WBO lightweight star, Terry Flanagan, is determined to prove himself the number one at 135lbs when he faces off against Orlando Cruz at Cardiff’s Motorpoint Arena.
Flanagan himself admits that his last performance was not his best but is keen to impress the Welsh fans against Cruz.
“I’ve been given a second chance to show Cardiff exactly what I’m about; an exciting southpaw, the best fighter on a good bill, the world’s best lightweight,’ said Flanagan.
“Last time, I was sh** really. I make no excuses because it was probably the best camp I had – far better than when I destroyed Diego Magdaleno – and I made weight comfy. I really expected to put on a good performance but my head weren’t right. I was flat.
“After the fight got put back, I just couldn’t get up for it. The atmosphere weren’t the best for my fight and, after 30 seconds, it was clear Fana had just come to survive. Then, I got cut through being daft.
“Still, I completed 12 rounds at my pace and it was an easy night’s work. There was plenty to learn from and make sure in never happens again.”
Should Flanagan emerge victorious against Cruz, it will mark his fifth world title defence and ensure the Manchester based champion gets some fantastic fights at either 135 or 140lbs in 2017.
“Super-lightweight will probably suit me better,” stated Flanagan.
“I’ll carry my speed up plus I’ll be stronger and able to work that bit harder. But I’ll move up in weight when I choose to, not because I have to. It is getting harder but provided I eat clean and avoid ‘cheats’, it’s not an issue.
“The names at 140 are no better than those at lightweight and I‘d definitely like to unify before I step up. I’ve still got possible fights with Linares, Crolla and Felix Vardejo to take care of.
“It’s heavily rumoured that Crolla and Linares will rematch in the new year. Me and Crolla in Manchester would be huge if he avenged Linares. But we’ve offered the fight to Anthony’s team before and I really don’t think they want it. His camp knows I’m all wrong for him, a superior boxer with a higher work rate. He’s made for me.
“I’d prefer Linares any way. He looked fragile when Crolla put it on him early doors and his corner seemed very worried. I think he’s ‘chinny’ and I’m confident I’d stop him if I hit him clean.
“But if I can’t get that unification, I definitely intend to honour my mandatory against Verdajo early in the new year. I’ve heard he’s booked for St Patrick’s Day at Madison Square Garden and I’ll happily oblige him. He’s a decent technical boxer but I’ve a lot more to my game.”