Exclusive interview

WBO World Lightweight Champion Terry Flanagan is fully focused ahead of his World Title defence against Derry Mathews on Saturday 12 March.

World Title challenger Mathews has previously hinted that earning a shot at full world honours, in his home city, in his 50th landmark fight, is fate.

“Theres no such thing as destiny. Its about training hard, putting the work in the gym and then ultimately in the ring. Im the better fighter and Ill show that on the night.”

Speaking at the West Ham Boys ABC Gym before filming ‘Boxing Tonightwith Paul Dempsey and Richie Woodhall on BT Sport 2, Flanagan exclusively revealed to BoxNation his injury worries are behind him: “Im back to normal now, 100% - I wanted to fight but pulling out originally will turn out to be the right decision in the long run.”

Terry Flanagan on BT Sport

Flanagan has received extensive treatment from the physios at Manchester City F.C to help cure severe tendonitis in his left foot: “We didnt want to give him any chance. If were both at 100% I beat him - I had to get myself right first, this is World level now.”

With the countdown ticking to fight night, the defending Champion is relishing the chance to win on away turf.

“The pressure is on him, hes got to fight in front of his own fans. Ive always wanted to fight in someone elses back yard and beat them.”

Theres history, the pair previously met in the shorter Prizefighter format, but ‘Turbohas played down that fight despite picking up the victory.

Derry’s a good fighter, he’s won so many titles. He deserves a shot at a World title but unfortunately its against me! Its not going to be his night.”

Diego Magdaleno was blitzed away in sensational style in Flanagans first title defence, but the 26 year old is geared up to go the distance if required this time.

“Im prepared for twelve hard rounds but Im going in from round one giving it my all. You saw with Quigg the other day, he gave away too many early rounds. If he would have started earlier he would have won the fight.”

 

Theres been plenty of speculation an all Manchester World Title unification bout could take place if both Terry and Anthony Crolla come through their next respective fights.

Crolla is in line to fight unbeaten Venezuelan puncher Ismael Barroso, who ended Kevin Mitchells World Title aspirations back in December.

“I think Crolla will win if they meet. I watched the fight with Mitchell, he looked strong but with Crollas tight hands I think he can hurt Barroso and cause him problems of his own. Its a hard fight for Anthony, but I think hell come through it.”

“Hes a good friend of mine. It would be massive. Both World Champions from the same school, if we could get it on it would be huge. Its nothing personal, just business,” continued Flanagan.

Speculation about potential future clashes aside, Flanagans eyes are firmly on ‘Dirty Derrywho is arguably at his most dangerous when hurt.

“I want to unify the division, Derry is up first which I can’t look past. It’s a tougher fight than people are making out.”

In preparation for Mathews, unbeaten Super-Lightweight Josh Leather has been drafted in for sparring.

“Ive got two more spars left, Tuesday and Thursday. Josh is a good kid. Tall, rangy and a good boxer – similar to Derry in ways.”

Acting as chief support to the WBO World Lightweight Title fight, pound for pound superstar Guillermo Rigondeaux takes on local lad Jazza Dickens.

“Hes a good fighter! I appreciate good boxing skills, its great to have someone of Rigos stature on the bill. He has been put down recently and looks too relaxed sometimes. Jazza has a chance!”

You can watch Terry Flanagans World Title defence against Derry Mathews exclusively live on BoxNation, Saturday 12 March from Liverpool’s Echo Arena.

Flanagan v Mathews