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Anthony Crolla says Manchester farewell will be ‘a real fight’

The veteran lightweight has his last fight coming in November.

Boxing Press Conference Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images
Scott Christ is the managing editor of Bad Left Hook and has been covering boxing for SB Nation since 2006.

Anthony Crolla’s had a career most didn’t expect him to have after he lost a fight back in 2008 to a 3-8-1 fighter named Youssef Al Hamidi, and then lost another fight in 2009 to Gary Sykes.

Crolla, now 32, persevered. He won the English super featherweight title in 2010 and the British lightweight title in 2011, losing the latter to Derry Mathews in 2012. He looked like a solid domestic-level fighter in the United Kingdom — he drew with Mathews in a 2013 rematch and his best wins came over guys like John Murray and Gavin Rees.

But Crolla just kept fighting. In 2015, he went to a stunning draw with Darleys Perez, stunning in that Crolla should have won on points and become the new WBA “world” lightweight titleholder — a secondary title, but a claim all the same. He beat Perez by fifth round knockout in a rematch four months later, officially reaching a peak that was long figured beyond his reach.

After a successful defense against Ismael Barroso, Crolla lost two decisions to Jorge Linares in Manchester, won three more fights, and got a crack at Vasiliy Lomachenko, arguably the top pound-for-pound fighter in the sport, this past April.

Loma-Crolla went about as expected, as the Ukrainian was way too much for Crolla, which he candidly spoke about after the fight. He said then that it may have been the end of the line for him, but left it open to come back for a farewell fight by the end of the year.

He’ll do that on Nov. 2, back home in Manchester, on the Katie Taylor vs Christina Linardatou card on DAZN and Sky Sports.

“It’s the last one, and if it weren’t going to be Manchester I probably wouldn’t have had another one,” Crolla said.

“I genuinely believe I can compete at world level for another year or two, but I bang on about it and you hear me say it, you stay in boxing too long and it takes more from you than you take from boxing and I don’t want to be that guy. It’s going to be tough walking away and it will take a bit of getting used to but I’ll stay involved in the sport and deal with it the best I can. Now I’m just buzzing to be back in the gym.”

Crolla (34-7-3, 13 KO) made his pro debut at Manchester Arena — then MEN Arena — back in 2006, and has fought at the venue a total of 12 times, going 8-2-2 (4 KO) so far.

“Nov. 2 it’s back to where it all started, the arena that has so many memories for me. Boxing has been good to me, it’s taken me to some very special places and made life easier for myself and my family so I’m very thankful, but I’ve got to be sensible. I can’t fight on emotions, I’ve got to go out there and do a job. I can be emotional after,” he said.

Crolla doesn’t have an opponent yet, but says it will be a “real fight,” and not something easy meant to send him off with a hometown victory.

“The win is so important, I don’t want a six-rounder for the ego,” he said. “So if people are going to spend their hard earned money it should be a real fight. It’s a great card, and it’s going to be a great night in Manchester and I’m happy to be apart of it, and I’m very thankful to be here one last time.”

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