THOSE WHO CONTEST Terry Flanagan's capacity to flourish in the world lightweight playground are diminishing with each passing fight.
The 25-year-old Manchester southpaw cemented his right to contest the WBO World Lightweight title last Saturday with an emphatic ten round disqualification win over Dublin's Stephen Ormond, after a savage battle that was high in both quality and intensity.
'Turbo Terry', now undefeated in 27, increasingly looks 'The Real Deal' and, though he might not be the most aesthetic or explosive 135lber in Britain right now, he is building a strong case to be considered the most effective.
Ormond represented easily the stiffest test of Flanagan's fighting life. But the rising Mancunian held his shape and defensive discipline to stave off early avalanches, before torturing Ormond mentally and physically to a point where the red mist descended.
After finally being docked a point for continually rutting his head into Flanagan's face in round nine, the Dubliner was evicted after several similar transgressions a round later. The Englishman was eight points to the good after nine completed rounds on all three official cards when the fight was curtailed.
There is so much to commend about Flanagan, who is competent in all areas without really excelling in any.
For a start, there is his size. Though a fraction short of 5ft 10 in tall, there is nothing willowy about him. He is broad shouldered and possesses a sinewy strength that enabled him to more than hold his own whenever affairs got up close and personal.
The Manc has become a master at fully capitalising on the routine advantages he enjoys in height and reach and, when coupled with his left handed stance, he brings an awkwardness that is extremely difficult to overcome.
It remains a wonder how Flanagan compresses his frame into the 9st 9lb division cut-off. He required two visits before settling the scales here and it's conceivable that, in time, strimming down to lightweight will compromise his strength. However, for now, he is a physical beast.
And while he is yet to complete the full 12 round world championship trip, he breezed through ten here at a ferocious clip. He was clearly on the ascent at the close.
Still only 25, he is already very adept technically and there's plenty of time for additional development. Blessed with a hard, snappy jab and quick feet, the reigning British champ also possesses a solid body attack and fast-improving firepower. Ormond was the seventh of his last nine victims who failed to complete the course.
Such an expansive skill set enables Flanagan to mix things up tactically and coach Steve Maylett deserves props for devising a winning game plan 27 times out of 27.
But perhaps what impressed most was his unflappable temperament under suffocating early pressure and the perpetual provocation of Ormond's wayward nut. Another box ticked!
Terry will require all of the attributes listed - and then some - now that he advances to the world sphere. Later this year he will challenge whoever prevails in a second eliminator between Texan Juan 'Baby Bull' Diaz and Japan's Takahiro Ao - both two-weight world champions - but both now the wrong side of 30 - for the WBO title that Omaha's Terence Crawford is primed to vacate.
It is certainly no 'gimme' but, having profited from a quality apprenticeship under the guidance of manager Steve Wood, 'the 'Turbo' is now building up a momentum that one senses will be very hard to suppress.