Anthony Crolla is eager to become a two-time world champion in 2018 as he plots his route back into contention after defeating Glasgow’s Ricky Burns in Manchester in October.
Having lost his WBA lightweight belt to Jorge Linares in 2016, Crolla believes that his significant victory over Burns will move him one step closer towards another world title shot.
He said: “I almost felt that my career was on the line that night. Ricky is a great fighter, but I knew it was a must-win fight and my plan is to win world titles and I want to be a two-time world champion.
“I have shared the ring with Jorge twice so there isn’t massive demand to fight him again, but whoever has got a world title or whoever can put me in a position for a world title again is who I am happy to fight next.”
After their keenly-fought contest, Burns felt he did not do enough for a victory over Crolla but wants a second chance at beating the 31-year-old in Glasgow, near to his native Coatbridge.
While Burns is intent on a rematch, the former WBA champion believes he would be making a "sideways step" to face Scotland’s first three-weight world champion.
“I like Ricky a lot, he’s a lovely lad, but I certainly thought I had done enough that night and 90-odd per cent of the people that night thought that as well.
“I’ve always been a fighter that would happily fight anyone put in front of me, but would that fight put me in a better position for a world title? Probably not.”
Domestic lightweight rival Luke Campbell lost his WBA lightweight challenge against Linares in September, with the Venezuelan immediately turning his attentions to WBC world champion Mikey Garcia before ultimately agreeing to meet Mercito Gesta on January 27. Garcia looks likely to take on Omar Figueroa on the same date.
With Campbell seemingly at a loose end, Crolla would gladly meet the 2012 Olympic gold medallist in an all-British battle at 135lbs.
“Luke is someone that I respect a lot I think he’s a fantastic fighter and it would certainly be a battle of Britain and throughout my career I have had plenty of those battles, and is something I am not scared to do.
“I think mine and Luke’s styles would gel for a really good fight, so hopefully we do meet at one point and it will be nice for a world title."
Fellow Mancunian, Terry Flanagan, recently vacated his WBO title and moved up to super-lightweight division, scuppering lingering hopes of a showdown that has long been discussed.
“There was always politics involved in that fight, I know he had no problem fighting me and I certainly don’t have problem fighting Terry.
“We made a very good offer after the Burns fight and I think Terry was happy to take it, it was a really good payday, but due to promotional issues they wanted to go another way and I wish Terry the best of luck.”