'Improving' Anthony Crolla eager to prove he can beat Jorge Linares

Anthony Crolla lost his WBA lightweight title to Jorge Linares in September. Ben Hoskins/Getty Images

Anthony Crolla insists he is still improving as a fighter as he bids for revenge against Jorge Linares on March 25.

Linares (41-3, 27 KOs) confirmed his status as the lightweight division's No. 1 after nearly a year out due to injury when he out-pointed Crolla (31-5-3, 13 KOs) at the Manchester Arena in September.

Now the pair are due to meet again at the same venue.

The Venezuelan boxer, who was stripped of his WBC belt in 2015 due to inactivity, will also put his WBC Diamond belt on the line against Crolla.

Briton Crolla, 30, is already in training for the rematch after weeks of speculation that the pair would meet again in March.

"I've been in the gym right the way up to Christmas even though the fight is a little bit of a while off," said Crolla.

"I'm working hard and making improvements, I will have to show improvements in the rematch if I am to win.

"I came up short on the night against the better man -- with those improvements I believe I can change the result this time around.

"I see Jorge as the best lightweight in the world and I want to be the best lightweight in the world.

"It is always up for discussion that label of course, he is seen as the man at the moment and I want to test myself against the very best, even though I have already been in with him. These are the fights that I want to be involved in.

"No excuses from me from the first fight -- I came up short against a great fighter. I thought the fight itself was going well, I felt like I was in control up until the sixth round, he caught me with a great shot and buzzed me.

"I felt that in the next round it took a bit of zap out of my punches and legs. Linares used his experience and won the last few rounds, which is usually what I do.

"The better the opponent, the better I will perform. I'm improving still as a fighter and athlete despite turning 30 recently."

Crolla won the WBA belt by stopping Darleys Perez in November 2015 -- following a controversial draw with the Colombian earlier in the year -- and made one successful defence before losing a unanimous decision to Linares.

Linares' win over Crolla was his first fight for nearly a year due to a fractured right hand and says he will also have to better on his return to Britain.

"Crolla is a tremendous fighter with a lot of heart so I know I must train twice as hard for another tough fight," said Linares.