Anthony Crolla says he is still stunned by the support from former Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson and the rest of the football club after his attack in December – and wants to repay that faith by ripping the WBA World Lightweight title from Darleys Perez at the Manchester Arena on July 18, live on Sky Sports.
Crolla’s World title dreams looked to be all over when he confronted burglars that were trying to break into his neighbour’s home, and the brave boxer suffered a fractured skull and broken ankle in the attack – forcing him out of his January World title date with WBA Lightweight king Richar Abril.
After the attack, support for the 28 year old flooded in from fans and peers from the sporting world, and after making a full recovery and landing a shot at new champion Darleys Perez, ‘Million Dollar’ says that the throng of well-wishers were the driving force behind his recover – and
“I still pinch myself when I think about the call from Sir Alex,” said Crolla. “I really thought it was a wind-up at the time, but as he kept talking I realised it was really Fergie – it was unbelievable. I was feeling pretty low and not really knowing what the future held for me, so getting that call with Sir Alex wishing me all the best and knowing he’d seen what had happened to me was a great boost.
“After that call I Wayne Rooney sent me a signed shirt from the United boys, which was brilliant as I am such a big United fan.
“But as well as the backing of United, the support I have received since the attack has been overwhelming. People always say that you should win World titles for yourself but winning this belt would be the best thank you I could give to everyone that has helped on my road to recovery.”
Crolla’s date with destiny against Perez is part of a huge night of World title action in Manchester as Crolla’s gym-mate Scott Quigg defends his WBA World Super Bantamweight title against Kiko Martinez.
There’s a pair of tasty tussles for vacant British titles as stylish duo Chris Jenkins and Tyrone Nurse lock horns for the Light Welterweight strap and big hitting pair Sam Eggington and Glenn Foot promise a war for the Welterweight crown.
St. Helens’ Martin Murray boxes at Super Middleweight for the second time in quick succession as he targets some huge domestic battles at 168lbs, and there’s a host of young talent on display in unbeaten Gallagher’s gym duo Hosea Burton and Marcus Morrison, while there are outings for Prizefighter Lightweight champion Jono Carroll, former Team GB starlet Charlie Edwards, Sedgefield’s Jeff Saunders, Middleton’s Liam Taylor and Chapel-en-le-Firth’s Jack Massey.
Tickets are on sale priced £40, £60, £80, £100 and £150 through www.manchester-arena.com or by calling 0844 847 8000. VIP’s are available exclusively through www.matchroomboxing.com priced at £300.