WBA Lightweight Champion Jorge Linares and former titlist Anthony Crolla held a press conference on Tuesday in Manchester, England, to formally announce their upcoming rematch on Saturday, March 25 at the Manchester Arena in the north of England.
Linares (41-3, 27 KOs) narrowly outpointed defending champion Crolla (31-5-3, 13 KOs) last September in a thrilling battle in Crolla’s hometown of Manchester.
The WBC has mandated that the winner of Linares-Crolla II must face the winner of this Saturday’s Showtime televised matchup between Dejan Zlaticanin and undefeated two-division titlist Mikey Garcia.
below what the fighters had to say on Tuesday:
“I wasn’t supposed to win the first fight, but I’m glad I did so I can come back and do it again.
“The belts mean so much to me and my country, and I am going to work very hard to make sure that I take them home again.
“It’s a new year and a new day. Anthony is going to be better and hungrier, and that means I will work harder, come with more skill and an even better game plan to win.
“I hope to see another huge crowd in Manchester and we’re going to provide the fans with another beautiful fight.”
“I want the belt back, simple. Fighting for these prizes in front of us is huge. I’m so lucky to have a second chance and it’s one I have to take.
“It was a special night last time, great crowd and it’ll be even bigger this time. The setting was perfect but I lost my belt. I lost to a great fighter but I don’t celebrate losing, I don’t want to feel it again and I want to go down in history by beating a great fighter.
“I am better in rematches and I’m locking myself away to work harder and smarter to make sure these belts stay here.
“Jorge is the best and I want to be the best – beating him stakes my claim. I didn’t win the first one but I had success and I can work on that.
“We’ve both got great teams behind us, and I believe if I make the right changes for the fight I will take the titles.”
“The first fight was a hell of a fight. Anthony was the favorite and now Jorge is the favorite.
“Anthony is the challenger in this rematch. He’s had success in rematches before – he did it against Darleys Perez and he came back better. He needs to do that again against Jorge, No. 1 in the division.
“It gives me huge pleasure to announce that the fight will be on SHOWTIME in the U.S. and I want to thank Stephen Espinosa and his team for making this happen.”
“I need a nasty Anthony Crolla for this fight. Jorge is the best in the world so I need to keep him locked away and getting nasty – he won’t be doing any fan signings or selling tickets. If you like Anthony and care about him, leave him alone, let him work, and come and watch him win on the night.”
“I didn’t know how Jorge was going to react to the fans as I know that Anthony has great fans. I think that Jorge won a lot of fans that night and he’ll have his share in the rematch.
“Anthony didn’t have to take the fight, he could’ve gone elsewhere and got some wins, but that shows what a man this guy is. He wants the belts and we expect a better Anthony. I said you would see the best Jorge ever and you did – he’s going to be even better this time.”
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January 24, 2017