Anthony Crolla set to meet Jorge Linares in lightweight unification

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Anthony Crolla will meet Jorge Linares in a mega unification bout at the Manchester Arena.

WBA Lightweight champion Crolla will defend his title, with a WBC diamond belt also on the line.

Jorge Linares is one of the best fighters in the world, and the number one Lightweight on the planet. He was last seen on these shores in May of last year, when he beat Britain's Kevin Mitchell in a fight of the year contender.

He was recently stripped of his WBC lightweight belt due to inactivity after recent injury troubles.


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Crolla has had no such issues, he fought twice last year including two battles with then WBA champion Darleys Perez. The Brit arguably deserved to win the first fight, but judges scored the contest a draw, allowing Perez to hold onto his crown. Crolla made no mistake in the rematch by stopping the Columbian with a brutal body shot.

He made the first defence of his title against the dangerous Ismael Barroso in May. He started patiently, allowing the Venezuelan to pile on the pressure, Crolla soaked it all up before stopping Barroso in a similar fashion to Perez, with a devastating body shot.

Crolla had been linked with an all-Mancunian world title unification against WBO king Terry Flanagan, who will defend his title on the Fury-Klitschko 2 undercard.

It has been an incredible turnaround for Crolla, who in little over three years has gone from fighting for the English title in small hall shows, to fighting a world name in Linares.

The winner of the Crolla-Linares bout, will have to face newly minted WBC lightweight champion Dejan Zlaticanin, who claimed the belt over the weekend.

Crolla is in confident mood ahead of the bout at the Manchester Arena, after making the Arena his home in recent times.

He said: "I’m very proud and privileged to be able to bring this fight to Manchester.

“I’ve been a fan of Jorge Linares for years now and he’s technically brilliant at times but like any other fighter, he has vulnerabilities.

"It’s up to me to expose those vulnerabilities and I truly believe that I can and I will. Linares is a great champion but these are the fights you want to be in boxing for."

“He looked well against Cano last time out but he hasn’t been very active, whereas I’m coming off a career-best performance over Barroso. I really believe I’m coming into this fight in the form of my career and as I’ve shown in the fights against Perez and Barroso, I’m capable of improving my game when I have to.

"The last two nights in the Arena have been unbelievable and I think that we’ll take it to another level against Jorge. He’s boxed all over the world and taken on some of the best – but fighting me in front of a packed Manchester crowd is not something you can prepare for.”

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