World title contender Anthony Crolla may never fight again after being brutally attacked while confronting burglars, his trainer Joe Gallagher fears.
The Mancunian was left with a fractured skull and broken ankle after pursuing two men who he saw in his garden after hearing his neighbour's burglar alarm going off last night.
His long-awaited world title shot against Richar Abril on January 23 has obviously been scrapped and his trainer Gallagher is unsure whether the likeable fighter will even be able to box again.
"I went straight to the hospital last night and he was very emotional. He was shocked, stunned, very upset," Gallagher told Press Association Sport.
"When I spoke to him this morning he was discombobulated, all over the place, taking in everything that's happened. Boxing is his life but it plays second fiddle at the moment."
He added: "We were so grateful for the world title opportunity but that's gone.
"Whether they can reschedule it, whether he'll get the opportunity again and whether he can even ever fight again remain to be seen but first we have to concentrate on getting Anthony back to full health."
Crolla, who lives in Chadderton, near Oldham, managed to catch one of the two suspected burglars as they tried to climb a wall, prompting the other to pick up a concrete slab and slam it over the diminutive former British and Commonwealth champion's head.
"Some would even say he's been very lucky, because it could have been tragic," Gallagher said.
"If that slab had landed at a slightly different angle, we might not have had Anthony with us today at all.
"He's the nicest kid you could meet and where most people would see something like that happening and close their curtains, the warrior in him kicked in.
"He's only 5ft 8ft and 9st 9lbs but he went out there. The support he's had has been incredible.
"He's an amazing, special human being."
World heavyweight title contender Tyson Fury, also from Greater Manchester, was quick to send his support to Crolla on Wednesday.
"My thoughts are with Anthony Crolla," he said. "It's a big shame. He's been gearing up and been on good form to get this world title shot.
"It just shows how it can be given to you and taken away so simply.
"I'm sure Eddie Hearn will get him a postponement on it and get him another title shot."
Crolla was due to face Cuban champion Abril for the WBA lightweight title in Manchester next month.
Matchroom promoter Eddie Hearn tweeted last night: "Gutted to confirm that @ant-crolla is in hospital with a head and ankle injury after confronting burglars at/near his property.
"Anthony is in a stable condition in Oldham hospital. Unfortunately the Jan 23rd fight is off but concerns right now are with Ant and family."
The 28-year-old, known as 'Million Dollar', had said about the scheduled fight with Abril: "To have the world title shot in Manchester is a huge factor.
"Without wanting to sound cheesy, it doesn't get any bigger than that.
"I am a Manchester lad so to be fighting in Manchester for a world title, I couldn't ask for anything more and the only way it could get better than that is to go out there and win it."