WBA World lightweight title holder Anthony Crolla (31-4-3, 13 KOs) and former WBC titlist Jorge Linares (40-3, 27 early) came face-to-face in Manchester this afternoon for the final press conference ahead of their encounter at the city’s Arena on Saturday night.

The Ring’s lightweight championship title and vacant WBC silver belt are also on the line. The fight will be show live on Sky Sports and both men promised an epic encounter when talking to the assembled press.

“Afternoon everyone, what a night of boxing we have lined up on Saturday,” stated Eddie Hearn, who is promoting the show.

“We had so many wonderful times at the Manchester Arena,” added Adam Smith of Sky Sports. “It’s a fight city. It is now 20-years since Nigel Benn fought here.”

Robert Diaz was on hand to represent Linares and Golden Boy Promotions“It is a pleasure working with Eddie again to make a tremendous fight. I want you all to enjoy the fight but not the outcome. There is a lot of pressure on Anthony to get the win.”

Joe Gallagher, Crolla’s trainer, disagreed with the statement, saying: “Have a good look at the WBC belt as it will be going on Saturday night.”

“This is Anthony’s defining night,” stressed Gallagher. “They are hugely confident, but I feel I’ve got the right guy to win. The atmosphere is different up here. Boxing unites a city split by Manchester City and United—all of Manchester will be behind Anthony.”

“Thanks to everyone for the warm welcome,” said Linares when taking up the mic. “This is the most important fight of my career. We are ready and come Saturday night we are taking all the belts.”

Crolla, though, has vowed to retain his title while adding a few more to his collection. “I feel blessed to be part of this night,” he said.

“It is very special to me to be mentioned in same breath as the big (Ricky) Hatton fights. Beating Jorge will turn me into a superstar. When the bell goes, those belts will be staying in Manchester.”

He added: “On Saturday night, I plan to give my supporters the very best night so far. I’ve grown as a fighter and as a person since becoming world champion. The support I get is crazy.”

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