Anthony Crolla
Crolla ready for his return to the ring. Getty

Anthony Crolla will make his long-awaited return to the ring against Darleys Perez for the World Boxing Association (WBA) lightweight title on 18 July.

Crolla, 28, suffered a fractured skull when he was struck over the head with a concrete slab and also broke his ankle after confronting intruders at his neighbours' home before Christmas.

The career-threatening injuries immediately saw his proposed WBA title bout with Richar Abril scrapped and left his career hanging in the balance.

But with his gruelling rehabilitation complete, the Manchester-born fighter can now begin counting the days to his emotional return to the ring against Perez.

"It's amazing to be back in the ring and fighting for my first World title," said Crolla. "Lying in my hospital bed after the attack, I didn't know what the future held. I was just lucky to be alive, but I have worked so hard and had so much support that I have to win that World title on July 18.

"Perez is a great fighter and I know I am going to have to be at my very best to beat him, but with everything that has happened, it feels like I am destined to win the belt and I will be busting a gut in the gym to be in the best shape I have even been in on the night to get that belt."

Promoter Eddie Hearn said: "First he received the dream news that he would challenge Richard Abril for the WBA title and then just weeks later his world came crashing down when he suffered life-threatening injuries after trying to apprehend burglars from his neighbour's property. When we got the news of Anthony's injuries it was touch and go whether he would fight again.

"He has shown remarkable strength and bravery and I promised him I would deliver him a shot at the World title in his return. On July 18 Anthony will face the talented Darleys Perez for the WBA World title in front of his own people; people that should be so proud to call him their own. I hope the city gets behind this hero and we can get him over the line to become champion of the world."