John Watson and Anthony Crolla meet on Saturday night for the vacant British light-weight title at Liverpool’s Olympia, in a fight that promises to be one of the best of the year.
Watson failed to win the same belt in November when he fought Welshman Gavin Rees in Newport. Watson was stopped by Rees in the 11th round after a gallant effort.
It was Watson’s first loss as a professional, but the 27 year old scouser believes he will come back a better fighter from the defeat and the fact that he will be fighting in his home town of Liverpool, will give him the edge over Manchester’s ‘Million Dollar Crolla.
Gavin Rees was forced to give up the title he claimed against Watson because of a nose injury he needed to have surgery on, paving the way for Watson to get a surprise second tilt at the championship Lonsdale belt.
“I will use my boxing ability in this fight.” said Watson.
“I’ve been in full training in Sheffield with Dave Coldwell (coach) for the past two weeks and everything has been going really well.
“We’ve been working on certain things from the last fight and picked up on my mistakes in that one.” he added.
The Manchester, Liverpool boxing divide might not be has fierce as the football club rivalry. Both Cities have produced boxers of the highest standard over the years and boxing connections between the Mancs and Scousers is tight, with a large mutual respect. But the M62 motorway will be busy with Crolla fans making the trip and the half hour drive is enough of a split, to add extra spice to this fight, that promises to be a stormer!
Watsons fans will be in loud voice supporting there home town hero and the home town boy believes he will never get a better chance of claiming ring honours. “It is going to be a good fight, home advantage is a big plus for me but he has already been in training for a tough fight with Carl Johanneson. said Watson.
“With me having the extra size and the extra weight, I think I will be naturally the physically stronger and more powerful, I have sparred Anthony a couple of years ago so know what he is about.
“I’ve watched his last couple of fights and he has improved throughout the year and since he fought Gary Sykes.
“He will be ready for this. I have just got to keep my game plan up and not let him get in the fight.
“He’s a busy fighter so I must match him but I’m just focusing on getting my plan right.
”I’m definitely relaxed, I always am and I actually like the added pressure of fighting at home for the British title. Hopefully there will be a lot of people coming to watch.” added Watson.
|Anthony ‘Million Dollar’ Crolla
Crolla, who is the English super-featherweight champion, was lined up to face Carl Johanneson on the 26th of this month in a defence of that belt and what was to double as a eliminator for the British title. But an unexpected offer to step up in weight and an instant British title fight against Watson, after Gavin Rees’ withdrawal, was just too good an offer for Crolla to turn down.
Crolla 24, will be the smaller boxer at the weight, Watson is the natural light-weight and with the home town advantage, this makes him the favorite going in. But this doesn’t faze Crolla who believes all the disadvantages can work in his favor and his status as underdog will soon change.
“I’m happy being the underdog, all the pressure is on him. It’s worked well for me in the past and hopefully it will again.” said Crolla.
“Maybe if I win this one, people will stop looking at me as an underdog. It says everything about the quality of fighters I’ve been in the ring with that they were considered favourites.
“But people are beginning to realise I can fight. I don’t know if they underestimated me, but I’ve shown character in that I’ve got my career back on track.” he added.
Crolla has rebuilt his career after losing on points to Gary Sykes in a British super-featherweight title eliminator in 2009, and last year starred in the BritishBoxers ‘Fight of 2010’ against Andy Morris. Prior to that he put an end to his boyhood hero’s career Michael Brodie. Since joining forces with renowned trainer, Joe Gallagher, he has built up a six-fight unbeaten run and as proved to be one of the best boxers in the country under Gallagher’s tutelage.
“We were all geared up for Carl Johanneson, I got the call Rees had pulled out and was asked if we’d step in, I asked Crolla and he took less than 10 seconds to say yes we’ll have it. said Gallagher.
“Its a great opportunity, I wish the fight would have happened last Saturday just gone because we are ready. We were ready for Johanneson and the trouble is keeping Crolla right.
“But this fight as come at the right time, John Watson is a big light-weight, he is expected to win, we are going into the lions den.
“John Watson was unlucky last time against Gavin Rees. ‘Miliion Dollar Crolla’ the kid who’s always wanted to fight for the British title at super featherweight gets his chance now in the division above.
“But he has had good sparring in the past with John Murray (undefeated European light-weight champion and gym mate) and I’ve seen the way he handles himself in that and I didn’t think twice about putting him in there with Watson.” Gallager added.
Meanwhile George Groves has been ruled out of Saturday’s Olympia card. The Commonwealth super-middleweight champion has picked up an injury in training that will, he says, keep him out of the gym for seven to 10 days.
The 22 year-old was hoping to have warm-up fight to iron out some mistakes made in his last defence against Kenny Anderson before a possible an April date with British title holder James DeGale… read more
Anthony Crolla talks to British Boxers Prior to his fight with Carl Johanneson, which was eventually called off with the fight against Watson offered. Video. www.britishboxers.co.uk
Former IBO Light Welterweight Champion of the World Colin Lynes is set to make his welcome return to the ring on the Olympia show on the undercard to Watson v Crolla, against Bradley Pryce, in a fight made at Welterweight……. read more
Fight Weigh in
Here is a round up of this top bill of boxing from Matchroom, that is live on Sky Sports 1 from 9pm on Saturday night are as follows.
8 x 3 mins Light-Welterweight Contest
STEVE WILLIAMS v CHARLIE KING
8 x 3 mins Welterweight Contest
BRADLEY PRYCE v COLIN LYNES
6 x 3 mins Light-Welterweight Contest
AJOSE OLUSEGUN v AREK MALEK
6 x 3 mins Lighweight Contest
NIGEL WRIGHT v JAMES SPEIGHT
6 x 3 mins Super-Bantamweight Contest
DAVID SAVAGE v DOUGIE CURRAN
4 x 3 mins Super-Middleweight Contest
JEFF EVANS v JAMES TUCKER
4 x 3 mins Light-Welterweight Contest
STEVEN SHAROUDI v SID RAZAK
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