Anthony Crolla beats Daud Yordan on points in a WBA world lightweight title eliminator
Former WBA lightweight champion Anthony Crolla is set to fight for a world title again after he beat Indonesia's Daud Yordan in a final eliminator.
Crolla, 31, produced a hard-working performance at the Manchester Arena to gain a unanimous points decision win, by 116-112 margins on all three cards.
Ukrainian Vasyl Lomachenko, 30, is the current WBA 'super' champion.
Crolla was fighting on the undercard as Tony Bellew lost to undisputed cruiserweight champion Oleksandr Usyk.
"All credit to Daud Yordan, he pushed me all the way," said Crolla on Sky Sports Box Office.
"People are going to have their own opinions but I'm not going to be disrespectful to Lomachenko and call him out. But if I'm his mandatory and could have that, then I would love to."
Crolla, who suffered a fractured skull when he was hit by a concrete slab after he confronted two burglars in December 2014, won the WBA title with a fifth-round knockout of Colombia's Darleys Perez in November 2015.
He successfully defended the title with a points win over Ismael Barroso, before he lost his world championship in September 2016 against Venezuela's Jorge Linares, who also won a rematch on points the following March.
But wins for Crolla over Scotland's Ricky Burns and Mexican Edson Ramirez set up the eliminator against the 31-year-old Indonesian.
Crolla, fighting in front of his home crowd, made a good start, having success with right uppercuts.
However, with his back against the ropes, he took some punishment in the sixth against the hard-working Yordan, who has held IBO world titles at featherweight and lightweight.
The Englishman regained his control on the fight late on, nicking some tight rounds and producing some excellent shots to Yordan's body.
Lomachenko, who has already won world titles at featherweight, super-featherweight and lightweight in his 12-fight professional career, fights Puerto Rico's Jose Pedraza at Madison Square Garden in New York on 8 December.
Wins for Burns, Allen and Kelly
Also on the undercard, former three-weight world champion Ricky Burns produced a devastating right hand in the third round as he beat Scotty Cardle in a lightweight bout.
Burns, 35, still hopes to be in contention for more titles and said: "I'm always waiting for that phone call, so hopefully there's some big fights out there for me still. I will fight anyone at all, it doesn't bother me."
It was the 43rd win of Burns' 51-fight professional career and his 16th victory inside the distance.
Heavyweight David Allen won a brutal contest with Argentina's Ariel Esteban Bracamonte, who suffered a badly cut and bloodied face before he was withdrawn on medical advice after the seventh round.
"I want to apologise to everyone here," said Allen, who was not in the best shape of his career. "That was another wake-up call. He hurt me. I think I perforated both eardrums, I can't really hear anything, my eye's hurting, but there are no excuses.
"He hurt me in there, but I wasn't fit enough and I'm sorry for everyone. I don't deserve to see pay-per-view again after that. How many more wake-up calls do I need? Well, this is the last one.
"I need to go away, work and it's scandalous coming in in this shape. I've been given a great chance but I've let people down. I know I won but I feel like I've lost in there."
Unbeaten welterweight Josh Kelly, who lost in the last 16 at the 2016 Olympics, gained the eighth victory of his professional career, the sixth inside the distance, as he stopped Walter Castillo inside the opening round with a hugely impressive performance.