News May 2019

Anthony Crolla talks Foster Jnr victory and hopes for 2014


By @John_Evans79

It is a sign of Anthony Crolla’s progress that many seemed to view the outcome of his fight with talented former European super featherweight champion Stephen Foster Jnr as something of a formality.

Having spent weeks preparing to take on British lightweight champion Martin Gethin on the huge Carl Froch – George Groves card, Crolla, 27-4-1 (10 KO’s), refocused to patiently and effectively shut down late substitute Foster Jnr, forcing the Salford fighter to retire after six rounds.

Crolla and trainer Joe Gallagher paid Foster Jnr the respect he deserves and their diligence was rewarded.

“It was a high risk fight for me. Stephen’s a dangerous fighter to take at short notice but I enjoyed every minute of it.” Crolla told Livefight. “Me and Joe spoke over tactics and the plan was to make Stephen fall short. We obviously know what a great left hook he’s got and we didn’t wanna take chances. That was why I didn’t go forward too early on and start looking for the big shots to try and end it. Stephens dangerous so I knew I had to soften him up first.”

After the fight, Crolla, 27, was asked if he had been working on body punches. Having seen him in action from close quarters over the last few years, I can assure you that Crolla has always been able to punch to the body. Herve De Luca probably still has nightmares about the punishment he took at Wigan’s Robin Park Centre a couple of years ago.

“Like you say, it’s not something that’s new to me. It’s just that over the last few fights there has been a risk in throwing them. It’s not been right to throw them. I had been working on them but with different opponents and different fighters, different punches work.”

Crolla’s attention to detail was restricted to in ring activities this weekend. ‘Million Dollar’ is usually serenaded to the ring by Whitney Houston but got caught up in the excitement of the night and forgot to send in his walk out music. Nonetheless, Crolla’s face lit up as thousands of his fellow Mancunians drowned out the White Stripes’ Seven Nation Army with a rowdy verse of ‘Whoah, Anthony Crolla!’

“I missed her on Saturday!” he laughs. “As soon as my music started I realised I’d forgotten to send it in. I didn’t get in mixed in in time. Whitney’s coming back though! A lot of people on twitter weren’t happy but she’ll be back next time.

“I’ve dreamed of fighting in a meaningful fight there [at the venue formerly known as the MEN Arena]. There was a good crowd in there too. As soon as they shouted my name I stood and looked around and saw a Team Crolla flag. I thought to myself, ‘I’ve waited a long time for this.’

He’s come a long way too. Twelve months ago, Crolla was preparing for a make or break fight with Kieran Farrell. Almost a year on from that freezing night at Manchester’s Bowlers Arena – and at that very same venue - former European lightweight champion John Murray returned from a two year lay-off and took out his frustration on Nicaraguan scapegoat Michael Escobar.

An all Manchester showdown with his former gym mate would provide Crolla with a high profile war. Rescheduling the Gethin fight would give him the opportunity to become a two time British champion.

Those are just two of the possible challenges Britain’s thriving lightweight division could throw his way. With a new son and mortgage to consider, Crolla faces a big decision as to the direction his career will take.

“I’m just gonna see what happens over the next few weeks. I’ll sit down and talk with Joe and Eddie [Hearn] and the team around me and see which way Eddie wants to take me. The Martin Gethin fight has been due to take place twice now. Martin’s been injured and it is genuine. Martin’s a good lad and he’s a tough lad. Hopefully he gets better and it can be made again. We’ll see what happens in the new year. Whatever my team reckons is best for me is what I’ll do.

“I just wanna be in meaningful fights all the time. If that [a fight with Murray] is a meaningful fight that everyone want to see and it makes sense, well, obviously I’ve got a house and family now and want to make a good living. Whatever makes the most sense. I’m not after easy touches or anything like that. I’m in the business to make money, Eddie wants to put together a good bill and the fans want to see a good fight and get value for money.

“Obviously John’s been in active but that’s a much bigger fight locally. Martin’s just come out of a world title eliminator though and carries a higher ranking. With Eddie, that’s what we have to decide and see what’s best for me. John’s a mate but there’s a lot of talk and it’s getting mentioned. I’d never say ‘I wanna fight John’ but like we’ve both said, if it happens it happens.”

Saturday night’s purse will be extremely useful as Crolla prepares for an expensive first Christmas spoiling baby Jesse but it won’t be long before the boxing addict is itching to get back in the ring.

“We’ve just moved into a house too. I’ve had a brilliant year on the boxing front and personally with the birth of my son. I’ll be back in the gym ticking over and doing bits but I’m gonna enjoy the first Christmas with my family and reflect on the year.

“Hopefully I ‘m gonna have a big 2014. If it’s as good as this year I’ll be happy.”

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