This Saturday, Manchester’s ‘Phones 4 U’ Arena (Formerly the MEN), plays host to the return of two of the most likable fighters on the British scene. Both Scott Quigg and Anthony Crolla will once again bask in the famed Manchester support as they attempt to further ignite two careers, which have the potential to really take off.
It would be fair to say that Quigg (28-0-2 21KO’s) has had a strange year to say the least, since announcing himself on the world scene with a destructive performance when halting former world title challenger and everyone’s favourite bin man, Rendall Munroe, in 6. After which, Quigg was handed the WBA Super Bantamweight World Title, when 8st 10lbs ruler Guillermo Rigondeaux was announced ‘Super’ Champion.
He had achieved his dream, but it felt tainted, something Quigg was not afraid to admit, announcing that he would not consider himself to be a legitimate World Champion until a successful, meaningful defence. Above all others Quigg seems to have a deep love for the sport, a ferocious trainer, fit all year round, with an obsession to improve.
So for him to possess a World Title, but not have his Kell Brook or Darren Barker moment will hurt him, especially following a tough majority draw decision on his coming out night against Yoandris Salinas. Although close, I had Quigg boxing a disciplined fight and pulling two rounds clear by the sound of the final bell. But, it wasn’t to be, a feeling Quigg has grown used of late, with a series of scheduled opponent drop outs to follow.
Fortunately for British boxing, Quigg is cut from the right cloth and loss of focus has never become an issue for a man dedicated to his craft. This weekend will be another shining example of such professionalism, when facing off against late replacement and blown up Bantamweight Stephane Jamoye (26-5 16KO’s).
Expect an explosive performance aimed at laying down a marker to Carl Frampton and the rest of the Super Bantamweight’s out there, Scott Quigg wants the big, meaningful fights and when fate shines on him for once, he means to show the world that he is every bit a legitimate world champion the British boxing public know him to be.
MEANWHILE, on the undercard, Anthony Crolla returns to the ring following a career best performance, when stopping friend and for 8 weeks rival, John Murray in 10, back in April.
Maneuvers have begun, as Crolla (28-4-1 11KO’s) meets Gamaliel Diaz, for the right to call himself WBO Inter-Continental lightweight titlist. Or more importantly, to record a flashy victory against the Mexican who despite holding a 2006 win over Robert Guerrero (quickly avenged) and has never operated above Super Featherweight and has lost 2 in 3 by knockout.
I expect Crolla to win and win well; building further towards what you have to believe is the end game, a Manchester show down against Miguel Vázquez for the IBF title. I for one hope this is a reality for Crolla, who has become a favourite of mine since landing a beautiful right hook to knock John Watson out cold in Liverpool to claim the British title back in 2011.
The stage is set for the friends and gym mates to shine and a more deserving pair you would be hard pushed to find. Whether they have the ability to become the very best remains to be seen.
What is certain is, if Quigg and Crolla keep winning, the fans will continue to arrive in their droves as they did in the famous Hatton years. They might not have his skill of the Hitman, but they have his personality and us British fans love a personality.