Exclusive: WBC champ Zlaticanin predicts Crolla-Linares punch-fest

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Current WBC lightweight champion Dejan Zlaticanin says he doesn’t see a knockout happening when divisional rivals Anthony Crolla and Jorge Linares fight in the fall.

Crolla and Linares collide on September 24 in Manchester for the former’s WBA belt and the latter’s WBC Diamond title, with the winner assured of a contest with Zlaticanin at some point in the future.

Promoter Eddie Hearn has billed Crolla v Linares as ‘Two Worlds Collide’ – but with many predicting fireworks and an explosive finish, Zlaticanin sees a more tactical battle ensuing when the pair trade blows.

“I think that Anthony Crolla v Jorge Linares is a 50/50 fight and will go to the final bell,” Zlaticanin exclusively told World Boxing News.

“They winner at the end of the fight will be the smarter guy. I think Crolla will try to own the middle of the ring and push Linares back.

“I expect there will be a lot of punches thrown in the fight, but not the knockout.”

He added: “Maybe I will go to the fight and be ringside to see for myself who I will fight but I will see about that with my manager.

Zlaticanin won the green strap when defeating Franklin Mamani in June and is allowed a voluntary defense before opening negotiations with whoever gets their hands raised in England.

“I think I will fight next in the second half of November,” Zlaticanin revealed.

“I can’t wait to get in the ring again and I want a lot of blood in my next fight.”