By Terence Dooley
Anthony Crolla looks set to make the maiden defence of his British lightweight belt against Gavin Rees on the undercard of the Amir Khan-Paul McCloskey WBA 140lb title fight at the MEN, Manchester on April 16th.
Ricky Hatton promotes Crolla; the former linear light-welterweight champion’s promotional company is helping Golden Boy and Team Khan put the PPV event together. Indeed, Ricky yesterday announced a strong bill, one that looks even stronger in the light of this latest match-up.
Crolla won the Lonsdale belt with a thrilling ninth-round KO of Liverpool’s John Watson on February 12 and immediately signalled his desire to accommodate Rees, who vacated the belt in order to allow the Watson-Crolla fight to go ahead after aggravating a nose injury in training.
Ironically, Rees once held the WBA strap that is currently in the possession of Khan. Andriy Kotelnik relieved the Welshman of the belt courtesy of a final stanza stoppage in 2008, the 30-year-old’s only blemish in 35 fights (34 wins with 16 KOs).
Manchester’s ‘Million Dollar’ Crolla moved to 20-2 (8) when beating Rees, the 24-year-old is in the form of his life under trainer Joe Gallagher. The fight against Rees is likely to be given a prime slot on the Sky TV PPV broadcast, the network salivated over Crolla’s and Rees’s most recent wins and both men have provided FOTY candidates in the last year.
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