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Anthony Crolla suffers fractured skull while defending neighbor’s property

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Anthony Crolla's January 23 world title shot is off, after the boxer was seriously injured interrupting a burglary at his neighbor's home.

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Lightweight contender Antony ‘Million Dolla' Crolla had his WBA title-shot dreams shattered by a concrete slab on Tuesday night. The English boxer suffered a fractured skull and broken ankle in the process of accosting two men who were burgling a neighbor's home.

The two men had left the neighboring property and were making their escape through Crolla's back garden in Oldham, England when he went after them and gave chase.

As Crolla struggled with one of the men, the other ran back and struck him in the head with a slab of concrete. The blow fractured Crolla's skull and caused him to break his ankle in two places as he fell.

His trainer Joe Gallagher says his charge is "lucky to be alive". He will need surgery on the ankle and today will be undergoing CT scans to determine the extent of the head injuries and to see if any brain damage has been suffered.

Crolla had been due to face WBA lightweight champion Richar Abril in Manchester, England on January 23. His promoter Eddie Hearn has confirmed that fight is now cancelled and says he will be working with the Cuban's team to try and rearrange it.

With 29 wins from 35 professional fights, Crolla was already deep into his training camp for what would have been the biggest fight of his professional career. His trainer Gallagher told BBC Sport the fighter is "in bits and heartbroken".

"I'm devastated for him. He has been training for six weeks for this and has a shot at the world title in his home town. I have spoken to Richar Abril's team and we are trying to reschedule the fight." Hearn told the same outlet.

A friend of Crolla's tells Bad Left Hook that the boxer "had fifteen stitches in his head for the injury and doesn't remember much, although he also says he didn't go unconscious. Some people will say he is crazy to have chased burglars a few weeks out from a title fight, but that is just the kind of lad he is, he'd do anything for anyone."

Crolla is the third English boxer to suffer injury at the hands of criminals this year. Former European champion Jamie Moore was shot in both legs while on holiday in Spain in August and welterweight champion Kell Brook was the victim of a machete attack on the holiday island of Tenerife the following month.