For Anthony Crolla, April 12th is all about ‘’shocking the world’’.
The former WBA World Lightweight Champion is aiming to win back the title he lost to Jorge Linares in 2016, as he takes on Vasily Lomachenko in Los Angeles, California. Crolla is coming into the fight off the back of a win over top contender Daud Yordan, whereas Lomachenko, considered by many to be the best fighter in the world, holds all the gold in the Lightweight division.
Ahead of the biggest fight of his career, Crolla spoke of the gruelling training camp he has endured: ‘’The camp has been the most brutal I’ve had physically and mentally, but I’m in the best shape of my life.’’
‘’I’m going over there on April 12th to shock the world. I’ve left no stone unturned preparing for this fight.’’
Crolla is used to being a fan, and often hometown, favourite having only fought once before in the States, on the undercard of a Floyd Mayweather fight in 2011, but he isn’t afraid of a potential hostile atmosphere: ‘’It won’t feel like hostile territory, I’m taking over good support so they’ll make enough noise, trust me.’’
‘I’ve been over there before a few years ago but it’s a bit bigger now that I’m part of the main attraction!’’
‘’I know Loma is making that crossover now where he’s becoming more well known to the public, and there’ll be a lot of A-listers at ringside supporting him, but I’m not expecting hostility. If there is any, it won’t bother me in the slightest.’’
‘’If anything, there’ll be a lot less pressure on me not being in Manchester, fight week will be so much easier. When I’m fighting in Manchester, which I’ve done a lot over the last few years, there’s a lot of media stuff that I have to do. I still have media obligations, but I won’t be sat in traffic going from one thing to another, so it’ll be easier being over there without a doubt.’’
The former world champion lost his title to Linares before losing the resulting rematch, and he spoke of his mentality after suffering such a big defeat: ‘’I don’t believe in taking big long breaks, I want to get back on the horse as soon as possible.’’
‘’Sometimes you’ve got to listen to your body and take some time away, but I’m one of those fighters who’s always ticking over. I don’t believe in having months out of the gym.’’
‘’I think that’s important to remember that it’s your job rather than just training for your fights. It’s a case of if you fight twice a year, you’re going to do two 12-week camps. What do you do for the other nearly 30 weeks of the year? It’s become fashionable for a lot of fighters to blow up, put a few stone on in between training camps because Ricky Hatton used to do it, but Ricky was a one-off. That’s not the way forward for longevity in your career. In the end your training camp becomes more about weight making rather than improving skills.’’
Crolla was speaking at the FoxABC Gym in Newton Heath, which he recently purchased after training there for many years. It was previously run by Anthony Farnell, but Crolla and former trainer Jimmy Lewis stepped in after it fell on hard times: ‘’The amateur gym probably wouldn’t have had a home, so it’s nice to give a little bit back.’’
‘’The place means an awful lot to me, it put me on the path where I’ve been. It’s led me into boxing which has given me a good life, and I get massive satisfaction out of helping with the kids and the young lads in the gym, and girls are getting into the sport now which is great to see.’’
‘’Not everyone who walks through this gym will end up being a boxer, but I see a kid walk in here with no confidence or overweight, and even a few months later you see the change in them, I get massive satisfaction out of that and when I finish boxing that’s something I’ll be involved a lot more in. In the last few weeks before the fight I’ve not been able to get in because I’ve just been so busy, but I look forward to getting back in after the fight and helping train the team.’’
After completing his final training session, Crolla will fly out to LA ahead of fight week, looking to cause a seismic shock on the biggest stage of his career. Whatever happens across the pond, rest assured Crolla will remain a local hero in Manchester, and who knows? He may just pull off one of boxing’s biggest shocks. Stranger things have happened between those ropes.