WBO lightweight champion, Terry Flanagan, came face to face with his next opponent, Petr Petrov, at a press conference, ahead of their contest at the Manchester Arena on Saturday, April 8th.
Flanagan, who remains undefeated, is eyeing a big unification bout in the later this year and is leaving no stone unturned in his preparation for his fight with Petrov.
“If I’m not 100% against Petrov I could slip up,” said Flanagan. “If I’m not on my game he’s a potential banana skin and I won’t get those big unification fights later on in the year. First and foremost I need to get in the gym and do the hard work. Me at my best beats him at his best.
“He’s been at World level for years now and he’s right up there. He’s got four losses on his record but they were all against good fighters. Petr is a seasoned fighter but on the night I can adapt and deal with whatever he brings.
“Personally I don’t think you’ve seen the best of me yet. There’s still a lot more to come from me and I’m looking forward to showing people what I can do on April 8th. I still think I’m boxing within myself. I’ve never been behind in a fight so I’ve never had to show what I’m made of. You’ll see the best of me when I do go behind in a fight.
“My better nights are still to come, which says a lot a 32-0 and preparing to make my fifth World Title defence. Petrov is a great fighter, he can come at you and also box a bit. This is going to be a tough fight and your next fight is always your hardest fight. Every time I’ve boxed at arenas in Manchester I’ve come away with stoppage wins, I want to keep that up on April 8th.”
Petrov has contested a world title once before, in 2011, when he was stopped by Marcos Maidana. However, the tough Russian has had a good run of form, winning his six on the trot since his last defeat, at the hands of Dejan Zlaticanin in 2013.
“I’ve been waiting a very long time for another shot at a World Title,” said Petrov. “Finally it has come around and I think at the age of 33 this fight has come at the perfect time for me. I’m quicker and more agile than ever, I’m in the best form of my life.
“I’m stronger and I’m smarter than I was earlier in my career. That comes from training in America, it has made me a more intelligent fighter. Los Angeles is a great place for sparring, I’ve been sparring with southpaws from Japan, Russia and the United States in preparation for Terry. I understand how important sparring is and that’s what we’ll be paying attention to in the run-up to the fight.
“I respect Terry as an undefeated World Champion, you have to. He is a very good boxer but I still think he has a lot to show. I’ve been around the block and fought a lot of different opponents. If I prepare well and execute my game plan I know I can beat him.”
Flanagan vs. Petrov will headline an exciting card at the Manchester Arena, which will also feature; a super welterweight showdown between Liam Smith and Liam Williams; exciting South African, Zolani Tete vs. Arthur Villanueva in a final eliminator for the WBO world bantamweight title; the professional debut of Nicola Adams, a double Olympic gold medallist and the professional debut of former Team GB heavyweight, Daniel Dubois.
Also on the card; Jimmy Kelly squares off against Rick Godding; Zelfa Barrett competes in a six round contest; James Metcalf meets Mark Thomson and Steven Lewis faces Andy Keates.
Tickets for April 8 priced £50, £70, £100, £150, £200, £300 and VIP £500 are available from eventim at www.eventim.co.uk and 0844 249 1000 and the Manchester Arena at www.manchester-arena.com and 0844 847 8000.