Boxing: Gallagher backs Crolla to shine

Trainer Joe Gallagher is confident Anthony Crolla can use Prizefighter as a platform for further title glory this weekend.

Boxing News: Anthony Crolla

Crolla is one of the main draws in the latest instalment of the eight-man event, featuring some of the best lightweights in the UK.

The 25-year-old is on the comeback trail after losing the British title to Derry Mathews - whom he could face in Saturday's final - earlier this year.

Gallagher took his brightest talents to the famous Wild Card gym in LA recently and the trip gave Crolla the spark he needed.

"Crolla's had time to come away, let his injuries heal," he told Sky Sports. "He's had good training at the Wild Card and that was a good confidence builder.

"He sparred some good kids over there, and it gave him a lot of belief and confidence.

"The Mathews defeat was a bit of a car-crash, and as such it takes a bit of time to get over it. But the Wild Card experience brought him back and we've had around 16 sparring partners before Prizefighter to keep the variety going."

While many were shocked by Crolla's defeat to Mathews - when he stopped in the sixth round with a bad cut - Galllgher took nothing away from the winner and said the loss could even be a good thing.

"I don't think it's so much what we did wrong as Derry did right," he said. "He caught him with a good shot, the upper cut, and Anthony got a cut and it was like all the walls were closing in.

"He fought like a man in a panic, the referee kept stopping it to look at his eye, but I thought we were over the worst when it was stopped.

"Derry did right that night. You're dealing with split second decisions and one punch can change everything.

"But it got Anthony's nose back to the grindstone - not that it wasn't already - but it's made him re-focused because at the time everyone was starting to build him up."

Gallagher still believes in his charge, and knows that victory on Saturday night will put him right back to where he feels he should be.

"I don't know why he isn't bigger than he is in British boxing - I look at him as my David Beckham," said Gallagher. "He's a good looking kid, got a million-dollar smile, he speaks well, helps at all the amateur clubs.

"He raised a lot of eyebrows with his talent over at the Wild Card and they can't wait to work with him again.

"But we need to come through this. We always seem to be the bridesmaid but if he comes through this (British and European champion) Gavin Rees is the fight we want.

"It isn't the be-all and end-all. It feels like the FA Cup final and the Premiership is still the British title. So I don't think if he loses this his career's over, but it's a great platform."

Crolla takes on Liverpudlian Stephen Jennings in the first round of Prizefighter as he starts the next chapter in an already exciting career.



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