September 22, 2016
September 22, 2016
Ricky Hatton

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RICKY HATTON has backed Anthony Crolla to become the first Englishman to win his unification blockbuster with Jorge Linares at the Manchester Arena on Saturday night, live on Sky Sports.

Hatton landed the light-welterweight strap in the same arena in April 2006 when he forced Kostya Tszyu to quit after 11 thrilling rounds.

The ‘Hitman’ will be ringside on Saturday night. Hatton’s fighting days are as memorable for his fanatical supporters as his achievements in the ring, and the Manchester legend is delighted to see Crolla’s support growing as his remarkable story continues.

“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 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 and I’ll be beaming with pride.

“My proudest achievement was my fan base in my career above everything. Anthony has an amazing following now and it’s great to see a fellow Mancunian being such a big draw in our city.

“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.”

Crolla’s clash Linares with is part of a huge night of action in Manchester as John Ryder defends his WBA International Middleweight title against Jack Arnfield.

Callum Johnson lands his first title action against Willbeforce Shihepo for the Commonwealth Light-Heavyweight title, unbeaten Light-Heavyweight Hosea Burton will be in title action Conor Benn tastes his fifth night of action in the paid ranks.