Anthony Crolla: Ex-boxer 'heartbroken' after Manchester gym burns down

By Suzanne HaileyReporter, North West Tonight
Anthony Crolla
Anthony Crolla retired after 45 fights as a professional in November 2019

Former WBA lightweight world champion Anthony Crolla says he is "absolutely heartbroken" after his gym was destroyed in a fire at a mill in Greater Manchester.

The Briton ended his 13-year professional boxing career in November.

Crolla, 33, told the BBC he started his amateur career at the gym, before taking it over 18 months ago.

"The gym was packed out every night with kids, it was a big part of the community," said the Mancunian.

A number of other business were destroyed in the blaze, which started on Sunday morning at Morton Mill in Failsworth.

"The gym is destroyed, the building is just a shell. There are a lot of other business, this is not just about me. This is people's livelihoods," added Crolla.

"We will come back better than ever, without a doubt, but I am worried with the current coronavirus situation that it will take more time.

"And while I am devastated, I understand that there are bigger things happening.

"There are people who are losing their lives all the time. You have to put things into perspective. I know that as a young amateur club we will come back better than ever and come through this."

Steve Jordan, incident commander with Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service, said: "Investigations are under way to try to determine the exact cause. We are working with various partners and also our fire investigation team to understand the origin of the fire."