Burns awaits for Rees-Crolla winner

28/06/2013 11:57

It may not be a world title eliminator, however, a shot at WBO lightweight champion Ricky Burns  is virtually guaranteed for the winner of Gavin Rees (37-2-1)  and Anthony Crolla (25-4-1) , when they meet this Saturday at the USN Bolton Arena, live on Sky Sports 1.

Both fighters have landed lucky here, as the WBO Inter-Continental title that's at stake is mainly for guys ranked outside the top ten and to the majority, is not worth the belt it's printed on, but it has a knack of transporting it's owner up the rankings.

Also consider the close ties Rees and Crolla have with Burns' promoter Eddie Hearn, and we have an easy to make, and appealing, domestic showdown.

Rees lost to Adrien Broner in a battle for the WBC lightweight belt in February and says the clash whetted his appetite for another title tilt.

'The Rock' went straight back into training following the 5th round defeat and is ready to roll against Crolla and hunt down a second chance to become a world champ.

"Neither of us will look past each other but it's (world title shot) being dangled there waiting for the winner," said Rees. That's my dream and that's why I went over to America to fight Broner. I want to be world champion again."

The former WBA light-welterweight boss knows his career hangs in the balance following that loss in Atlantic City. There is no shame in losing to one of the sport's finest but at 33, his best days could soon be behind him.

'Million Dollar' Crolla is a good, gutsy fighter. He easily outpointed Scot Willie Limond a couple of years ago in a 12 round landslide victory, but he was shown up against Derry Mathews, when he was stopped by the Liverpudlian last year. He drew with Mathews in a rematch in Match in his last outing.

"I know Gavin is thick-set, and has boxed at a higher weight, but he's very short as well. said Crolla. " He's probably going to be the strongest lad I've fought but I'm looking forward to seeing how strong he actually is."

The young underdog is a quality boxer but the feeling is that Rees will ultimately be too strong. Crolla is aware he must take the shorter man's excellent jab away to suceed but few manage to do this.

Also on the card Liverpool's Paul Smith rematches his local rival Tony Dodson in a battle for the vacant British super middleweight title. Smith won their first encounter on points in Match 2010.

Light middleweight Brian Rose tackles Bulgarian Alexey Ribchev and super bantamweight sensation Scott Quigg makes his Matchroom debut in a 10-rounder against Brazil's William Prado.

Team GB Olympic captin Thomas Stalker is also on the bill, along with young stars Erick Ochieng, Dale Evans and Maxi Hughes.