Flanagan expects different Mathews, eyes Crolla showdown

Terry Dooley
19/12/2015 9:15am


Manchester’s WBO lightweight world titlist Terry Flanagan (29-0, 12 KOs) may hold a win over his next opponent, Liverpool’s Derry Mathews, but the 26-year-old southpaw has discounted his 2012 Prizefighter: The Lightweights triumph due to the shorter scheduled distance. The former British champion believes that it will be a totally different type of fight when the two meet at Liverpool’s Echo Arena on 13 February.

Flanagan won the vacant WBO crown through an unsatisfactory injury TKO over Jose Zepeda in July before underlining his championship credentials by blitzing Diego Magdaleno in two in October. “Turbo” told Boxing Monthly that he hopes to ease past Mathews to possibly set up an all-Manchester showdown with WBA title-holder Anthony Crolla.

“Crolla and I went to the same school and is one of the nicest kids you could meet,” said Flanagan. “People say we shouldn’t fight each other, but if you get money out of it then why not? It’s not personal, it’s business, and it would be a great fight.”

As for Mathews, the popular Scouser enjoys plenty of social media banter with potential opponents. Flanagan told me that he will not be drawn into a war of words and that people read Mathews the wrong way when he is Tweeting.

“I’ve spoken to Derry a few times, he’s a nice guy,” he stated. “People might not think so because he’s on Twitter and has a laugh. I beat Derry in Prizefighter over three rounds, but it’s a different story over 12. 

“On the other hand, I was a super-featherweight when I beat him, I’d fought Troy James at the weight in my last fight before Prizefighter and I still beat Derry. A few years on and I’m bigger and stronger so believe I have the beating of him.”

He added: “When I was at super-feather, it was a bit of a struggle so I wasn’t the biggest lightweight at first then grew into it. I probably should have gone for the British title after Prizefighter, because when I won it I won it with ease.”

A full interview with WBO lightweight champion Terry Flanagan appears in the new Boxing Monthly (January 2016) in stores now and via app on iTunes/Android.