14th December 2013
Unbeaten Terry ‘Turbo’ Flanagan (18-0, 4KOs) has had a 2012 that he could only have hoped for at the beginning of the year. His seven fights in the last eight month’s have seen Turbo win the English super-featherweight title in May, before stepping up to lightweight to defeat two former British champions in Derry Mathews and Gary Sykes to claim the Prizefighter Trophy in October.
Flanagan, 23, rounds off the year this Friday night at Blackpool’s Winter Gardens when he takes on West Ham’s Mickey Coveney over 6 rounds on the undercard of Brian Rose’s British light-middleweight title defence against Sam Webb.
The Manchester southpaw spent a week recently in Scotland sparring WBO world lightweight champion Ricky Burns, helping the Coatsbridge man prepare for his title defence against Jose Ocampo.
The experience for Flanagan was invaluable and has not only finished off preparations for his own fight on Friday, but given him a great learning experience against a fighter he rates very highly.
“The sparring with Ricky Burns has been quality.” Flanagan told BritishBoxers.co.uk
“Working with the world champion was an opportunity me and Ste (coach Steve Maylett) jumped at.
“With this fight in Blackpool coming up it has been great preparation and the experience of sparring with Ricky will stand me in good stead for the future, he is a top boxer and I picked up some good things from it.”
The time in Scotland with Burns and his trainer Billy Nelson is always something Flanagan’s coach Maylett looks forward to and has great respect for Burns and his coach. “They treated us great, Terry was payed well and it’s always a pleasure to help them out, they are good people and treat you has one of there own, they have really took to Terry.
“We got some really good feedback off Ricky and Billy.” said Maylett. “They said it’s been some of the best sparring they’ve had and that Terry is one of the most improved boxer’s they have seen. We went up two years ago to spar and Billy said he thought then Terry was a decent kid but wasn’t going to be anything special, but this time couldn’t believe how much he had come on and he said if he carries on at the rate he is, he could be world class.
|Terry Flanagan and coach Steve Maylett with English belt and Prizefighter trophy
“Tez picked up alot of things off Ricky who is a great fighter with high ring craft, he’s a top guy and Terry can take alot from it and hopes to follow in his footsteps.“
I asked Stephen what makes Burns stand-out and what are them ingredients that separates a domestic level fighter from a world class fighter? “He is strong, he isn’t exceptional at one thing, but great at everything.” explained Maylett.
“I noticed in the clinches for instance, his authority, if he wants to claim you, he’ll claim you proper. If he doesn’t want to claim you, he’ll wait for you to make the slightest of mistakes and then he’ll catch you with a little sneaky uppercut or a shot round the side and he’ll lead you into them as well.
“Every round was competitive and if one of the fighters started to get on top, the other would reply immediately to regain there foothold in the session. Although the sparring was very intense during the rounds in-between was different both boxers showing signs of respect, you could tell each one was appreciating the others work. It was very enjoyable to watch!”
Flanagan believes that 2013 will be the year to really move his career on and without overlooking Mickey Coveney on Friday night, he will be hoping for a British title shot early in the new year. It looks like he will be staying at lightweight now, even though he still holds the English strap at super-featherweight, but he says he will keep his options open.
“I can still make super-featherweight easily.” said Flanagan. “I’m always in the gym, I don’t put too much weight on in-between fights and we know how to make the super-feather limit and do it proper, so making weight isn’t a problem for me atall.
“But I did feel strong at lightweight when I boxed in Prizefighter, so I’m comfortable at either, I’m not bothered. I just want title fights now and to progress.
“If I’m offered a British title fight at super-feather I’ll have it, but at the same time if an offer came at lightweight I’d take that too.
“I defeated two former British champions in the Prizefighter and I’m 18 fights unbeaten and ready to move up to the next level, I’ll fight whoever Ste says I should, I’ll fight anyone.” added Flanagan.
|Flanagan and Maylett discuss the future
Coach Maylett, who has trained Flanagan from the amateurs, believes that Terry already deserved a shot at the British lightweight title, that was recently vacated by Gavin Rees and believes his English championship status and Prizefighter win warranted it. But it looks like Flanagan will now have to fight an eliminator first against former Prizefighter foe Derry Matthews.
“Terry’s name is going forward for the British title eliminator hopefully against Derry Matthews.” said Maylett.
“We think it would be a great fight with Derry and should happen in March sometime. Derry is a class fighter, I know Terry beat him in the Prizefighter, but that was only over three rounds and Derry was already cut, so it would be a different fight with him over the distance, but one Id be very confident of accepting if it can come off.
“We were disappointed not to get the shot with Martin Gethin after winning Prizefighter, because that’s what we went in it for, not for the money, but to get the big fights off the back of winning it. It was said before the tournament that the winner could fight Rees.
“Fair enough he vacated his titles but we should then have got the nod, not Ben Murphy. We will just keep going along with our business were doing well and the big titles are getting closer we are probably only a couple of good wins away now.
“At the moment The fight on Friday is our main concern and we will be taking that as serious as we have took the other eighteen. Coveney has upset the apple cart before for quality fighters, and going into this fight, he will get the same respect as all Tez’s previous opponents.” added Maylett.
Follow Terry on Twitter: @terryflanagan5
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