Scott Quigg and Anthony Crolla say their bond in the gym will translate into World title glory tonight at the Manchester Arena, live on Sky Sports.
The Manchester fighters are friends outside the gym and push each other to the limit in Joe Gallagher’s factory of champions, and Crolla believes the atmosphere in the gym will spur him onto success against WBA Lightweight champion Darleys Perez and complete an incredible period in ‘Million Dollar’s’ life as he recovered from a brutal attack in December to challenge for a World title.
“Scott and I are mates as well as being in the gym together,” said Crolla, who scaled (9st 8st 8oz) at Friday’s weigh-in, as did champion Perez. “Scott trains so hard it’s unbelievable, and training alongside him can only inspire you to work hard. We’ve trained side-by-side for a few camps in a row now and I love being in camp with him.
“Rollercoaster doesn’t do the last eight months justice – it’s been a mad time. I know how easy World title shots can come after what happened so I was never going to turn down this chance, but also, I wouldn’t take on the task without knowing 100 per cent that I can win the title and that’s what I am going to do on Saturday night.
“I couldn’t write the script any better. To be fighting for a World title in Manchester along with Scott. It’s one of the best cards of recent times in British boxing, so to be a part of it is so exciting.”
Quigg’s WBA World Super Bantamweight defence against Martinez comes before Crolla’s fight and while the unbeaten Bury star knows it’s the hardest fight of his career, he is desperate for his mate to land the World title after him.
“Last year, we did three camps together, pushing each other and swimming together at 5am,” said Quigg, who tipped the scales at (8st 9lbs 12oz), two ounces heavier than the Spanish challenger. “When he came back to the gym following the attack it was a massive boost to everyone, and for him to have a World title shot is great. There was talk he wouldn’t fight again, so to come back and get into the shape of his life is great.
“We say that things happen for a reason, you make them happen with the things you do. His body’s better, he’s stronger, quicker and more ready than he would have been if he’d have fought for the title in January.
“I said to him about the attack: ‘Your defence wasn’t too clever, you need to work on your peripheral vision!’ We can have a bit of a giggle now but it was a very dangerous thing that happened to him. He’s lucky to be alive, a quarter of an inch either-way and he could’ve been dead.”
Quigg and Crolla’s World title fights top a huge night of championship boxing in Manchester tonight.
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.
Limited tickets remain on sale priced £40, £60, £80, £100 and £150 through www.manchester-arena.com or by calling 0844 847 8000.
Running order (subject to change) and selected weights
4:45pm 6 x 3 mins Super-Featherweight Contest
JONO CARROLL v BARRINGTON BROWN
5:10pm 4 x 3 mins Light-Welterweight Contest
JEFF SAUNDERS v ISTVAN KISS
5:30pm 6 x 3 mins Light-Heavyweight Contest
HOSEA BURTON v NATHAN KING
(Manchester) (Mountain Ash)
5:55pm 6 x 3 mins Cruiserweight Contest
JACK MASSEY v MARTYN GRAINGER
6:20pm 4 x 3 mins Light-Middleweight Contest
MARCUS MORRISON v LASZLO FAZEKAS
Pre 7pm Float 4/6 x 3 mins Light-Welterweight Contest
LIAM TAYLOR v MARK McKRAY
Float 6 x 3 mins Super-Flyweight Contest
CHARLIE EDWARDS v JUAN HINOSTROZA
LIVE ON SKY SPORTS 1 7pm
12 x 3 mins Vacant British Light-Welterweight Championship
CHRIS JENKINS (9st 13lbs) v TYRONE NURSE (9st 13lbs 8oz)
12 x 3 mins British (Vacant) and Commonwealth Welterweight Championship
SAM EGGINGTON (10st 6lbs 12oz) v GLENN FOOT (10st 5lbs 8oz)
8 x 3 mins Super Middleweight Contest
MARTIN MURRAY (12st 1lbs) v MIRZET BAJREKTAREVIC (12st 3lbs 8oz)
(St Helens) (Croatia)
12 x 3 mins WBA World Super Bantamweight Championship
SCOTT QUIGG (8st 9lbs 12oz) v KIKO MARTINEZ (8st 9lbs 10oz)
12 x 3 mins WBA World Lightweight Championship
ANTHONY CROLLA (9st 8st 8oz) v DARLEYS PEREZ (9st 8st 8oz)