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Courageous Crolla obsessed by world title on eve of battle

Lee Gormley | November 10, 2015

Crolla obsessed with winning WBA crown

Four months after being cruelly denied the WBA lightweight title, Anthony Crolla will return to the ring in front of his home fans in Manchester for a second shot at reigning champion Darleys Perez, for their anticipated rematch.

Crolla (29-4-3, 11 KOs) came within a whisker of securing his maiden world title in a 12-round thriller against Colombian Perez (32-1-1, 20 KOs) at the Manchester Arena in July but, despite seemingly dominating the bout, the encounter was judged as a draw.

Boxing - High Stakes - Manchester Arena

Crolla targets dream world title

The 29-year-old will soon return to the scene of his initial title contest on November 21st in front of the Sky Sports cameras, and is odds-on 5/6 with Coral to triumph this time out, something he has been obsessing about achieving since his first Perez meeting.

“I think about winning the world title in Manchester every single day,” said Crolla. “I think about it going into the gym, before I go to sleep, over and over.

“I am sure the real thing will be even better than how I imagine it, and that is what I want to experience on November 21st.

Boxing - High Stakes - Manchester Arena

“I will do everything I can to make that dream come true. It has been a dream since I first laced a pair of gloves, every fighter has the same dream, and there would be no better setting than to do it in front of my hometown people.”

Lightweight division tough

The Mancunian just fell short of dethroning Perez in his hometown, as Perez retained his strap after a bizarre majority draw decision, despite the South American being docked two points for low blows. However, ‘Million Dollar’ Crolla was granted a deserved rematch by the WBA, following an appeal, and is hoping to claim glory in a tough division.

“The division is very, very strong and it is great to be a part of it. There are four or five fighters in the division who are world-level fighters,” continued Crolla, who is 20/1 to endure another home draw this month.

Boxing - Scott Quigg and Anthony Crolla Public Work-outs - intu Trafford Centre

“There are many great domestic fights to be had for world titles and hopefully I can bring home that title and then I don’t necessarily be needing to go across the pond for big lightweight fights as there are ones right here in Britain.

“I still get goosebumps thinking about the ring walk now. To have 12,000 people in an arena like that, it was surreal. I am a lad who has been going there since before the Ricky Hatton days, seeing boxers like your Naseem Hameds and your Michael Brodies, to experience it as a fighter, it was a dream come true.”

Crolla’s turbulent year

Crolla has had to overcome a lot in the last year, having entered his earlier title bout after being attacked by intruders which he had thwarted at his neighbour’s home, but the Manchester fighter has remarkably forgiven his aggressors.

“I’ve got no idea who it was [that attacked him], it never came out who did it to me, and I’m pretty sure I will never find out,” Crolla admitted.

Boxing - High Stakes - Manchester Arena

“I’ve got to move on and I hope they have as well, that they are healthy and they are in a better place than robbing people’s houses.

“I forgive them.”

“There’s no point in being bitter or really angry about it, building anger up inside you, because I will never find out the answer to who did it. It doesn’t do you any good.

“My dream of becoming world champion in is still on track so I don’t hold any grudges. I forgive them.”

The visiting title holder is even-money to overcome Crolla on his home patch but, with an abundance of supporters in Manchester and beyond, the challenger will look to end his recent obsessing and finally realise his dream of becoming world champion.

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