British Fighters Backing Anthony Crolla

British Fighters Backing Anthony Crolla
"Things are going well," said Crolla, "and the harder you train, the luckier you get."

"Things are going well," said Crolla, "and the harder you train, the luckier you get."
“Things are going well,” said Crolla, “and the harder you train, the luckier you get.”

It sometimes seems as if all of Great Britain is picking Anthony Crolla to retain his WBA World lightweight title by fending off the challenge of Jorge Linares.

Current WBA World super lightweight champion Ricky Burns, among others, expects Crolla to win Saturday night at the Manchester Arena.

“It’s a great fight,” Burns told Sky Sports. “Obviously Anthony is a really nice guy and I get on really well with him.

“Everything he has got, he’s worked hard for and he deserves it. I just cannot see him losing. I think he’s going to go out and do a job on Linares.

“Don’t get me wrong, there are going to be some hard times during this fight, he’s (Linares) a very silky boxer. Obviously when he boxed Kevin, you could see that.

“But I just think Anthony—the wins that he’s had—his confidence is sky-high. The momentum that he’s got going right now, I just think he’s going to get the job done.

“Same as myself, he’s had his setbacks, but he’s kept the head down, kept at it, kept in the gym and hard work pays off.”

IBF World welterweight champion Kell Brook, coming off a gutsy loss to WBA World middleweight champion Gennady Golovkin two weeks ago, is also backing Crolla.

“It’s top fight after fight at the moment and this is the time for British boxing,” he told Sky Sports. “Eddie Hearn and other promoters are putting really good fights on that we all want to see—and 50-50 fights where everyone is talking about it, but they can’t pick them.

“These are the best fights the fans want to see, those that are hard to call. It is hard to split them, but with the wins he’s been having recently, I have to lean towards Crolla.

“This is going to be a barnstormer, one hell of a fight, and I can’t wait to watch this one.

“They both take a lot of shots throughout every round and both can take a shot and both are very clever and professional, so I am looking forward to seeing how it unfolds.

“I think this guy’s (Linares) a lot smarter than people are saying. Even if Crolla tucks up, Linares is not going to burn himself out, he’s just a very clever fighter.

“Crolla’s got to be tidy and clean-cut, get behind the jab—everything comes off that—and box sharp. I am leaning towards him but it is going to come down to who is the best fighter on the night.”

Former WBA/WBC/IBF super middleweight champion Carl Froch, a keen observer of boxing talent if there ever was one, had this to say about Anthony Crolla.

“He has turned into something very special,” wrote Froch on the Sky Sports website. “He is without doubt one of the most popular fighters we have got here in Britain and he thoroughly deserves to be.

“Sometimes when you meet boxers coming up, they are a bit arrogant, full of themselves, but not this lad. He is just a nice guy and it shows that, sometimes, good guys do win.

“If we had been talking about this fight two years ago, we would not have given him a chance of beating Linares. But today’s Crolla has developed into a well-rounded, solid, seasoned world champion and you have got to believe in him.

“When it comes to defending that WBA belt, he is already defending it against the best he can. There are no easy fights for him now and I get the feeling that is exactly what Ant Crolla wants.

“I just think it is in Crolla’s blood now. He is not afraid of anyone. Success breeds confidence and that is what we have seen with him.”

Former WBA/IBF/IBO super lightweight champion Ricky Hatton is also backing Crolla. That the fight with Linares in taking place at the Manchester Arena, where Hatton won his first world title against Kostya Tszyu a decade ago makes this fight all the sweeter.

“Where Anthony has come from is a great example,” said Hatton. “It’s not where you start in boxing, it’s where you finish. He lost a six-rounder early in his career and to Derry Mathews later on, everyone wrote him off and to achieve what he has is a test of his character. I’m very proud of him.

“Anthony is lovely kid, some say he is too nice to be a boxer but there is a mean streak there. He has developed in to a good all round fighter, he has a very exciting style and is brutal body puncher.

“I know he can do the business against Jorge Linares … Anthony has an amazing following now and it’s great to see a fellow Mancunian being such a big draw in our city.”

Crolla appreciates the support of his fellow warriors, but Hatton’s support is something special.

“There’s only one Ricky Hatton and there will only ever be one,” said Crolla. “If I can get a bit of the support and success that Ricky had I’ll be over the moon. The crowds at the Perez and Barroso fights were unbelievable and I am sure it’s going to be rocking on Saturday too.

“I’m just so proud that I’ve been able to pay the fans back for their incredible support I’ve received. I’m not the kind of fighter that will run his mouth at press conferences or call people out, but I will happily fight anyone. You can’t want it more than me, no one does. I’m still taken aback by it all really, I’m just a normal lad that trains hard, but things are going well and the harder you train, the luckier you get.”

This article was penned by the author who is not related to the WBA and the statements, expressions or opinions referenced herein are that of the author alone and not the WBA.

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