On a lengthy night of boxing from the SECC in Glasgow on March 1st, Anthony ‘Million Dollar’ Crolla will defend his WBO inter-continental lightweight title against John Simpson, live on Sky Sports.
The show’s promoter, Eddie Hearn, announced the bout shortly after the cancellation of the eagerly anticipated fight between Wadi Camacho and Stephen Simmons when a broken rib had forced the latter to withdraw. It was disappointing news as the boxers had each played their part in fueling the passion of the fight in the build-up with heated exchanges on Twitter and plenty of ill-attitude during face-to-face confrontation.
Crolla will enter hostile ground in front of a partisan crowd looking to put on a ‘Million Dollar’ performance against the rugged and relentless Scotsman and hoping to make a statement to WBO lightweight champion Ricky Burns.
Burns headlines the event in his tenth world title fight against mandatory challenger Terence Crawford, who fights for the first time as a professional outside of the USA.
Should Crolla come through against Simpson unscathed he will return against a ranked opponent on April 19th with, according to Hearn, victory ensuring a prime position for a shot at Burns. This is all of course on the basis that Burns comes through Crawford, certainly no guarantee and arguably Burns’ hardest fight to date. And should Burns prevail there is then the consideration of the coming April 12th fight between former victims Martinez and Beltran, with the victor supposedly getting a crack at redemption in a rematch. Either way, Burns is a topic for another article but it can be supposed that Crolla would still desire Burns’ number one domestic status even if he loses his strap anytime soon.
Despite traveling to his opponent’s back-yard, Crolla will enter the Glasgow as the hot favourite given his recent form. This includes outclassing former light-welterweight world champion Gavin Rees over twelve rounds to acquire the vacant WBO inter-continental title and, most recently, retiring fellow Manchester fighter Stephen Foster after six rounds on the undercard of the Froch v Groves spectacle.
Simpson also plays the underdog though due to this bout being his second at lightweight, the first ending in defeat within seven rounds against Hull favourite Tommy Coyle. However Simpson will surely take some confidence from the fact that he has not lost a fight in his native Scotland since 2010, a split decision defeat to Stephen Smith.
Also on the bill is heavyweight Olympic gold medallist Anthony Joshua, stepping up in class in his fifth professional contest against experienced Hector Avila.