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Quigg rooting for good friend Crolla

By Mark Staniforth

Anthony Crolla insists he is ready to return stronger than ever from the brutal assault which almost left his boxing career in ruins.

Crolla had been preparing for a world title shot at Richar Abril when he was attacked by burglars outside his home in December, leaving him with a fractured skull and a broken ankle.

But after staging a remarkable recovery, the 28-year-old from Manchester will get his chance in front of his home city fans tonight when he bids for the WBA lightweight crown held by Colombian Darleys Perez.

Crolla said: "I need a career-best performance to win but the way I have prepared and the way I feel physically and mentally, I know I can bring that performance out of myself.

"Physically I am in the best shape of my life, without a doubt. I've had no injuries or niggles, which is a relief after everything that happened."

Perez comes into the bout with a strong 33-fight professional record including 20 inside-the-distance wins, his only defeat coming to world-class Cuban Yuriorkis Gamboa in 2013.

Also on the card, Scott Quigg faces an equally tough challenge as he defends his WBA super-bantamweight title against unpredictable Spaniard Kiko Martinez.

Martinez has come up short twice against prospective Quigg rival Carl Frampton in Belfast, losing his European title then his World crown, but has also claimed notable wins away from home including over American Jhonathan Romero and Hozumi Hasegawa in Japan.

Quigg said: "He (Martinez) is not worried about travelling around the world because he's been from America to Japan and all over Europe.

"He's game, he's ready but he's not going to be ready enough. I know what I have to do and the way I have prepared in the gym."

Quigg's title defence comes before good friend Crolla's fight and while the unbeaten Bury star knows it's the hardest fight of his career, he is desperate for his mate to land the world title after him.

"Last year, we had three camps together, pushing each other and swimming together at 5am," said Quigg, who tipped the scales at 8st 9lb 12oz, two ounces heavier than the Spanish challenger.

"When he came back to the gym following the attack it was a massive boost to everyone, and for him to have a world title shot is great.

"There was talk he wouldn't fight again, so to come back and get into the shape of his life is great.

"We say that things happen for a reason, you make them happen with the things you do.

"His body's better now and he's stronger, quicker and more ready than he would have been if he'd have fought for the title in January."

Belfast Telegraph


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