The Manchester lightweight claimed the vacant WBO inter-continental title and now looks towards a world title opportunity against Coatbridge champion Ricky Burns.
Favourite Rees took the first two rounds before Crolla, with the crowd (and the Sky commentary team) fully behind him, worked his way into the fight and made it a highly competitive, difficult to score bout. The judges had it 115-113 and 116-113 to Crolla, with one scoring an even 115-115.
After the fight, Crolla's trainer Joe Gallagher told Livefight's John Evans:
“Everyone says that Crolla’s best asset is his jab but that’s the one thing I had to take away from him last night
“We knew that Gavin Rees likes to feed off a jab. We watched his fight with John Watson where he loves to bring his overhand right hand over a lazy jab and we watched a few fights where people had success with a left hook. It was a huge gamble to take away one of Anthony’s best assets and try and bring something else but it paid dividends.”
Read more from Joe Gallagher here.
Paul 'Smigga' Smith (33-3) scored a sixth round TKO over Dodson (29-8-1) to become a two-time British super middleweight champion.
Smith floored Dodson with a left hook in the third. The former was a little unsteady after beating the count but held on to regroup and finish the round strongly.
Dodson suffered a bad cut over his left eye, and the stoppage came at 2:31 of the sixth with Dodson reeling from Smigga's bigger shots. After the fight, he dedicated the win to trainer Gallagher.
A highly successful night for Gallagher also saw unbeaten super bantamweight Scott Quigg (26-0-1) record an impressive third round KO over William 'The Fish' Prado (21-4-1) in his first fight under Matchroom. Quigg dropped the fiesty Brazilian at the end of round two, and finished him off with a right hand in the third.
Brian 'The Lion' Rose (24-1-1) laboured to outpoint Bulgarian Alexey Ribchev (14-7-1) over ten rounds, and certainly didn't have it all his own way. The Blackpool fighter revealed a back injury sustained in training, which he didn't tell coach Bobby Rimmer about, was the reason behind an off-par performance, which the referee perhaps generously scoring 99-93.
Elsewhere on the card, Erick'The Eagle' Ochieng (13-1) outpointed Simone 'Lucky' Lucas (4-17) over six rounds, dropping the Nottingham based middleweight from the Republic of Burundi in the fifth. 2012 Olympian Thomas Stalker (5-0) was ferocious in dropping Hungarian Gyula Vajda (11-3) three times to end it the first round, Welshman Dale Evans (7-1) recorded a narrow 58-57 win over Lancashire journeyman William Warbutton (9-49-2), and Wadi 'Machoman' Camacho (10-1) scored a second round TKO over Hungarian cruiser Atilla Palko (16-6).
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