Crolla set for March rematch with Linares

Anthony Crolla’s rematch with WBA lightweight world champion Jorge Linares will take place at Manchester Arena on 25 March.

Crolla, 30, lost his belt to Venezuelan Linares, 31, on points in a gruelling bout at the same venue in September.

It was the Manchester fighter’s second defence of the title he won by beating Darleys Perez in November 2015.

“I see Jorge as the best lightweight in the world and I want to be the best lightweight in the world,” said Crolla.

“I came up short on the night against the better man – with improvements, I believe I can change the result this time around.

“The better the opponent, the better I will perform. I’m improving still as a fighter and athlete despite turning 30 recently.

“I want to be remembered as someone who took on the best around and be mentioned in the same breath as them.”

After a controversial draw with Perez in July 2015, Crolla knocked out the Colombian four months later to claim the WBA title, before stopping Ismael Barroso in his first defence in May 2016.

But he failed to make his power tell against the quick and skilful Linares, who immediately offered Crolla a rematch after extending his overall record to 41 wins and three losses.

“I am really excited to be going back to Manchester,” said Linares. “I was treated very well by everyone and gained a lot of new British fans.

“Crolla is a tremendous fighter with a lot of heart so I know I must train twice as hard for another tough fight.

“I promise another great performance and assure that the belts are returning home with me.”

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