Newspaper article Manchester Evening News

Now Manchester Has a New Hero! ; after His Stunning Win over Gavin Rees, New Moston Ace Anthony Crolla Has the Chance to Emulate Ricky Hatton

Newspaper article Manchester Evening News

Now Manchester Has a New Hero! ; after His Stunning Win over Gavin Rees, New Moston Ace Anthony Crolla Has the Chance to Emulate Ricky Hatton

Article excerpt

THE story of Anthony Crolla is proof that nice guys can come first. But then we've seen that before in these parts.

Crolla is part of a generation of boxers fighting their way out of the shadow of Ricky Hatton.

Such were the Hitman's achievements as a two-weight world champion and global icon that it is almost unfair to make comparisons.

Not even the endeavours of Joe Calzaghe, Carl Froch, Amir Khan or David Haye have been sufficient enough to supplant Hatton's place in British fighting folklore.

So if Britain cannot produce another Hatton - it's a tall order to expect Manchester to.

But a city that loves its boxing is crying out for a new hero. In that sense New Moston's Crolla fits the bill perfectly.

Hatton's appeal was never just confined to the ring. His downto- earth and jovial personality out of it was the perfect tonic to his ruthless style in it.

Crolla certainly has the Hitman's appetite for a war between the ropes - with each and every encounter proving more thrilling than the last.

His incredible points victory against former WBA lightwelterweight champion Gavin Rees last Saturday was his third straight fight to go the distance in gruelling circumstances.

All-out wars with Derry Mathews (twice), Kieran Farrell and now Rees have turned the 26-year-old from New Moston into a must-see attraction. He has a style that is beginning to see his popularity transcend the boundaries of Manchester.

It was notable that at the Bolton Arena on Saturday night, many of the calls of support came from Liverpudlian accents - fans that were doubtless picked up after his brave draw with Mathews at the Echo Arena in March.

As infectious as his style is inside the ring, so is his personality when the gloves are off. The question posed by those who meet Crolla is whether he is too nice to make it in such a brutal sport.

Impeccably mannered and generous with his time, it is easy to think he would be eaten alive by his battle-hardened rivals. …

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