Crolla can continue career fairytale in Linares lightweight challenge on home territory


Lee Gormley | September 22, 2016

Crolla can continue career fairytale at home

Since making a remarkable recovery from horrific injuries sustained at the backend of 2014, Manchester favourite Anthony Crolla has gone from strength to strength and can continue his fairytale career story on home soil this Saturday night.

The 29-year-old was attacked when intervening to halt burglars at a neighbour’s house and brutally assaulted with a concrete slab, but has since returned to enjoy the best form of his life in the ring, rallying to a gallant WBA lightweight title triumph.

Crolla (31-4-3, 13 KOs) bounced back from an initial draw against former title holder Darleys Perez to stop the Colombian at the Manchester Arena, before successfully defending his crown against Ismael Barroso in fine fashion at the same venue.

With the Joe Gallagher trained fighter having made the prestigious Manchester venue his fortress, he will enter it at 9/4 with Coral to earn another knockout victory in front of his passionate supporters against dangerous Venezuelan Linares (40-3, 27 KOs).

Manchester’s finest set for further success

‘Million Dolla’ Crolla has already toppled a Venezuela native when impressively dispatching Barroso last May in the seventh round of his first title defence, and the reigning champion is 6/1 to end Linares’ night in rounds 7-9 this time out.

The in-form WBA title holder’s recent career story could easily be mistaken for a Hollywood move script on paper, with his low points being overcome with massive highs in the squared-circle, and he is confident of adding the next successful chapter this weekend.

“I rate Linares very highly but I genuinely believe I’ll have an answer for whatever he shows me,” declared Crolla, who is 6/4 to prevail on points.

“I’ve got to take advantage of some weaknesses…”

“He’s technically brilliant and I’ve got to be switched on from the opening bell. He’s a very good counter-puncher, so I know I can’t be lazy at any stage.

“He likes to fight at his pace and I can’t allow that. I’ve got to take advantage of some weaknesses that I think I’ve seen there. I’m confident I can do that.

“Kevin Mitchell was seconds away from winning but Jorge dragged himself off the floor and came from behind to get the stoppage. That’s what true champions do.”

Most fight fans will remember Linares as the man who ultimately got off the floor to end Mitchell’s career last year in London, and the three-weight world champion is 11/8 to halt Crolla’s rampant run in front of a partisan Manchester crowd.

An all-Mancunian match-up between WBA champion Crolla and WBO strap holder Terry Flanagan has been mooted for some time now, and it’s a unification showdown that would bring such a great sporting city to a standstill.

Although, Crolla must first deal with the latest threat of challenger Linares on home soil, with the coveted Ring magazine strap also on the line, before moving on to further prosperous fight nights in his career.


Read our extensive boxing archive ahead of the big fight this weekend.

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