ANTHONY CROLLA looks set to get his attempt at revenge over WBA world lightweight champion Jorge Linares on March 25 at the Manchester Arena.
Linares outpointed Crolla in a standout 12-rounder in September to lift the WBA belt, with attention quickly turning to a rematch given the entertainment provided and the close result.
Boxing News understands that a deal for the return is close to being finalised and it will take place at the same venue their first encounter was held in. It is believed a few minor things need to be signed off by the WBC before an official announcement is made.
Linares never lost his WBC world lightweight title in the ring and the governing body put their ‘Diamond’ title on the line for the first fight with Crolla. Dejan Zlaticanin holds the legitimate title previously vacated by Linares and defends it against Mikey Garcia in January.
The winners of both respective fights must then face each other in what will be a unification clash later in the year.
Crolla – as dedicated as they come – is already in the gym with trainer Joe Gallagher as he prepares to once try and topple division leader Linares.
Linares’ win over Crolla was his only fight of 2016, having had troubles with injuries. Crolla has had a phenomenal run of from since 2015. He drew with Darleys Perez before knocking him out in the immediate rematch to lift the WBA title. He then upset the odds to knock out heavy-handed Ismael Barroso in his first defence, his last fight before pushing Linares to the wire.
All that came after he had recovered from sustaining career-threatening injuries while trying to stop a couple of burglars in his neighbourhood in 2014.
Former super-bantamweight world champion Scott Quigg could also feature on the Linares-Crolla II card as he continues his run at featherweight, having moved up after his points loss to Carl Frampton in February.
However if he were to secure a big fight at the new weight, there is more chance of him being added to one of the two pay-per-view Matchroom Boxing shows confirmed for 2017; David Haye-Tony Bellew on March 4 and Anthony Joshua-Wladimir Klitschko on April 29.