ANTHONY Crolla made a successful first defence of his WBA lightweight title by knocking out Ismael Barroso in Manchester on Saturday.

The champion, who trains under Joe Gallagher at Amir Khan’s Gloves Community Centre in Bolton, was billed as the underdog against his big-punching Venezuelan challenger.

But after weathering an early storm, the tactics proved correct as he went on to gain strength and end the fight with a body shot that knocked Barroso to his knees midway through the seventh round.

Crolla told Sky Sports: “This is my house and no one comes into it and takes what I’ve got.

«He thought he was going to get me out of there in three rounds…but I’m improving and I’ve shown that tonight.

«He caught me with a few, I wasn’t hurt but I felt a few, he hit me as hard as I’ve been hit.

«But I just felt there was no way I could be denied. My whole team have pushed me and I’m in the best condition of my career. There was no way I was losing this title.”

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