Bouts: 27 (27 wins, 10 KOs)
Trainer: Steve Maylett
The WBO Lightweight Championship of the World is at stake, the
opportunity is to become the first Englishman to claim such a belt,
the setting is the scene of many a glory night in the world of
pedal-power and just happens to be walking distance from his front
For Terry Flanagan though, it is just his 28th night at the
The Manchester Velodrome is the stage for local boy Flanagan to
contest the vacant title against Jose Zepeda on 11 July, a
coming together where something has got to give between two
unbeaten fighters - someone's 0 has gotta go.
Such is his nature and pre-fight mode, Flanagan won't be doing
anything different as he approaches his date with what he believes
is his destiny at the venue situated alongside the home of his
beloved Manchester City FC.
There will be no pre-fight snarling or shoving to whip up late
interest, just an inner belief and conviction that his time has
come. Time to step out of the shadows and become Manchester's first
world champion since Ricky Hatton a decade ago.
"It is for me - I just see it as another fight," said the
26-year-old on his mindset going into the biggest night of his
career. "I know it's a bigger fight, a world title fight, but at
the end of the day it is still two people getting into the ring and
having a fight. At the end the best man will be world champion. I
won't think about that until the end.
"It will just be me and him, man against man," added the man known
as Turbo, who admits there is a sense of occasion surrounding the
event, opponent and location. It is just that he chooses not to let
it enter his pre-fight thinking.
"I always blank it out. I don't listen to any of the hype, none of
the talk - such as who he's been sparring with or knocked out in
the gym. I just ignore it all, get on with it and do what I
"It is great and what I asked for, I couldn't have asked for more.
What they've done for me, getting it five minutes away from my
house, a world title fight - it is unbelievable.
"I am happy, but I also would have been happy to go over there and
fight for a world title. To get it here is even better."
While he may be opting for the low-key approach, there is no
getting away from the fervent local - and increasing national -
interest in the fight.
"Absolutely everyone is buzzing, telling me they are going to my
fight, stopping me in the street and telling me they can't wait and
not long now. I hope they all enjoy it and have a great
The Blue side of Manchester became synonymous with boxing during
the Hatton era, with Blue Moon ringing out as the Hitman took to
the ring in front of his adoring army.
Flanagan hopes there will be more of the same reserved for him
being a solid Cityzen, but knows that times have dramatically
changed since City fans sought a spot of reflected glory via the
exploits of a famous fan.
"At the time Hatton was boxing City had nothing really," he
reflected on the days pre-Sheik Mansour lavishing his millions to
elevate City to the nation's elite. "They were down in division one
or borderline Premier League. Now we're winning things.
"The City fans used to jump on it to follow Ricky Hatton to be
part of someone winning things, but now City are winning stuff.
Hopefully they will get behind me too, like they did with
"I'm a big City fan and I go when I can. Training interrupts a
lot, but when I can go I do."
While happy that his team has acquired a winning habit and the
trophies to go with it, Flanagan admits there is one trait he does
not want to share with his favourites should he have his own
Aguero-moment and emerge victorious against Zepeda. That is failing
in the first defence and not landing successive titles.
"When we win the league we seem to take our foot off the gas a bit
and don't go for back-to-back titles once we've won it. You can't
do that in the Premier League because every game is a hard
"If you do that you are gonna get beat and we lost against the
lesser clubs, but still beat the bigger clubs.
"It is something I won't do! Every fight I have always trained 100
per cent. When I fought journeymen early in my career I always
thought 'I can't slip up' - I was too scared of losing to take
Flanagan knows he will be up against it against the highly rated
Zepeda and has employed the assistance of gym-mates Jack Catterall
and Robbie Davies Jnr for sparring to ready himself for the
He views his mission as one far from impossible, believing the
threat he poses to his opponent to be the greater. Not that he has
been scouring through YouTube to study endless footage.
"Not much, I leave it to my coach and he tells me what to work
on," he reported. "I've seen bits of him and I know what to expect.
From what I have seen, he is good, really good, so I know I'm in
for a hard fight. He will be too because he has not fought anyone
as good as me.
"I haven't fought anyone as good as him, we are both unbeaten and
it is going to be a great fight.
"I think people will be looking at me as favourite, I've had the
harder fights. The people he has fought he has bullied out of
there, but I would have done the same to them.
"I know he switches to southpaw at times so I have been working on
that because I have not fought many southpaws. Training has gone
really well and I can't fault it."
The profile of the Turbo should really be fully charged should
Zepeda be added to his victim list of vanquished opponents,
something he feels he would deserve after quietly going about his
boxing business to date.
"It's got to do, hasn't it? If I win this I will be world champion
and people should start to take notice of me.
"I haven't really tried to be low key, I'm just not one to shout
my mouth off saying I'm going to do this or that. The likes of
Kevin Mitchell, Anthony Crolla and Derry Matthews have all been
beat, I haven't, but they still talk and get world title shots. I'm
unbeaten, my title shot is here now and I think it is well
deserved," added Flanagan, who admits there was an annoyance over
being frozen out of the British-mix earlier in his career before
claiming the Lonsdale Belt in 2014.
"It did a bit because I think I should have been at British level
a lot sooner than I was. I'm glad to be at world level now and I
think I'm where I need to be - a world title shot at this stage of
my career having just turned 26. It's going to be an interesting
few years now.
"I still wouldn't have minded experiencing those fights at British
level. Even if I did take a loss, they would have still been good
learning fights. When I have been put in with good kids I've dealt
with them - most of my last ten opponents have failed to reach the
final bell. It shows I'm doing something right."
Indeed he is, but it was a bruising battle in the Black Country
that provided the passport to punching at world level. Stephen
Ormond used his head, but not in the smartest fashion and was
disqualified in the 10th round at the Civic Hall in Wolverhampton
after Flanagan had established significant gains on the judges
cards. The WBO European title was duly won and a shot at the bigger
"That's it, we knew and that's why we took the fight with Ormond
when I could have defended the British," he recalled. "When I was
offered it for a world title eliminator I jumped at the
"There was a lot of pressure on the fight and I done what I needed
to do. I didn't show what I could do in parts of the fight and made
it scruffy and got dragged into a scrap a bit - I won't be doing
that in this one.
"I knew I would come through that and now I'm going to come
through this and become a world champion."