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Preview: Scott Quigg, Anthony Crolla, John Murray, Callum Smith fight in Manchester

Sports Mole previews Matchroom Sport's 'Rise Up' bill at the Phones4U Arena in Manchester on Saturday Evening.

British super-bantamweight Scott Quigg will attempt to make the third defence of his WBA title on Saturday evening when he faces South African Tshifhiwa Munyai at the Phones4U Arena.

Elsewhere on the bill, Anthony Crolla will be hoping to move a step closer to a world title shot when he faces Manchester compatriot John Murray, while Callum Smith with be hoping to mark his first appearance in six months with an explosive performance against Francois Bastient.

Below, Sports Mole assesses the headline fights, while also taking a look at the undercard put together by promoter Eddie Hearn.

Scott Quigg vs. Tshifhiwa Munyai

Scott Quigg has spent the past two months preparing for an opponent, Nehomar Cermeno, who had been expected to test his credentials at the top of the super-bantamweight division, but whom he was ultimately expected to move past en route to bigger and better things in 2014.

However, after the Venezuelan withdrew because of visa issues, South African Tshifhiwa Munyai was inserted into the bout, but this isn't your usual bog-standard replacement who is making a huge step up in class to compete for a world title.

Munyai, who has only lost twice in a 27-fight professional career, has been described as "tricky, quick, and dangerous" by Quigg's trainer Joe Gallagher, and there is no danger that Quigg will be complacent when he steps through the ropes on Saturday night.

After securing a majority draw against Yoandris Salinas in September, the Bury combatant was clinical in seeing off Diego Oscar Silva in his last bout, but the Quigg camp are fully aware that they face a tougher evening against Munyai, who has previously held the IBO strap.

Quigg, though, rightly goes into the match as the favourite, and if he can come through it in style, it will set up the possibility of a unification clash in the summer against either Kiko Martinez or Leo Santa Cruz.

Scott Quigg in action with Yoandris Salinas during their WBA World Super Bantamweight Championship bout at O2 Arena on October 5, 2013© Getty Images

Anthony Crolla vs. John Murray

After making a name for himself in his classic showdowns with Derry Mathews, Anthony Crolla moved into the spotlight after he got the better of Gavin Rees over the distance in June.

The Mancunian followed that up by stopping Stephen Foster inside six rounds in November, and after moving up to number five in the WBO rankings, the 27-year-old is potentially just a couple of fights away from earning his first crack on the global stage.

However, standing in his way on Saturday night is a resurgent John Murray, who has world title aspirations of his own after storming past John Simpson in Glasgow on March 1.

The 29-year-old's previous pursuit of a world crown ended in failure when he suffered defeat to Brandon Rios, but after two years away from the sport, Murray looks refreshed and his Manchester showdown with Crolla has the potential to be an epic confrontation.

Crolla is perhaps the marginal favourite, but whoever prevails will have genuine reason to believe that they deserve to be thrown into the deep end later in 2014.

Anthony Crolla celebrates after beating Gavin Rees (not pictured) after the WBO Inter-Continental Lightweight championship fight at Bolton Arena on June 29, 2013© Getty Images


The main attraction on the undercard is Josh Warrington's featherweight clash with Rendall Munroe for the Commonwealth title.

Warrington was hugely impressive in stopping Samir Mouneimne late last year, while Munroe is attempting to rebuild after losing out to world prospect Lee Selby in February.

Liverpudlian Callum Smith has spent the last six months waiting for a chance to build on his success over Ruben Eduardo Acosta in October, and while Francois Bastient shouldn't present him with any problems, it's a chance to blow off the cobwebs ahead of his encounter with Tobias Webb in May.

Stephen Foster will hope to take a step towards rebuilding his career when he faces Santiago Bustos, while Tyrone Nurse faces Tyler Goodjohn for the English light-welterweight title.

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Scott Quigg celebrates his victory over Rendell Munroe during their Super Bantamweight bout at the MEN Arena on November 24, 2012
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Gallagher: Quigg faces "tricky" fight

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