Anthony Crolla says that he’s done everything he can to make sure he’s in the shape of his life for his rematch with Jorge Linares for the WBA, WBC Diamond and Ring Magazine World Lightweight titles tonight at the Manchester Arena, live on Sky Sports.
The Lightweight stars clash again following their epic battle in September that Linares edged. The Venezuelan star returns to place the straps on the line against the hometown hero, looking for a third win in the UK after defeating Kevin Mitchell in another fight of the year contender.
‘Million Dollar’ Crolla has heeded the advice of trainer Joe Gallagher and locked himself away from friends and family to get in the best shape possible – and the Manchester hero believes that will pay off tomorrow night.
“I feel fantastic,” said Crolla, who scaled 9st 8lbs 8oz, 4oz heavier than the defending champion. “I feel better than I have ever felt. Camp has gone really well and there will certainly be no excuses tonight. I have had no distractions outside of camp and everything is good. It is a matter now of showing in the ring the improvements I have been showing in the gym.
“For fight week I have been living in a hotel, no distractions. I am covering all bases. After this fight I can say I have given everything, not just in training but outside of camp too. I have had no social life for the past few months and I will walk to the ring knowing that, knowing I have prepared in the best way I possibly can. There will be no ‘what if I had done this’, ‘what if I had done that’ – I have prepared the best I possibly can.
“I understand what Joe was saying and I think in the past I have been a bit stupid. I was running around with tickets at the last minute and stressing over things. I have been told it isn’t a good thing to do and I haven’t done that this time.
“It isn’t in any way used as an excuse for last time – I was here, there and everywhere not just with tickets but with lots of other things. That is only my fault – I didn’t want to let people down but I should have been concentrating on other things. This time I am a lot more relaxed and I believe I have prepared better.”
Crolla’s clash with Linares is part of a huge night of action in Manchester where there’s a crossroads battle of Blackpool as Middleweights Brian Rose and Jack Arnfield lock horns.
Martin J. Ward defends his British Super-Featherweight title against Maxi Hughes in their third clash in the paid ranks, Marcus Morrison defends his WBC International Middleweight strap against Jason Welborn, while his Joe Gallagher gym-mate Hosea Burton looks to bounce back into title contention from his epic battle with Frank Buglioni, Irish sensation Katie Taylor fights for the fourth time as a pro, while there’s also action for Tomi Tatham, Ben Sheedy, Nathan Wheatley and Sean McGoldrick.
Tickets are on sale priced at £40, £60, £80, £100 and £150 and available from www.manchesterarena.com or by calling 0844 847 8000. VIPs tickets are exclusively available through www.matchroomboxing.com priced at £250.
Face value tickets for March 25 will also be available from http://www.stubhub.co.uk/matchroom-boxing-tickets/ . StubHub is the official ticket partner and marketplace of Matchroom Boxing and Anthony Joshua.
4 x 3 mins Bantamweight Contest
SEAN McGOLDRICK v BRETT FIDOE
(Newport, Wales) (Evesham)
6 x 3 mins Middleweight Contest
BEN SHEEDY v ROB BROWN
8 x 3 mins Light-Heavyweight contest
HOSEA BURTON (13st 3oz) v TAMAS KOZMA (12st 13lbs 3oz)
4 x 3 mins Super-Middleweight Contest
NATHAN WHEATLEY v CHRIS JENKINSON
6/8 x 3 mins Light-Heavyweight Contest
TOMI TATHAM v KAREL HOREJSEK
(Bentham) (Czech Republic)
4 x 3 mins Cruiserweight Contest
LAWRENCE OKOLIE (14st 5lbs 4oz) v GEOFFREY CAVE (13st 13lbs 1oz)
LIVE 7pm on Sky Sports 1
12 x 3 mins British Super-Featherweight Championship
MARTIN J WARD (9st 3lbs 5oz) v MAXI HUGHES (9st 3lbs 8oz)
10 x 3 mins WBC International Middleweight Championship
MARCUS MORRISON (11st 5lbs 4oz) v JASON WELBORN (11st 5lbs 3oz)
8 x 2 mins Super-Featherweight contest
KATIE TAYLOR (9st 8lbs 8oz) v MILENA KOLEVA (9st 6lbs 2oz)
(Bray, Ireland) (Sliven, Bulgaria)
12 x 3 mins WBA International Middleweight Championship
BRIAN ROSE (11st 5 & 1/2lbs) v JACK ARNFIELD (11st 4lbs 7oz)
12 x 3 mins WBA, WBC Diamond & Ring Magazine Lightweight Championship
JORGE LINARES (9st 8lbs 4oz) v ANTHONY CROLLA (9st 8lbs 8oz)