By Nick Parkinson, courtesy of The Daily Star
ANTHONY CROLLA insists his swimming regime will ensure he is not sunk in his world title scrap on Saturday.
The Manchester boxer now relies on swimming to help get him fighting fit instead of running after a street attack last December left him with a fractured skull and broken ankle in two places.
Crolla, 28, needed a metal plate to mend his ankle ahead of July's points draw with WBA world lightweight champion Darleys Perez.
Crolla, who felt he should have got the decision over Colombian Perez, has replaced running with swimming after breaking his ankle but insists he will be better in the rematch.
He said: "I've been working hard since the last fight I and I'll do whatever it takes to win.
"The game plan worked well last time so we won't change it completely but in the swimming pool I've been faster and the weights I've been doing have been better. I'm a better all round athlete now than I was before the first Perez fight.
"I expect a tough fight and a better Perez this time around, but I will be better too this time.
"I do a lot of swimming in training now. It varies from sprints to sustained three minute rounds in the pool and I'll go there two or three times a week. I also do a few Bikram yoga sessions a week.
"I wasn't so good at swimming to start with but the ankle injury in the last year I don't run as much now so I'm doing more swimming and getting better.
"I broke my ankle in two places and had a plate fitted so I've had to work around it and I certainly feel the benefits of the swimming.
"The injury hasn't made me struggle with my footwork - you saw in the last fight I was good on my feet - it has just made us tweak training a bit. Too much running causes a lot of swelling, so I can't do it."
Crolla, who hopes to have Manchester United stars cheering him on at ringside, says he has become mentally stronger after his career was left in doubt from a street attack in December.
Crolla was left hospitalized after burglars smashed him with a concrete slab after he had chased them away from a neighbour's house in December.
He added: "Without a doubt all that has happened in the last year has made me stronger. Obstacles are put in front of you and I've overcome them.
"I thought my career was over at one point, but I've become a much stronger person mentally and I've got to take the positive from the last fight.
"I've got to move on and I hope the attackers have as well, that they are healthy and they are in a better place than robbing people's houses.
"There's no point in being bitter or really angry about it, building anger up inside you, because I will never find out the answer to who did it. It doesn't do you any good."
Bristol's Lee Haskins is the third Briton in world title action next Saturday when he takes on American Randy Caballero for the IBF bantamweight belt on the undercard of Miguel Cott-Saul Alvarez in Las Vegas.