Manchester world champion Anthony Crolla says he is facing the most dangerous Lightweight on Earth when he puts his belt on the line against Ismael Barroso at the Manchester Arena on May 7th.
The Manchester hero makes the first defence of the title he won in stunning fashion with a fifth round KO win over Darleys Perez in their rematch in November, and takes on the power-punching Barroso in a chilling test of his credentials as a World ruler.
The unbeaten Venezuelan made it 18 KO wins from 19 fights in the paid ranks with a brutal win over Kevin Mitchell at The O2 in December, a win that landed him the Interim tile and a shot at Crolla.
The champion and challenger met at a press conference in Manchester yesterday and Crolla was quick to pour scorn over both suggestions that he would swerve the dangerous visitor and that he should vacate the title to meet WBO champion Terry Flanagan, with the immediate clash with the mandatory part of the deal to land the rematch with Perez after their controversial first meeting.
“When you work for something so hard and so long, the last thing you want to do is give it up. I’d be a fraud if I’d done that when my mandatory is in front of me. It’s the most dangerous fight of my career, I saw him take Kevin (Mitchell) out in London and he did it in impressive fashion. They were confident of winning the fight and they did the job, but I saw things in him that I could capitalise on.”
“The suggestion that I would duck him got my back up a bit. When you are champion you fight the best challengers out there and that’s what I see in Barroso. I am looking forward to us both putting on a fantastic fight. We know he can bang and that is why everyone avoids him, but I believe I have got the tools to beat him and he’s not taking my belt.”
(Image credit: Mark Robinson)
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