Anthony ‘Million Dollar’ Crolla will defend his recently acquired British lightweight title against former belt holder and world champion Gavin Rees, on the undercard of the Amir Khan, Paul McCloskey show at the MEN Manchester on April 16th.

Crolla’s first defence against Rees BritishBoxers

Crolla who won the title by beating John Watson in February, with a compelling performance that saw him knockout the Liverpool man in round 9 in what was a stellar performance from the Manchester man, only taking the fight on two-weeks notice following Gavin Rees’ withdrawal.


The Joe Gallagher trained champion, got his last minute shot at the British lightweight title when Gavin Rees who held the title was forced to pull out of his own defence against Watson and vacate the Lonsdale belt through a nose injury. Being in the unfortunate position of not losing the belt in the ring, Rees was lined up to fight the winner.

The 24 year old Crolla, who was campaigning as a super-featherweight at the time of his call to step up and fight for the vacated title. Winning the coveted belt saw him join gym mate and current European lightweight champion John Murray, who is rated the best in the country at that weight and Crolla told BritishBoxers that he regularly spars with Murray and the influence he has had on him.

“Ive learnt a lot from John and continue to learn a lot from him, we have great spars and it’s good that I can give him something back as well.

“John is the best light-weight in the country, he is world rated so having good spars with John gives me belief in myself and if I can do well with John I know I’m capable at that British and European level. Crolla added.

Crolla beats John Watson to claim the Lonsdale belt pic: Al Stevenson
Crolla says he has to pinch himself now he is British champion and will be defending his new title in quick time against former WBA light welterweight champion Rees.

“Gavin is a great fighter, former world champion, eighteen months ago I never thought id be fighting a former world champion for the British title.

“But its fights like this that I’m not only happy to be in there, I’m confident ill go in there and come away the champion still.

“It’s real exiting times and I think me and Gavin and everyone agrees that it;s got the makings of a great fight.

“It’s a real prestigious belt and everyone wants to be British champion.” added Crolla.

But the former champion Rees 30, is intent on claiming back his old belt and moving back to world title level with an eye on the aforementioned John Murray.

Gavin Rees

“I’m 30 now so I have still got a few years of top level boxing and I want to fight for titles. I don’t need warm up, I want to move on and fight for the European title, or my old British one.


“I gave up the title fight so I am next in line and a fight between me and Crolla won’t disappoint. I think I’ll take Murray on further down the line.” added Rees.

Rees will be Crolla’s career toughest fight and will test his new title credentials to the limit.

‘The Rock’ has only been beaten once in 35 fights – losing his WBA light-welterweight title to Andriy Kotelnik in 2008. He had won the same title previously himself by beating John Watson.

The fight as come around quickly for Crolla’s first defence and what a fantastic fight this promises to be on what is already a top class card.

By Chris Maylett www.britishboxers.co.uk 
 

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