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Jorge Linares (41-3, 27 KO’s), the lightweight champion of the world according to The Ring, will be putting his coveted title on the line against the man he won it against–Britain’s dogged challenger, Anthony Crolla (31-5-3, 13 KO’s).

The first fight was a close affair with plenty of back-and-forth action, but one in which Linares did enough to win a decision. Crolla, as always, pressed away, digging down low whenever he could, but it just wasn’t enough for the smooth, multi-faceted boxing skills of the native-Venezuelan.

Linares has had a lengthy run at the world class level because his remarkable talent, though his papier-mache skin and not-so-granite beard have forced setbacks. If he gets by this one cleanly, a potential bout with Mikey Garcia will be eyed. Of course nothing in boxing is guaranteed, but it’s a helluva a showdown and one that would be of keen interest to boxing purists.

Other fights include

Irish Katie Taylor (3-0, 2 KO’s) stays busy in an effort to acquire a world ranking as quick as she can. Her opponent is journeywoman Milena Koleva (9-7-1, 3 KO’s) of Bulgaria.

24-year-old German prospect Tyron Zeuge (19-0-1, 11 KO’s), takes on Nigerian veteran, Isaac Ekpo (31-2, 24 KO’s), in a scheduled 12-round contest at the MBS Arena in Potsdam, Brandenburg.

Jhonny Gonzalez (62-10, 52 KO’s), the well-traveled Mexican puncher, looks to gain a title shot a division north by taking on Francisco Contreras (30-5, 23 KO’s).

Prospect watch

Azizbek Abdugofurov (5-0, 4 KO’s) of Uzbekistan, a former amateur standout, has been taking a no-holds-barred approach to his career so far. In a mere five fights he has taken on men who have a combined record of 184-18-5 (104 KO’s). His next foe, Martin Fidel Rios (21-10-4, 11 KO’s), is a serviceable fighter, but one who isn’t expected to impede progression.