‘I have to pinch myself at times’: Anthony Crolla loving ‘special’ Manchester boxing ahead of Barroso challenge

Anthony Crolla has said that he loves every minute of being at the forefront of the Manchester boxing scene explosion, ahead of his first world title defence against Ismael Barroso.

The 29-year-old from Moston will defend his WBA Lightweight world title on Saturday 7 at Manchester Arena against Venezuelan fighter Barroso.

And Crolla – whose roller-coaster 2015 saw him bounce back from being hospitalised by crooks to win his first world title in his 37th fight against Darleys Perez – spoke of his immense pride in being part of the flourishing Manchester and British boxing scene.

“Manchester boxing is absolutely flying at the minute,” he told MM.

“I grew up in the days of Ricky Hatton and to now be one of the lads who’s at the front of pushing Manchester boxing forward is very special.

“I have to pinch myself at times.”

If Crolla does come through a stern challenge in Barroso, many people will be hoping for a local derby with fellow Mancunian world title holder Terry Flanagan.

While the fight may be hard to arrange due to disagreements between Eddie Hearn and Frank Warren – who promote Crolla and Flanagan respectively – Crolla confirmed to MM that he would love to make the fight happen.

“Manchester boxing is at an all-time high and we’ve got me and Terry Flanagan there, two Manchester lads how went to the same school,” he said.

“We both want it to happen but obviously I’ve got my fight with Barroso first and Terry’s got whoever he’s going to fight next.

“If he comes through that we can look at a date later in the year to put on a huge show for Manchester boxing and also British boxing.”

Image courtesy of Matchroom Boxing, with thanks

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