WBO lightweight titleholder Terry Flanagan and challenger Petr Petrov came face-to-face at a press conference on Wednesday, ahead of their showdown at the Manchester Arena in Manchester, England, on April 8.
Flanagan, who is rated No. 2 by THE RING at 135 pounds, will be making the fifth defense of his title against the talented Russian, who is rated No. 10, and the quick-fisted southpaw insisted that no corners will be cut during preparation.
“If I’m not 100 per cent 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. 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.
Flanagan (32-0, 13 KOs) continued, “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. Every time I’ve boxed at arenas in Manchester I’ve come away with stoppage wins. I want to keep that up on April 8.”
The 33-year-old Petrov (38-4-2, 19 KOs) was stopped by Marcos Maidana in his previous attempt at a world title back in 2011. Since dropping a 12-round decision to Dejan Zlaticanin in 2013, the WBO No. 2 ranked contender has won six fights in a row and insists that his experience gives him an edge over Flanagan.
“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, (which) 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.”
On the undercard, British rivals Liam Smith and Liam Williams clash at junior middleweight, South African Zolani Tete faces Arthur Villanueva at bantamweight; double Olympic gold medalist Nicola Adams fights for the first time as a professional, former Team GB Heavyweight Daniel Dubois makes his professional debut.
The show will be televised live by BT Sport and BoxNation
Information provided courtesy of a press release issued by Frank Warren PR
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.
Tom Gray is a UK Correspondent/ Editor for RingTV.com and a member of THE RING ratings panel. Follow him on Twitter: @Tom_Gray_Boxing
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