Boxing world title hopeful Anthony Crolla was last night in hospital after a “sickening” attack by burglars who smashed him over the head with a concrete slab.
The 28-year-old fighter has a possible fractured skull and a broken right ankle after he was attacked by two people he was chasing away from his neighbour’s home in Chadderton, near Oldham, according to his trainer Joe Gallagher.
Sports promoter Eddie Hearn tweeted: “Gutted to confirm that Crolla is in hospital with a head and ankle injury after confronting burglars at/near his property.”
Crolla – known as “Million Dollar” – from Manchester has fought in the super featherweight and lightweight divisions and is the current holder of the WBO intercontinental lightweight title after beating Gavin Rees.
He had been due to face the Cuban Richar Abril for the WBA world lightweight title in Manchester on 23 January but Mr Hearn tweeted that the fight would not go ahead.
He said: “Anthony is in a stable condition in Oldham hospital. Unfortunately the fight is off but concerns right now are with Ant and family.”
He added: “You ask anyone in boxing, doubt you could find a nicer kid than Crolla, absolutely gutted for him.”
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Crolla was said to be conscious, with his girlfriend Fran Sanderson and one-year-old son Jesse at his bedside.
Mr Gallagher said Crolla was devastated at having lost his chance at the world title.
“I’ve spoken to him and he’s heartbroken. All he was thinking about was protecting his neighbour’s property and now his world title dream is over,” he said.
“He’s got stitches in his head and the wound is quite deep. They said it might be a fractured skull. He has to have surgery on his foot, which is broken in two places.”
Describing what happened, he added: “The next-door neighbours were being burgled and the burglars came into his garden.
“He gave chase and apprehended one of them, and the other one lifted a slab of concrete and hit him with it, and he fell and broke his ankle. He had heard the alarm was going off and phoned his neighbours and they were not in. He saw the patio window had been put in and he shouted at them so they started to run off.
“It’s sickening to think someone can do that. I don’t think it’s really sunk in. It could have killed him stone dead.
“I hope someone will flush them out. If they’re bragging about it, hopefully whoever they’ve talked to will do the right thing.”
A host of boxing’s biggest names have sent messages on Twitter to the star, wishing him a quick recovery.
Two-time world champion Amir Khan said: “Really sorry to hear the news about Ant. Hope you get well soon mate.”
Former welterweight world champion Ricky Hatton said: “Burglars beat Ant up. After he worked so hard to get his world title shot, has severe head injuries and a broken ankle. F****** scumbags.”
Audley Harrison, ex-European heavyweight champion, said: “Sorry to hear the news about Ant. What is wrong with people? Get well soon bud.”
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