Thursday, June 08, 2023  |


Terry Flanagan aims to ‘Turbo’ past Diego Magdaleno

Fighters Network
Terry Flanagan (R) battles Stephen Ormond on Valentine's Day 2014. Photo by Ben Hoskins/Getty Images.

Terry Flanagan (R) battles Stephen Ormond on Valentine’s Day 2014. Photo by Ben Hoskins/Getty Images.

Undefeated British lightweight Terry Flanagan may not have the Olympic gold medal of a Luke Campbell, or the popularity of an Anthony Crolla, but what he does possess is a world title and his sole objective is to retain it against Diego Magdaleno in his hometown of Manchester, England, on Saturday.

In July, Flanagan faced unbeaten knockout-artist Jose Zepeda for the vacant WBO lightweight title in what many viewed as a 50/50 matchup. In Round 2, the all-southpaw duel was beginning to heat up when the American broke away from an exchange with a badly dislocated shoulder and the fight had to be stopped.

It was a frustrating ending but Britain had a new world titleholder.

Zepeda was cagey and a bit apprehensive in that fight,” said Flanagan who is 28-0 (11 knockouts). “I thought he may have edged the first round but I’d found my range by the second and then, suddenly, his shoulder went out and the fight was over.

If he stays in the top 10 then it’s possible that we could meet again. Providing I win my next fight, I’m due a voluntary defense and if Zepeda’s team offer the right kind of money then we could have a rematch. I’m happy to fight anyone that my team puts in front of me.”

Despite the unfulfilling nature of his world title victory, it was still mission accomplished for the fighter known as “Turbo.” This was the first time ever that an Englishman had won a version of the lightweight title but despite making history, Flanagan remains a man of simple tastes.

He said, “My feet are always on the ground. I have the same house, the same car, the same everything. I don’t look too far ahead because I’m aware that things can change overnight. I’m confident that I can defend this world title, but I don’t like to put added pressure on myself.

I stick to the same routine, I stay at home with my family and I work hard in the gym.”

Next up is another American southpaw, but this one may have a few more tricks up his sleeve. While Magdaleno (28-1, 12 KOs) does not carry Zepeda’s hitting power, he does appear to have a well-rounded skillset and Flanagan’s respect for the challenger is very evident.

I’ve seen Magdaleno and he’s a very good fighter,” said the 26-year-old. “He can box or stand and trade, plus he’s very strong physically.

He’s mandatory challenger with plenty of big-fight experience, but this is the first time he’ll have fought outside of America. Trust me, he’s in for a shock when he sees what he’s up against.”

Magdaleno is coming off a seventh-round TKO win over Jose “Chelo” Gonzalez, best known for giving Ricky Burns fits in a losing effort two years ago. The 28-year-old has also fought for a world title, against Roman Martinez, and many thought he was unlucky to lose a decision.

Ominous statistics but Flanagan is convinced that this fight couldn’t have come at a better time.

My southpaw preparation for Zepeda has helped a lot in terms of my sharpness,” said the Manchester man. “We were working really well against lefties in sparring sessions and that’s carried over to this fight.

I’m really looking forward to defending my title on home ground in front of the fans. I followed Ricky Hatton when he fought at this venue (Manchester Arena) and it’s a dream come true.”

Flanagan was simply buzzing with enthusiasm during this conversation and one senses that this fight has a good chance of providing all the drama that was missing from his title win.

I think I can get to Magdaleno late but I’ll settle for the win,” he said. “I’ll take an early stoppage, a late stoppage or if he dislocates his shoulder, I don’t really care.

I’m looking to make the fight as easy as possible. I can come forward or I can box on the back foot. If he wants to walk on to loads of shots then that’s great, but I don’t think he’ll be that stupid. I’ll do what I always do, because that’s what worked 28 times before.”


Tom Gray is a member of the British Boxing Writers’ Association and has contributed to various publications. Follow him on Twitter: @Tom_Gray_Boxing