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Summary

  1. Linares beats Crolla 118-109 on all three judges' scorecards
  2. Anthony Crolla has now won 31 of 40 fights (six losses, three draws)
  3. Venezuelan Jorge Linares has won 42 of 45 fights (three losses)
  4. Get involved: #bbcboxing

Live Reporting

By Alex Bysouth

All times stated are UK

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Linares beats Crolla by unanimous decision

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Well that was fast, furious and outright ferocious at times. A wonderful display from Jorge Linares.

While the fleet-footed Venezuelan was the superior technician, Anthony Crolla was never going to be beaten on heart and desire.

But that wasn't enough against one of the world's pound-for-pound best fighters, and Linares clung on to his WBA lightweight title in Manchester.

Crolla says he'll come again, Linares definitely will. If you want to re-live it, read Luke Reddy's report right here.

As for us, that's a wrap. Until next time...

'I can come again'

Linares beats Crolla by unanimous decision

So what next for Anthony Crolla?

"I'm just going to rest, but I believe I can come again," he said. "I lost to a very good fighter.

"I'm going to sit down, rebuild with Joe (Gallagher) and the team." 

'We will choose an easier world title'

Linares beats Crolla by unanimous decision

BBC Radio 5 live

Promoter Eddie Hearn has also been talking to BBC Radio 5 live. 

He said: "I thought after the first fight Jorge Linares would not perform a career-best performance and he did. He was absolutely brilliant.

"It is so hard when Anthony Crolla comes up to you and says 'I'm so sorry'. You lost on points to one of the best pound for pound fighters.

"We will choose an easier world title. Anthony Crolla will be back 100%, he is an ultimate professional and a credit to himself."

Linares beats Crolla by unanimous decision

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Former two-weight world champion Joe Calzaghe congratulates the Manchester fighter, despite his defeat.

'One of the best in the world'

Linares beats Crolla by unanimous decision

BBC Radio 5 live

Crolla's trainer Joe Gallagher has been talking to BBC Radio 5 live and is asked why he nearly pulled Crolla out of the fight after the 11th round.

Gallagher said: "I thought we were not going to win this, but Anthony pleaded and said 'let me go on'. He wanted to go out on his shield.

"Linares was very good and everyone could see what a great world champion he is. You have seen one of the best pound for pound fighters in the world tonight."

'Gutted'

Linares beats Crolla by unanimous decision

BBC Radio 5 live

A little more from Anthony Crolla, who has been talking to BBC Radio 5 live and said: "Tonight I got beat by the better man.

"Jorge Linares boxed very well and I could just not pin him down. I was pleading with Joe (Gallagher) to let me go on (for the last round), and you still believe you can land a shot.

"I'm gutted I couldn't do it in front of these fans and sorry I could not bring the belt back to Manchester."

'I got beat by the better man'

Linares beats Crolla by unanimous decision

Anthony Crolla is looking a little tearful, here's what he has to say: "Jorge Linares is a great fighter and a great champion.

"Manchester I'm so sorry I couldn't do it for you. Your support, honestly I'm taken aback by it. It means so much to me.

"He came up with a great shot that put me over, before that I was trying to close the distance.

"I got beat off the better man, no excuses."

Crolla
Reuters

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Kassim Patel: Not the WBA champion but definitely the people's champion! Respect all round.  

Alex Robertson: Great match! Linares & Crolla have been excellent athletes tonight, and whoever wins deserved it  

'A magician'

Linares beats Crolla by unanimous decision

Steve Bunce

Boxing pundit on BBC Radio 5 live

The crowd cannot perform miracles and Linares was a magician in there. When you lose to a man like that, there is no shame for Anthony Crolla.

'Crolla has a huge heart'

Linares beats Crolla by unanimous decision

More from Jorge Linares: "I worked three times as hard because I knew what I had in front of me. 

"I want to tell everybody in Manchester that Anthony Crolla has a huge heart - that's why he made it to the 12th round with me.

"I did what I had to. We fulfilled it. Now I want to go back to the USA and get the biggest fights, the best fights against the best opponents."

'Linares had too much skill'

Linares beats Crolla by unanimous decision

Hughie Fury

Heavyweight world title contender on BBC Radio 5 live

Crolla tried his best to fight him, box him, out think him, but Linares had too much skill, too much movement.

There is nothing worse than when you miss the shots and then get hit. It is demoralising. He didn't look hurt in there, but he was out-skilled and out-boxed.

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Linares beats Crolla by unanimous decision

Naveed Afzal‏: That was a really good fight. Linares far too good but Crolla with the heart of a lion. Loved the sportsmanship.

'I love you Manchester'

Linares beats Crolla

Here's Jorge Linares: "Thank you everybody, thank you Manchester. I love you.

"I respect and admire all of you. I didn't feel the pressure like I did last time, because I know I had admiration.

"Both Anthony and I fought our hearts out."

Jorge Linares beats Anthony Crolla

Hughie Fury

Heavyweight world title contender on BBC Radio 5 live

Crolla has the heart of a lion.

Jorge Linares beats Anthony Crolla

Great fight. Huge respect to both men. Crolla showed massive heart, but Linares is as silky as he is speedy. And those filthy uppercuts.

Linares beats Crolla by unanimous decision

Anthony Crolla knows the way this one's gone, he's embraced by Jorge Linares and it's the Venezuelan who retains his title.

Linares takes a unanimous decision from the judges. An absolute masterclass. All three judges score it 118-109 to the Venezuelan.

