Anthony Crolla
Crolla makes his first title defence against the dangerous Barroso. Getty

Anthony Crolla will make the first defence of his WBA world lightweight title against Ismael Barroso on Saturday, 7 May, at the Manchester Arena.

How to watch

Crolla vs Barroso is available to watch live on Sky Sports 2. The card will get underway at 7:30pm with the main event scheduled for approximately 11pm.


Six months on from claiming the WBA lightweight crown with a fifth-round stoppage of Darleys Perez, Crolla returns to the Manchester Arena. That hometown victory was the culmination of a remarkable comeback. Twelve months earlier, the 29-year-old was forced to withdraw from his initial world title match against Richar Abril after he suffered a fractured skull when he was struck with a concrete slab during a burglary in December 2014.

Having finally won the gold at the second time of asking against Perez with a brutal body shot in November 2015, his first mandatory challenge awaits. While the possibility of an all-Manchester clash with Terry Flanagan looms on the horizon, Crolla must first navigate his way past the dangerous Barroso.

Ismael Barroso
Barroso swept past Kevin Mitchell with a devastating display last December. Getty

British boxing fans learned all about his ferocious power when the Venezuelan battered Kevin Mitchell into retirement on the undercard of Anthony Joshua vs Dillian Whyte last December. The east Londoner was sent to the mat twice before the contest that had to be stopped, with Barroso leaving the O2 Arena that night with a reputation greatly enhanced.

Crolla finds himself in the usual scenario of being the underdog despite his champion status, with the bookmakers making Barroso the favourite for Saturday's showdown.

What they have said

Crolla: "There was no way I was going to swerve Barroso. I'll fight anyone and I wasn't about to duck my mandatory, no matter how dangerous. He's been swerved and avoided, but when you are the champion it's your responsibility to fight the best opponents out there, and he fits the bill."

Barosso: "I think you [Crolla] are talking too much for the time you will spend in the ring. This is going to be a war and I will win. When I knocked Mitchell out I was just getting warmed up. I'm the best lightweight in the world."


Crolla: 37 fights, 30 wins (12 by knockout), four losses, three draws

(W) Darleys Perez – knockout – November 2015

(D) Darleys Perez – July 2015

(W) Gyorgy Mizsei Jnr – points decision – November 2014

Barroso: 21 fights, 19 wins (18 via knockout), 0 losses, two draws

(W) Kevin Mitchell – technical knockout – December 2015

(W) Ira Terry – knockout – April 2015

(W) Issouf Kinda – technical knockout – March 2015


Barroso's power and ferocity mean that Crolla faces a huge challenge in retaining his belt. Kevin Mitchell had no real defence for the Venezuelan's onslaught, but if the defending champion can keep it tight and weather the early storm, he can take it on points.