Anthony Crolla seeks 'lift' from Manchester crowd in bout against Ricky Burns

Anthony Crolla
Anthony Crolla will wear the Manchester bee emblem on his shorts and socks
Crolla v Burns
Venue: Manchester Arena Date: Saturday, 7 October
Coverage: Follow live text commentary on the BBC Sport website and app.

Anthony Crolla hopes to use the Manchester Arena and the backing of the city's boxing fans to his advantage in Saturday's bout against Ricky Burns.

Scotland's Burns, 34, has dropped five pounds to take on 30-year-old Mancunian Crolla at lightweight in a non-title bout that neither can afford to lose.

Crolla will wear his city's bee emblem on his shorts as he fights at a venue targeted by a suicide bomber in May.

"I'll be very proud to be wearing the Manchester bee," said Crolla.

"It is going to be an emotional night for a lot of people, the first time back at the arena since that horrible night.

"There's a lot of emotion involved, and I have to use it in the right way and make sure it lifts me."

The bee emblem has been widely adopted as a symbol for the city's togetherness following the suicide bombing, which killed 22 people, after an Ariana Grande concert.

Former WBA world lightweight champion Crolla has had eight of his past nine fights at the Manchester Arena.

He said: "Whenever I fight at that arena, I feel like it gives me an advantage.

"People say once the bell goes, it is just you and your opponent, which is true, and Ricky is well travelled and experienced.

"But I do believe it gives me that extra gear."

Julius Indongo uses his reach to trouble Ricky Burns
Julius Indongo used his long reach to trouble Ricky Burns in their super-lightweight unification bout in April, which was won by the Namibian

Both fighters approach Saturday's bout hoping it can catapult them towards a world title fight.

However, they do so on the back of defeats; Crolla losing for the sixth time in a 40-fight career against Venezuela's Jorge Linares in a WBA world lightweight contest in March, and three-weight former world champion Burns losing his WBA super-lightweight title to Namibia's Julius Indongo in Glasgow a month later.

Burns, with a record of 41 wins, six losses and one draw, is fighting at lightweight for the first time since November 2015.

"I knew getting down to lightweight could have been hard, but I've been on the diet with no cheating and the weight's just seemed to drop off," he said.

"I've done it comfortably this time. I have more or less been hovering around the weight limit for the last 10 days, and I'm still feeling good, talking to people, smiling."

Burns said trainer Tony Sims was "happy" with how his fighter had shed his weight.

"For other fights, my portion sizes have been too big and I would sneak chocolate bars, but we've cut all that out," he said.

"All the preparation has gone to plan. I'm confident of getting the win."

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