ANTHONY Crolla is set to battle WBA lightweight world champion Jorge Linares at the Manchester Arena on March 25.

Crolla, previously fought Venezuelan Linares, 31, last September at the same venue in the fight which left Crolla beltless.

It was the Manchester-born fighter’s second attempt at defending his title he won by beating Darleys Pérez in November 2015. Crolla first won the WBA title after knocking out Colombian Pérez that defeated him four months prior.

The Manchester fighter won his first defence of his title back in May 2016, defeating Ismael Barroso. He failed to stop Linares, who immediately offered Crolla a rematch.

Crolla and Linares’ previous fight brought everything into the ring, ending with a unanimous points decision that left Crolla with nothing.

Starting off as an even match, Crolla and Linares were both consistent with their blows, however it was the midway point of the fight that left Crolla struggling. Crolla was caught with a powerful shot that had him hanging on until the bell.

Both men were exchanging thunderous blows, leaving everyone uneasy going into the judge’s scorecards.

With a verdict of 115-114, 117-111, 115-113, it’s clear the fight was close.

Linares first won the vacant WBC lightweight title back in 2014 after defeating Javier Prieto with a knock out decision.

Linares has since then retained the WBC lightweight title twice, beating British Kevin Mitchell and Mexican Ivan Cano.

Betting giants Betfred backed the pair’s first fight back in September, and boss Fred Done is delighted to be backing the Lightweights once again.

Tickets for the Saturday night fight are on sale now, priced from £40.00 upwards and are available at or VIP tickets have now sold out and standard tickets are selling fast, with only a handful of seats available.

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