Thursday, February 09, 2023  |



Anthony Crolla defies the odds and returns to the gym


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British lightweight Anthony Crolla is amazingly back in the gym punching after suffering a fractured skull and a badly broken ankle just before Christmas.

The Manchester man was struck on the head by a concrete slab while foiling a burglary attempt on a neighbor’s home, and initially, there were concerns that his boxing career might be over.

Following the incident Crolla spent anxious times in a local hospital but, thus far, his powers of recovery and response to physiotherapy have been remarkable.

“Anthony’s ankle cast was only meant to come off this week but it was removed three weeks ago, so he’s way ahead of schedule,” said trainer Joe Gallagher, when interviewed by the Manchester Evening News.

“It’s great to have him back in the gym and it’s a huge boost to all the lads who are currently preparing for fights. They see Crolla as the team captain and he had a huge smile on his face when he saw everyone.

Gallagher continued, “We have to be careful that we don’t do things too quickly, but he’s chomping at the bit to get back in the ring.”

Crolla (29-4-2, 11 knockouts) was to have faced WBA lightweight title holder Richar Abril on January 23 but the bout was postponed due to the injuries he sustained.

Derry Mathews, who holds a win and a draw over Crolla, will now face Abril on March 6 in Liverpool and has stated he will have no problem facing his old rival should he prevail.

Crolla, who is also ranked No. 2 by the WBO, has targeted May for his return and would be only too happy to compete for a world title immediately.

“I have no problem with Anthony jumping straight back into a world title fight,” said Gallagher.

“Everything happens for a reason and this break away from boxing might well have done him some good as he can recharge his batteries.”

The former British champion, as per British Boxing Board of Control protocol, will have to undergo a brain scan but the prognosis looks very encouraging.



Tom Gray is a member of the British Boxing Writers’ Association and has contributed to various publications. Follow him on Twitter: @Tom_Gray_Boxing