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Crolla confident of improved showing and ‘different result’ in Linares rematch

The Manchester fighter lost the WBA world lightweight title to Linares in September.

BOXING 21/03/17 23:01
Crolla confident of improved showing and ‘different result’ in Linares rematch

Anthony Crolla is confident he is primed to deliver an improved performance against Jorge Linares in their rematch this weekend that will see him reclaim the WBA world lightweight title.

The pair go toe-to-toe again on Saturday at Manchester Arena six months after their initial encounter at the same venue, in which Crolla lost the belt to Venezuelan Linares via a unanimous decision.

Anthony Crolla, right, and Jorge Linares will meet again in Manchester
Anthony Crolla, right, and Jorge Linares will meet again in Manchester (Tim Goode/PA)

Asked about making adjustments this time around, Manchester’s Crolla, who is trained by Joe Gallagher, told Press Association Sport on Tuesday: “Obviously, I’m not going to give too much away, but we have to be smarter in the ring.

“We have quickened things up a little bit, and there are certain shots there that we feel we didn’t capitalise on last time and plan on doing it this time.

“I’m very much more business-minded. My head is just totally on the job. I am always confident and believe in myself, and the harder and smarter you train, the more confident you get.

“It could be another long fight – I’ve prepared for 12 hard rounds as always. But whether it is a points decision or not, I believe it is a different result this time.”

The original fight in September was Crolla’s second defence of the title he won in November 2015.

Jorge Linares, second right, celebrates beating Anthony Crolla in September
Jorge Linares, second right, celebrates beating Anthony Crolla in September (Richard Sellers/PA)

The 30-year-old (31-5-3, 13 KO wins), who in December 2014 suffered a fractured skull when he was attacked while confronting burglars, has exceeded the expectations of many in his career.

And he insists overcoming 31-year-old Linares (41-3, 27 KO wins), who has held world titles at three different weights, is not a step too far for him.

“I don’t mind people saying I’ve overachieved,” Crolla said as he and Linares took part in a public work-out at Manchester’s National Football Museum.

“I get the best out of what I’ve got. There has always been a lot of money won on me when I’ve been underdog and I look forward to that again on Saturday.”

Linares has warned Crolla he is better prepared himself than he was for the first meeting, and is targeting a more convincing triumph this time.

Jorge Linares believes he's in better shape than when he beat Anthony Crolla in September
Jorge Linares believes he’s in better shape than when he beat Anthony Crolla in September (Martin Rickett/PA)

Linares said: “He knows he has had to work harder in order to get back what he feels is his. But the only problem is I have come even better prepared as well.”

Meanwhile, it has been announced that Katie Taylor will meet Bulgarian Milena Kovena on Saturday’s undercard.

Ireland’s Taylor, who claimed lightweight gold at the London 2012 Olympics, has so far won three out of three fights since turning professional.

Kovena comes into the bout having been beaten when challenging for the IBF super-featherweight title in January.

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