Anthony Crolla's next fight dilemma

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Anthony Crolla announced himself as a star of world boxing last weekend with a sensational knockout win over the much feared Venezuelan Ismael Barroso.

Crolla rode the early storm and soaked up the best the Barroso had to offer before taking control of the fight in the middle rounds as his opponent tired and completed the job in the seventh round with a body shot.

His tactics were spot on and he once again raised his game on the biggest stage to come through a test many thought would be a step too far for him. The question is now, where does he go from here?


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Barroso was the most feared man in the division and by beating him Crolla must be considered as arguably the top lightweight in the world at this moment in time. The two names everyone is talking about with regards to Crolla's next fight are fellow Mancunian and WBO lightweight champion Terry Flanagan, and Jorge Linares who is the WBC title-holder.

Both of these fights are huge as they are title unification bouts but which route should Crolla and his team take?

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Terry Flanagan

The 26-year-old is a fellow Mancunian and that in itself sells the fight an enormous amount. A world title unification bout between two men from the same city is a rare occasion and the opportunity to prove he is the best in Manchester might be too hard to for Crolla refuse.

Flanagan's team are aggressively pursuing the fight but, although he is an unbeaten world champion, he is not considered a high-profile fighter even in the UK and with the attention Crolla is starting to get across the pond in the US, he may be able to get a bigger pay day and more exposure elsewhere.

Boxing at Echo Arena Liverpool

Crolla doesn't need this fight as much as Flanagan and that might just be a stumbling block in negotiations. Having said that, Crolla has shown a willingness to take on anyone and everyone who presents a challenge to him and it would still be a huge event if he chooses to fight Flanagan in Manchester.

Jorge Linares

This might be the most appealing fight for Crolla as already there have been ideas thrown around that it could take place in Las Vegas and it too would be a unification bout as Linares is the WBC champion in the division.

If talks come to fruition, the chance to fight in Vegas on a big pay per view in the US would be difficult to turn down for Crolla and his team and it could really catapult his career to a new level even if he were to lose.

Boxing at O2 Arena

Linares also presents a tougher challenge than Flanagan in many people's eyes, he carries knockout power and is a highly skilled fighter as seen when he disposed of Kevin Mitchell in May last year at the O2 Arena. Crolla openly wants to take on the very best and the challenge of facing Linares will likely stir his ambition and lure him into the fight.

The Venezuelan is also a much bigger name than Flanagan and is a man who already has a presence in the US having fought in Vegas and California multiple times, meaning the fight would draw more worldwide attention regardless of where it takes place.

Boxing at Manchester Arena

Both fights have credibility and could lure Crolla in for very different reasons, and either way he will have the chance to pick up a second belt in the division, it might just come down to his personal preference. Will he choose the more lucrative financial option of taking on Linares or opt to settle who owns the lightweight crown in his city and take on Flanagan?

Only time will tell but hopefully one of these two fights will materialise, because either way, fans will be in for another thrilling fight night.

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