Crolla targets world title in courageous comeback bout with Perez
In front of a packed-out Manchester Arena crowd, Anthony Crolla will make a welcomed return to the ring as he attempts to claim the WBA lightweight title from Darleys Perez, seven months after his career was almost ended.
Last December, the 28-year-old sustained a fractured skull and broken ankle when he was viciously hit over the head with a concrete slab, as he bravely confronted burglars.
However, the Manchester-born fighter has shown extreme courage as he prepares to face Colombian competitor Perez for a world crown in front of his rapturous home support (15/2 with Coral to win by KO or TKO).
The returning New Moston fighter almost saw his career prematurely halted, but believes his brutal attack last year worked out for the better in the long-run, claiming it was a blessing in disguise.
“I honestly am in the best shape of my career and I’m in a really good place at the moment,” stated Crolla. “You would expect to hear those sort of things ahead of a world-title fight but without doubt this is the best I have felt. My weight is fantastic and my training has been better than what it has ever been so there will be no excuses on fight night.”
Crolla spent months recovering from his assault after trying to stop thieves entering his neighbours’ house, with doctors previously stating that he would never fight again because of the severity of the injuries sustained (11/8 to win).
“It sounds strange but what happened was probably a blessing in disguise as it has allowed me to get into this condition,” continued Crolla. “After the injury we cut down a bit on the long-distance running that I usually do but I feel more explosive for that as it has allowed me to do different bits of training instead.
“I’ve got an unbelievable team around me that have been getting the best out of me during my training camp and I promise I will give 100 per cent against Perez.”
Perez is confident of destroying the Manchester hero’s dreams of a world title on his home patch, with the South American declaring he only has to go about his usual business to triumph, with the Colombian 6/4 to win on points.
“I believe that I don’t need a knock out to win the fight. I just need to get in the ring and start doing my work,” stated Perez.
“He’ll have everyone in the arena rooting for him. He’ll have the full support of the crowd, but none of that bothers me. I know what I have to do to win and there’s no way I’m going back to Colombia without my World title.”
As a passionate Manchester United fan, Crolla is aiming to have a world title belt to showcase during his team’s Premier League season opener against Tottenham at Old Trafford next month (6/1 for title).
“I can’t wait for the new season,” he stated, “and it would be great to go to the first game against Tottenham with a world title belt.”
Perez praised Crolla as the best British lightweight in the sport, and Manchester’s comeback king will hope he can prove those credentials as he makes a sensational return to the ring on home turf.
Betting tip: Crolla wins by KO or TKO @ 13/2