Anthony Crolla says Gavin Rees is the biggest and toughest fight of his career ahead of their clash at the Bolton Arena on Saturday.
Crolla tackles the former light welterweight World champion and recent lightweight title challenger for the vacant WBO Inter-Continental belt on the line and the very real prospect of a World title challenge for the winner.
The Manchester man comes into the fight on the back of a second great British battle with Liverpool’s Derry Mathews and ‘Million Dollar’ expects another cracker tomorrow night.
“This is the toughest and biggest fight of my career,” said Crolla, who tipped the scales at 9st 8lbs 10oz, with Rees scaling 9st 7lbs 15oz. “I really respect Gavin, I watched him before he turned pro. You don’t win World titles if you’re not a very good fighter and that was at the weight above – he boxed Adrien Broner and he certainly didn’t disgrace himself as Broner is someone people are tipping to be the next big superstar in boxing.
“Broner is on a different level to the rest. But there are things that he did that I can try to replicate. I’m my own person and my own fighter and you can’t go into a fight trying to be someone you’re not as you’ll come unstuck – there are things Broner does that I cannot do half as well but I’ve been watching a handful of Gavin’s fights including that one and I’ve got a good idea on how to approach him.
“It doesn’t get much bigger than this – I’m under no illusions that it’s a tough, tough, fight and I will have to go to hell and back to win it but I’ve trained really hard for it and smartly too and I’m looking forward to it.
“Gavin is the height of super bantams or featherweights but he has the strength of a welterweight so we’ve had to bring in a lot of different sparring to work on what Gavin brings to the party. I’m the underdog but it doesn’t bother me, I thrive on it and some of my best performances have been when I have been the underdog and I’m under no illusions of the task ahead but if I get it right on the night I can win it.”
Rees and Crolla headline a fantastic night of action in Bolton, with Liverpool super middleweights Paul Smith and Tony Dodson scrapping for the vacant British title, light middleweight Brian Rose taking on Alexey Ribchev, super bantamweight sensation Scott Quigg returning to action and Team GB’s Olympic boxing captain Thomas Stalker joined by young stars Erick Ochieng, Dale Evans and Wadi Camacho.
Tickets are on sale priced £40, £70 ringside and £120 VIP. Tickets are available at www.matchroomboxing.com or by calling 01277 359900.
PROVISIONAL RUNNING ORDER (WITH WEIGHTS WHERE APPLICABLE)
6pm 6 x 3 mins Cruiserweight Contest
WADI CAMACHO 14st 6lbs 10oz v ATILA PALKO 13st 4lbs 6oz
(Canning Town) (Hungary)
6.20pm 6 x 3 mins Welterweight Contest
DALE EVANS 10st 8lbs 3oz v WILLIAM WARBURTON 10st 8lbs2oz
(St Clears) (Atherton)
6.50pm 6 x 3 mins Light Middleweight Contest
ERICK OCHIENG v SIMONE LUCAS
(Stoke Newington) (Nottingham)
7.20pm 6 x 3 mins Light Welterweight Contest
THOMAS STALKER 9st 13lbs 6oz v GYULA VAJDA 10st
LIVE ON SKY SPORTS HD1 FROM 8pm
10 x 3 mins International Light Middleweight Contest
BRIAN ROSE 11st 3lbs v ALEX RIBCHEV 11st 4lbs 11oz
10 x 3 mins Super Bantamweight Contest
SCOTT QUIGG v WILLIAM PRADO
12 x 3 mins Vacant British Super Middleweight Championship
TONY DODSON 11st 11lbs 10oz v PAUL SMITH 11st 13lbs 12oz
12 x 3 mins Vacant WBO Inter-Continental Lightweight Championship
GAVIN REES 9st 7lbs 15oz v ANTHONY CROLLA 9st 8lbs 10oz