Smith & Flanagan rule the World in Manchester
Liam Smith and Terry Flanagan flew the flag high for British boxing tonight in Manchester.
Both men put in spectular displays to ensure World Title success across two different weight divisions.
Liam, who was fighting for the World Title seven years ago to the day from making his pro debut, took on John Thompson of New Jersey for the vacant WBO Junior Middleweight crown.
After a steady opening, Thompson looked to use his reach advantage peppering Smith with a long, lingering jab.
‘Beefy’ clocked the ‘Apollo Kidd’ in the second with a big right hand, which bought a smirk from the American who jabbed away to claim the second round.
Into the third, the Scouser Smith made inroads. Closing the distance and finding his range.
The fourth followed suit, despite some impressive movement from Thompson – Smith landed the telling punches and finished the stronger.
After being largely outboxed in the fifth, round six was to be the turning point. After piercing Thompson’s guard with some short, ram-rod jabs Smith sensed danger rocking his opponent with a flurry. It was a huge round for Smith.
Thompson was hunted around the ring when the bell resumed the fight, Smith smelt blood and went for the kill.
A sensational left hook followed by a rocket like right hand had the Apollo Kidd in all sorts of trouble, the end was near and Smith’s moment of glory came with another big right which was teed up with a crisp trademark body shot. Referee Marcus McDonnell waved off the contest with Beefy’s hand raised as the new champion.
In the night’s main event and second World Title fight, Terry Flanagan made the first defence of his WBO World Lightweight Title against mandatory challenger Diego Magdaleno.
Legendary announcer Jimmy Lennon Jr introduced the fighters to his famous ‘It’s Showtime!’ quote as the fans erupted.
It was a comfortable opening round for ‘Turbo’ who used the distance to keep things long, he caught Magdaleno on the bell which shocked him back to his corner.
The challenger appeared to be struggling with either his footwear, or the ring by falling over on two occasions. One of which, was ruled a no knock down.
As soon as the second round started, it was all one way traffic.
The unbeaten Flanagan steamed into Magdaleno like a man possessed.
Three quick savage knock downs ensured Terry Flanagan retained his World Title in dramatic fashion.
Referee Terry O’ Connor perhaps could have stopped the contest after the second, when an uppercut of pin point precision dashed Magdaleno’s last hopes of victory into thin air.
Somehow, the Las Vegas native got to his feet only for another onslaught which drew the conclusion of the fight.
It was the performance of his career by a country mile and arguably by any British fighter this year.
Big fights await Terry Flanagan and after that display, he’ll surely get the recognition he deserves.
A truly great night for British boxing.
Preview: Hometown hero Flanagan set for first WBO World title defence
Terry "Turbo" Flanagan takes his unbeaten record into his maiden world title defence as he looks to continue his journey in Ricky Hatton's footsteps when he faces the mandatory challenger Diego Magdaleno.
The 28-0 Mancunian followed in the footsteps of his hero Ricky Hatton when he captured the WBO World Lightweight title at Manchester Arena in July 2015, and now he takes his title into a first defence against 28-1 Magdaleno.
And now the unbeaten star returns to the same venue on October 10 where he'll once again be roared on by a partisan crowd. It'll take a brave fighter to come in to Flanagan's backyard and leave with his WBO crown.
Ten years previous, Flanagan was in attendance when Ricky Hatton defeated Kostya Tszyu to take the IBF World Light-Welterweight title.
The Ancoats Assassin was able to add his name to Manchester folklore when he defeated the previously unbeaten Jose Zepeda, who was forced to retire on his stool after dislocating his shoulder during the second round. The southpaw made history that night by becoming Britain's' first ever lightweight world champion.
Fellow southpaw Diego Magdaleno 28-1 (12 KOs), has been selected Flanagan's opponent and will be fighting in England for the first time in his career. Jose Zepeda was denied a mandatory rematch with Flanagan, who now faces mandatory challenger Magdaleno. The American could prove problematic for Flanagan, as he enters the biggest fight of his career on a five-fight winning streak.
The championship card will be packed with top British talent, also featuring Liam Smith in a vacant WBO World Light-Middleweight title showdown against John Thompson, and a host of up-and-coming British stars.