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Ricky Hatton Backs Crolla To Shock Darleys Perez

Ricky Hatton believes fellow Mancunian Anthony Crolla is capable of pulling off a shock and taking Darleys Perez's WBA world lightweight title on Saturday night.

In the same arena a decade ago, Hatton shocked Kostya Tszyu to snatch the IBF light-welterweight title and is adamant that 28-year-old Crolla has what it takes to emulate him.

Crolla (29-4-2-KO11) has completed a remarkable recovery to move to within sight of fulfilling his dream. Late last year, he suffered a fractured skull and a broken ankle when attempting to tackle burglars near his home.

The scheduled world title tilt at Richar Abril was called off but Crolla set about rehabilitation with great determination and now back at peak fitness, Hatton has been impressed by what he has seen in the gym.

Hatton told Sky Sports: "I think Anthony Crolla is vastly improved and he's well seasoned now. He looked a million dollars and then got beaten by Derry Mathews but sometimes defeats can make you.

"He's battle-hardened now - he's had his ups and downs. It's a bit similar to James DeGale. I think it made DeGale and I think it's made Crolla. I think he'll win Saturday, definitely.

"Nobody expected me to beat Tszyu. The only people in the world who did were myself and Billy Graham.

"It's a great story for Crolla. You'd have never thought a few years ago that he'd be fighting for a world title. In many ways he has nothing to lose but I've been up to the Gallagher gym to see him and he's looking in fantastic shape.

"Only a few months ago, his career was nearly over when his next door neighbour was getting robbed. He went to do the right thing and got hit over the head. His career could've been over and now he's got a world title shot.

"It'd be such a nice story if he finishes the journey with a world title. From a career nearly over to a world title a few months later. It's such a great story."

Last weekend saw Manchester add another world champion to its history as Terry Flanagan took ownership of the vacant WBO lightweight title when Jose Zepeda was forced to retire after two rounds because of a shoulder injury.

Reflecting on that night, Hatton said: "It was brilliant. It's a shame he got it through an injury because the fight was in the balance a little bit but it's going to be good if Crolla and Quigg can win on Saturday night, too.

"There aren't many places in the world that can boast three current world champions. It's also 10 years on from my fight with Kostya Tszyu so it all fits in quite nicely!

"The fight was in the balance and the lad got an injury. Terry would have liked to have won it another way but there was every chance he'd have won anyway. I know from experience that when you're in the final stages, if the crowd are on your side then it can carry you.

"Terry has fulfilled a lifelong dream. It's not like he was losing when the injury came. That would have been a shame. I think Terry would have won the fight and it was just bad luck for Jose Zepeda on the night."

User Comments and Feedback (Register For Free To Comment) Comment by knockoutkid on 07-14-2015

hattons not realy got a a clue tbf, he was a good fighter but he doesnt think much tactically. Crollas not quick enough to fight ambush style and put combinations together then get out of range, he's going to be…

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