Smtih's shots.
Unbeaten super bantamweight Scott Quigg (26-0-1) recorded a 3rd round KO over Brazil's William Prado (21-4-1) in his first fight under Matchroom. Quigg dropped his opponent at the end of round two, and finished him off with a right hand in the 3rd.
Light middleweight contender Brian Rose (24-1-1) outpointed Bulgarian Alexey Ribchev (14-7-1) over ten rounds, when the referee scored it 99-93 in favour of the Blackpool fighter.