Anthony Crolla targets Manchester derby success against John Murray
Last Updated: 08/04/14 7:58pm
Anthony Crolla and John Murray: Manchester rivals set to lock horns on April 19
Anthony Crolla has vowed to maintain his 100 per cent record in Manchester derbies when he fights John Murray at the Phones 4u Arena in Manchester on April 19, live on Sky Sports.
Crolla has featured in four all-Manchester bouts in his career so far, and come out on top in them all.
The 27-year-old started his run by stopping former world champion Michael Brodie in 2009 and then won his first title against Andy Morris with a seventh-round stoppage in 2010 to claim the English super-featherweight belt.
He then defeated Kieran Farrell for the English lightweight crown in 2012 and in his last outing, he took six rounds to force the retirement of Stephen Foster Jr in November to defend the WBO Inter-Continental title.
Crolla now puts that title on the line against Murray and he is expecting his toughest battle yet against a man he knows well.
"I've been in four Manchester derbies and won all four, but this is different because that are lots of factors involved," said Crolla.
"John and I are good mates, we used to train together under Joe Gallagher and we support United and City. There is no problem between John and I, we will go out for a drink after the fight, but once that bell goes there won't be any friendship.
"If you can't get up for a fight like this then I am in the wrong sport. It's a Manchester derby, I've been in them before and come out on top, this is the biggest one of the lot though but I am very confident of another derby night win."
"We are focused on doing a job on each other. I have been in John's corner before and he has been in mine. We have seen each other close-hand and have fought many rounds together.
"There is only so much you can take from sparring, but we both believe we have seen strengths and weaknesses in each other. We both have the same friends so there might be a few neutrals in there on the night, but I hope to have the red side of Manchester in my corner.
"If you can't get up for a fight like this then I am in the wrong sport. It's a Manchester derby, I've been in them before and come out on top, this is the biggest one of the lot though but I am very confident of another derby night win.
"This was always the fight I wanted and the demand there was for it showed how big a fight it is. I'm made up that it's happening, it's great for the city too."
Crolla's clash with Murray is part of a huge night of boxing in Manchester, topped by Scott Quigg's second defence of his WBA world super-bantamweight title.
Josh Warrington defends his Commonwealth featherweight title against Rendall Munroe, Tyrone Nurse meets Tyler Goodjohn for the vacant English light-welterweight crown and Olympic gold medallist Luke Campbell features in his sixth professional contest.
Callum Smith returns to the ring following injury, while Hosea Burton, Martin J. Ward, Stephen Foster Jr, Jack Massey, Liam Hanrahan and Sam Hyde are also set to be in action.