Saturday, June 10, 2023  |



Lightweight champs Terry Flanagan and Dejan Zlaticanin in deep talks

Fighters Network
Photo courtesy of Frank Warren.

Photo courtesy of Frank Warren.

Terry Flanagan and Dejan Zlaticanin are in advanced talks for a lightweight unification fight in October in Manchester on Showtime International. But another well-known 135-pound boxer could be merging into that lane of discussions to possibly impede that fight from happening.

Lou DiBella, who promotes WBC lightweight champion Zlaticanin, confirmed that talks with Flanagan’s representatives have intensified. But he also acknowledged that the heavily-hyped Felix Verdejo (22-0, 15 knockouts) has been named the mandatory challenger to the WBO titleholder Flanagan (31-0, 12 KOs), potentially complicating those talks.

“They’re pretty far along,” DiBella told of discussions between Zlaticanin and Frank Warren. who promotes Flanagan. “Frank contacted me a few weeks back and we’ve been kicking it around. (Showtime Boxing chief) Stephen Espinoza has made an investment in Dejan. Stephen likes the fight and we could do it on ‘Showtime International.’ So it’s not a done deal yet, but it’s certainly in advanced discussions.”

DiBella has also spoken to Flanagan’s manager, Steve Wood, along with Warren and seemed hopeful that Flanagan would choose to face Montenegro’s Zlaticanin (22-0, 15 KOs) instead of Verdejo. DiBella said he plans to pick up talks with Warren in the coming days after he promotes Leo Santa Cruz’s featherweight title defense against Carl Frampton on Saturday at Barclays Center on Showtime.

Flanagan-Zlaticanin would take place in Flanagan’s hometown of Manchester, where he is a popular draw. Flanagan won a decision against former titleholder Mzonke Fana in July and the southpaw Zlaticanin won the vacant WBC title in a three-round stoppage against Franklin Mamani on June 11.

“He’ll go wherever he has to go for a big fight,” DiBella said of the 32-year-old Zlaticanin. “He had a great performance in the past in the UK when he beat Ricky Burns (in Scotland in 2014). Dejan is a man’s man. He’s another one of these old school guys. Tell him who he’s fighting and he doesn’t really care where he goes. He’s not concerned. He’s an extremely confident champion.”