Anthony Crolla stops Ismael Barroso to retain WBA lightweight title
Anthony Crolla stopped Ismael Barroso in the seventh round to retain his WBA lightweight title in Manchester.
In his first defence, home favourite Crolla absorbed a fast start from the previously unbeaten Venezuelan before taking control once his opponent tired.
An exhausted Barroso, 33, was counted out after sinking to the canvas following a right to the body.
"This is my house and nobody comes into my house and takes what I've got," said 29-year-old Crolla.
"I knew I could beat him. I told [promoter] Eddie Hearn that I'd beat him. It got my back up that people thought I'd avoid this fight."
Crolla has now won 31 of his 38 professional bouts, while southpaw Barroso, who had only gone beyond six rounds once before, slips to 19-1-2.
The Venezuelan attacked from the first bell, connecting with head and body shots as he tried to get the fight over as quickly as possible.
Roared on by a raucous crowd, the Mancunian stayed with him and began to take control in the fifth as the physical exertion started to tell on Barroso.
A cut appeared above the Venezuelan's eye and he slipped to the canvas in the sixth, although it was not ruled a knockdown.
However, he had nothing left a round later as the Briton sensed the opportunity to finish off his man.
Crolla added: "Barroso thought he would get me out of there after three rounds - and he did hit hard - but [trainer] Joe Gallagher got his tactics spot on.
"There was no way this title was leaving Manchester tonight. This might have just topped the night I won the world title for the first time."
Earlier on the Manchester card, St Helens super-middleweight Martin Murray prepared for his fight with George Groves in London next month with a second-round stoppage win over Belgium's Cedric Spera.
Murray, who has fought for a world title four times without success, faces Groves on the undercard of Anthony Joshua's IBF heavyweight title defence on 25 June at the 02 Arena.
Meanwhile, Britain's Dereck Chisora failed to claim the vacant European heavyweight title as he lost a split decision to Bulgarian Kubrat Pulev in Hamburg, Germany.
Pulev dominated behind his jab with Chisora, 32, only shaking Pulev once with a good shot in the sixth.
In an eliminator for Joshua's IBF title, two judges scored it 118-110 and 116-112 to Pulev while one bizarrely had it 115-113 for Chisora.
It was Chisora's sixth defeat in 31 fights while Pulev moves to 23-1.
The 35-year-old's only loss came when he was stopped by then world champion Wladimir Klitschko in November 2014.
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