Darleys Perez says he will destroy the World title dreams of Manchester hero Anthony Crolla when he defends his WBA Lightweight title for the first time at the Manchester Arena on Saturday night (July 18) live on Sky Sports.
Perez crosses the Atlantic for the first time in his pro career to face ‘Million Dollar’, who has recovered from a life threatening attack in December to land his first World title shot.
The Colombian was elevated to full champion in April after Richar Abril was stripped of the title and the 31 year old is aiming to build on an impressive year having landed the interim title last June against Argenis Lopez and made two impressive defences before his promotion, stopping Jaider Parra halfway through his first defence on home soil in October and registering a landslide points victory over Jonathan Maicelo in January in California.
The champion knows that the hometown crowd will be desperate to see Crolla’s bravery rewarded by World title glory on Saturday night, but the visitor says he will be able to handle the hostile atmosphere and retain his crown.
“It’s going to be very loud and the crowd will be pro Crolla,” said Perez. “I believe that I don’t need a knockout to win the fight. I just need to get in the ring and start doing my work.
“He’ll have everyone in the arena rooting for him. He’ll have the full support of the crowd, but none of that bothers me. I know what I have to do to win and there’s no way I’m going back to Colombia without my World title.”
Crolla was meant to face Abril in January before he suffered horrific injuries when challenging burglars at his neighbour’s home in December, and it was Crolla’s old foe Mathews that was set to meet Abril until the then-champion withdrew from the fight.
Perez is familiar with Crolla, Mathews and a number of Britain’s best Lightweights like Kevin Mitchell, Ricky Burns and Luke Campbell MBE, and while he believes he is facing the best that Britain has to offer in the 135lbs division, he says he will expose Crolla’s flaws to keep his title.
“I will show the day of the fight how I will exploit his mistakes,” said Perez. “Crolla is the best British Lightweight. He moves well, has a good jab and is an all-round good boxer. But I know that I am going to get the win and maybe I will return and beat another British Lightweight.”
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.