Terry Flanagan ready to make history against Jose Zepeda
British lightweight contender Terry Flanagan insists he is ready to make some boxing history when he faces American Jose Zepeda for the vacant WBO title next month at the Manchester Velodrome, England.
Victory over undefeated Zepeda (23-0, 20 knockouts) on July 11 will ensure local favorite Flanagan (27-0, 10 KOs) becomes England’s first ever 135-pound belt winner.
Essex’s Kevin Mitchell, THE RING’s No. 7 at lightweight, nearly achieved that elusive feat for the English last Saturday at the O2 Arena in London before being stopped in the tenth round of a thrilling showdown with WBC beltholder Jorge Linares.
But while aware he will have to be at his very best to beat the powerful Zepeda, the 25-year-old Flanagan certainly believes he can rise to the occasion in front of a partisan crowd.
“I can’t wait for July 11 and my chance to win the world title. The pressure is on but I’m channeling it in a positive way and using it to fire me up for the fight against Zepeda,” said the Manchester native.
“My dream chance is on my doorstep at home and I can feel the pressure, knowing that thousands of my fans are going to be packed into the Velodrome looking for me to beat Zepeda.
“It’s fantastic that I could be the first Englishman to win the title in boxing history and my name will go down in the record books – alongside Freddie Walsh, Ken Buchanan and Jim Watt. But the most important thing I’m thinking about is winning the world title.
“Mitchell put on a very brave performance against a class world champion – so I know what I’ve got to do to beat Zepeda.”
Californian resident Zepeda, 26, arrives with a reputation for destroying opponents in rapid fashion. Of his 20 knockouts, 17 have come inside three rounds. Flanagan, understandably, will not be taking that threat lightly.
“There’s no way at all I’m underestimating Zepeda and I’d be a fool to do that,” he said. “He’s seriously dangerous and has wreaked havoc, knocking people out left, right and center, all within three rounds.
“He’s got to be very confident and fancy his chances to come over here and fight me.”
Information provided courtesy of a press release issued by Queensberry Promotions
Harry Pratt is on Twitter @gharrypratt