Crolla: 'I'm a stronger fighter now.'

Crolla (31-5-3, 13KOs) knows there are some areas where he can not compete with the faster Linares - a three-weight world champion who has won 41 of his 44 professional contests - but he does not believe he should be written off because of that.

Anthony Crolla is planning a well-earned break after a tough couple of years in and out of the ring but would be happy to move up a division to face Ricky Burns on his return.

It was in complete contrast to their thriller in September which led to the rematch, with Linares - who shapes as a challenger for undefeated WBC champion Mikey Garcia - too classy on this occasion.

Meanwhile, lightweight Katie Taylor (4-0) defeated by point in eight rounds to Milena Koleva (9-8-1), Jason Welborn (21-6, 7 KOs) outperformed Marcus Morrison (14-1) to win the WBA global title, while Martin Joseph Ward (17-0-2, 7 KO's) overcame Maxi Hughes (16-3-2) in a unanimous decision in defense of his British titles and the worldwide super title of the WBC.

Skilful and savage, Linares proved himself more than worthy of facing the very best in or around 135 pounds, including the two men now in his sights: Vasyl Lomachenko and Mikey Garcia. I've got to respond in bunches a little bit more. I lost to a great fighter but I don't celebrate losing, I don't want to feel it again and I want to go down in history by beating a great fighter. I am at 100 percent physically and mentally. We did 129 rounds of sparring and everything has gone well up to this point. Matchroom's deal with American broadcaster Showtime meant audiences state-side watched on during Saturday's fight, and the Mancunian feels a fight across the Atlantic could be the remedy after his latest Linares setback.

Linares is now mandatory challenger for Garcia's WBC title which he was stripped of previous year due to inactivity caused by an injured hand.

"The plans are in the future to get the biggest fights".

"Flanagan is another option and I've no problem fighting anyone in this division. Me and Jorge will shake hands but, if I have to rough him up, I'll do it".

How about some old school Saturday afternoon boxing? "I'm 30 years old, I'm going to rest, but I believe I can come again, rebuild and take it from there".

"I've still not heard back from Golovkin". United Kingdom fans are great, they support their fighters and I'm sure it will be a huge show here also.

"It will be another good fight, that's for sure". The key will be adapting. Whatever needs to be done to win, I'm prepared to do it. "His movement was very good".

"This time I know I need to deal with the flashy combinations better, cut the ring off better and capitalize when he is open for shots".

If you were being critical, and perhaps more so of his trainer, you'd say that there was no discernible game plan to start with or adjustments made as he emphatically lost round after round. I did everything I could to win last time but I came up short; the right man won but there wasn't a lot in it.

"But to win my belts back against a class fighter like Jorge Linares would be the pinnacle". A third fight with Linares is impossible given just how convincing the Venezuelan was in their previous two meetings. You see training sessions and clips on social media, I can't compete with flashy padwork like that, I can't do that. "I was all right".

"The rematch was always top of my list. I think we can get it into works and maybe fight him this summer, maybe late July".

"I'm going to feed off this energy, feed off the crowd tomorrow night", Crolla told Sky Sports News HQ. I would have beaten him if he was like some of his past performances.

"I can dig deep and show a big heart". Camp has gone really well and there will certainly be no excuses tonight. "I don't think he can be miles better". I will see how it goes and I will assess it over the next few years.

  • Julie Sanders