Anthony Crolla MBE wants to create a boxing legacy – and says that begins by beating Jorge Linares when they clash for the WBA, WBC Diamond and vacant Ring Magazine Lightweight World titles at the Manchester Arena on September 24, live on Sky Sports.
WBA king Crolla is hunting a third KO win in World title fights at his hometown fortress having landed brutal body shots to first rip the title from Darleys Perez in their November rematch and then destroy the avoided Ismael Barroso in his first defence in May.
‘Million Dollar’ believes the winner of his clash with three-weight World king Linares will prove they are the best Lightweight in the world, and the 29 year old says that he only wants to fight the best after achieving his World title dream.
“This is a legacy fight for me,” said Crolla. “Every young kid wants to become a World Champion and I’ve done that now. I don’t want people to think I’ve settled with that, I’m hungrier than ever and I like the huge nights way too much to let it go now – I’m happy to win the belts and go to Vegas for the rematch though!
“Sometimes I have to pinch myself to see myself at how I’ve got here. Everyone in the gym are fans of Jorge Linares – Callum Smith isn’t sure who to cheer for on the night! I think he’s a great fighter, but on the night that respect goes out the window and we’re fighting for one of the great prizes in the sport.
“The Arena is going to be rocking and that’s my house, and I want to keep those three belts in Manchester. We’re working so, so hard in the gym because Jorge Linares is a phenomenal fighter, and I’m honoured to be fighting him in my house.
“I’ve done that ring walk so many times in front of a huge crowd and you can’t beat that feeling, the energy the crowd will give me is going to help me produce the career-best performance I will need to beat Jorge Linares.”
Venezuelan star Linares is no stranger to English soil having beaten Kevin Mitchell in London in an epic battle for his WBC strap last May, and the 31 year old is delighted to be back in the UK and looking to add more hardware to his impressive collection.
“It’s another big fight and big event that I’m grateful to God to be a part of,” said Linares. “Anthony and I have similar styles, there’s lots of respect between us and we’re working very hard because I know it’s going to be a tough fight but I want to win those belts.”
A packed undercard in support of Crolla’s meeting with Linares includes John Ryder defending his WBA International Middleweight title against Jack Arnfield, Isaac Lowe defends his Commonwealth Featherweight title against Tshifhiwa Munyai and Conor Benn tastes his fifth night of action in the paid ranks with an appearance first at The O2 in London on September 10.