01/04/2014 17:51, Report by Mark Froggatt
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Q&A: Anthony Crolla

The WBO intercontinental lightweight champion discusses United and his upcoming fight with Manchester rival John Murray...

How did it feel to be paraded on the pitch before the derby?
I don’t want to sound corny, but I had to pinch myself because I have been a Red since being a boy and it only dawned on me that I was on the pitch when Alan Keegan asked his first question. It doesn’t get much better than that for me. The result wasn’t ideal, but I was very proud of the reception I received from the fans.

Speaking of City, how excited are you to fight John Murray on 19 April?
Definitely! I’ve had some high-profile fights against some very good fighters, but this is the biggest of my career in terms of public interest. I’ve been in four Manchester derbies and won all four, but this is different because that are lots of factors involved. Me and John are good mates, we used to train together under Joe Gallagher and we support United and City. There is no problem between me and John, we will go out for a drink after the fight, but once that bell goes there won’t be any friendship. We are focused on doing a job on each other. More and more Reds are getting behind me and I appreciate it massively. We both have the same friends so there might be a few neutrals in there on the night, but I hope to have the red side of Manchester in my corner. 

Is it strange that you both know each other so well? 
It is a bit. I have been in John’s corner before and he

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