Crolla’s Diary: Getting Ready To Be In Callum’s Corner for Smith v Groves

Crolla is over in Saudi Arabia for one of boxing's biggest nights.
Anthony Crolla  |  28th September 2018

What a fight we’ve got, it is a shame it’s not over in the UK, because you think it would sell out any arena. There’s a lot of fight fans who won’t be able to go but for whatever reason it’s happening over here, both fighters have accepted that and that’s it. As for the fight itself it’s probably the most anticipated fight of the year, domestically.

After their last performances I’m gonna back Callum and I believe it’s a fight he wins. He’s got to be at his very best but after the last fight’s in the semis (finals of the World Superfight Series], George Groves was very impressive against Eubank Jr, you have got to make Groves a favourite. But for Callum, that week against Nieky Holzken, it was a nightmare week for him, he’s trained all week for a southpaw, he’s brought in a southpaw sparring partner and then four days before the fight he finds out he’s fighting someone who’s a Thai boxer – and that’s no disrespect to Holzken as we saw how well he did on the night. It was strange, it was an odd one, over in Nuremburg, the atmosphere was weird, I’m not making excuses for Callum, I mean he won nearly every round but it wasn’t like the performance that made you sit up and think “wow!”

He did what he had to do, there was a lot of pressure on him, no matter what he couldn’t have really won that night Callum, even if he’d blown away Holzken. I’ve seen what Callum Smith is capable, we’ve seen bits of it in fights and I’ve seen it in the gym, George Groves has got one of the best jabs in British boxing. I don’t think Callum can get involved in a battle of jabs but he’s got to establish his own jab, Callum’s got a good jab himself.

If Callum can take away that jab I believe Callum can win, I believe he can win anyway, it’s a fight I cannot wait for, I’m excited about it and I’m glad them two are fighting in the final, because for a bit it looked like it might not happen. I think the tournament has been great for boxing, there’s been some great fights being made. If it hadn’t been Groves v Smith in the final, it would’ve ruined it, I think it would’ve lost all credibility, if Callum was to fight Eubank Jr or whatever, there’d have been no title on the line and okay the fight’s in Saudi Arabia but at least it’s happening.

Over here the atmosphere is a bit like going into the unknown as it’s the first boxing event ever to take place in this country. George has the advantage in that he’s performed on the big stage a lot more times, but I’m not sure how much that will count for here with what the atmosphere will be like.

It’s great to have one of the best seats in the house, I’ve been in the corner for some of Callum’s biggest nights, this is the biggest so it means a lot. Callum’s been on the verge of a world title shot for a while now, it’s overdue. He’s got his chance and I believe he take it.

As for the picture, I don’t ask many for a photo but couldn’t miss out on a photo op with the Real Deal!

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Brian McClair

Former United and Scotland striker.

Anthony Crolla

Professional boxer & former British & WBA World Lightweight Champion
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