Crolla Linares
PA

'A pleasure to watch Linares'

Linares v Crolla, round 12

Steve Bunce

Boxing pundit on BBC Radio 5 live

We said it would be more difficult than the first time. We thought Crolla could adjust, get closer. No way. Every second of every round, Linares was on it, it was a pleasure to watch him.

Linares v Crolla, round 12

Anthony Crolla's face is bloodied, Jorge Linares looks calm and composed.

Crolla knows it's now or never and goes after the Venezuelan, but Linares is comfortable and just rides anything the Manchester fighter has to offer before looking to throw a combo himself.

And that's the bell. That must be Linares'.

Linares v Crolla, round 11
PA

'Bizarre'

Linares v Crolla, round 11

Steve Bunce

Boxing pundit on BBC Radio 5 live

It was bizarre. Joe Gallagher has to make the decision. It would have been the right decision (to stop it).

Linares v Crolla, round 12

Joe Gallagher composes his fighter, is he going to end it at the 11th?

No, Anthony Crolla is back in the ring and it's looking like going the distance. 

Crolla jockeys forward, he swings a huge left and Jorge Linares ducks before finding himself wrapped around the waist of the Manchester man.

Linares v Crolla, round 11

Anthony Crolla continues to try and track down Jorge Linares but he's really landing nothing of note.

The Venezuelan looks comfortable, dancing around before letting fly a ferocious left low to the body of Crolla.

He then lands a right, followed by an uppercut and a tired Crolla looks to be taking a bit of punishment.

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Linares v Crolla, round 11

Nick Aaron: Crolla has done well, just looks to me that his punches lack any real power.

Linares v Crolla, round 11

Anthony Crolla surely can't win this on points now, so it's knockout or nothing for the home town hero.

But it's Jorge Linares who is throwing the bigger blows early in the 11th - three, four, five-punch combinations that Crolla does his best to ride.

Linares v Crolla, round 11
Reuters

'Crolla needs to give it his all'

Linares v Crolla, round 11

Hughie Fury

Heavyweight world title contender on BBC Radio 5 live

Linares is getting tired so Crolla needs to put the pressure on to him now. He needs to give it his all.

Linares v Crolla, round 10

Anthony Crolla finds a right-hander, but that doesn't rock Jorge Linares.

The Venezuelan returns one to Crolla's body and then tries a big uppercut with his left, a little like the one that floored the Mancunian earlier, but he ducks out of that one.

That cut above Crolla's eye needs seeing to again.

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Linares v Crolla, round 10

BBC Radio 5 live

Rob Ives: Mike Costello's boxing commentary is one of the most exhilarating things you can listen to!

Listen along by pressing the play button at the top of the page.

Linares v Crolla, round 10

Anthony Crolla is doing his best to make a fight of this yet and he scuttles across the canvas to throw a low, body shot with the left.

Jorge Linares almost taunts his opponent with a low guard and then skips backwards before dropping away from an attempted Crolla blow with his back to the ropes.

Linares v Crolla, round 10
AFP

'Linares more quality'

Linares v Crolla, round nine

Hughie Fury

Heavyweight world title contender on BBC Radio 5 live

A great round of action, I give that round to Linares with more quality shots. Crolla is getting punished.

Linares v Crolla, round nine

Much better from Anthony Crolla in round nine, he's trying to back up Jorge Linares and looking to land punches.

Linares skips away, drops a shoulder and then tries to pick his range, but Crolla slips it.

Linares v Crolla, round nine

Mike Costello

Radio 5 live boxing correspondent - ringside at Manchester Arena

Best round of the fight so far.

Linares v Crolla, round nine

Anthony Crolla walks Jorge Linares over to the corner and the Venezuelan turns his body slightly to ride a Crolla combo.

Crolla has the centre of the ring and is the man going on the hunt.

He almost catches Linares but drags a left, then throws a big right and Linares realises this isn't over yet.

Linares v Crolla, round nine
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'Crolla's round'

Linares v Crolla, round eight

Steve Bunce

Boxing pundit on BBC Radio 5 live

Crolla won the round with just pure work rate, pressure and letting his hands go. Was Linares taking a break or showing signs of tiredness?

Our 5 live commentators say it is one-way so far.

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Linares v Crolla, round eight

Andrew Priestley: Linares is bossing proceedings. Crolla is going to need to land a big punch to turn this fight around.

Paul Mulligan: Jorge Linares is one classy fighter, so impressive. Reminds me of a certain Oscar de la Hoya - who happens to be in his corner.

Linares v Crolla, round eight

Well, Jorge Linares holds Anthony Crolla in for a second. That's the first time the Venezuelan has looked even slightly worn.

Crolla looks to have rode that blow in the last round and follows up a body shot with one to the side of Linares' face.

He's giving this everything.

Linares v Crolla, round eight

Anthony Crolla is roared forward, but he needs to be careful and watch that Jorge Linares uppercut. It's lethal.

Crolla lands a body shot to back up the champion, but then Linares goes low and connects himself.

'Never seen Linares so confident'

Linares v Crolla, round seven

Hughie Fury

Heavyweight world title contender on BBC Radio 5 live

That shot was clean on the button but the courage Crolla has and he finished the round quite well. I have never seen Linares so confident in a fight before.

Linares v Crolla, round seven

Mike Costello

Radio 5 live boxing correspondent - ringside at Manchester Arena

That is the first time Crolla has been knocked down in five years.

Crolla
PA

Linares v Crolla, round seven

And Anthony Crolla is down!

That was such a quick, powerful uppercut from Jorge Linares that took the Mancunian by surprise and he's on the canvas.

Crolla takes a knee and a seven count and gets back to his feet. He looked seriously rocked, but he's powering on with this raucous Manchester crowd right behind him.

Crolla
Getty Images