WBO Lightweight Champion Terry Flanagan and his latest challenger Petr Petrov came face-to-face at a press conference Wednesday at the home of Premier League giants Manchester City ahead of their showdown at the Manchester Arena on Saturday 8th April, live on BT Sport and BoxNation.
Undefeated Flanagan, a City fanatic and season ticket holder at the Etihad Stadium, is gearing up for the fifth defence of his WBO strap and insisted no corners will be cut in his preparation for former World Title challenger Petrov.
“If I’m not 100% 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 on April 8th. 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 in a fight.
“My better nights are still to come, which says a lot a 32-0 and preparing to make my fifth World Title defence. 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 fight. Every time I’ve boxed at arenas in Manchester I’ve come away with stoppage wins, I want to keep that up on April 8th.”
33-year-old Petrov (38-4-2, 19 KOs), a native of Russia who fights out of Spain, was stopped by Marcos Maidana in his previous attempt at a World Title back in 2011. Since dropping 12-round decision in 2013 to Dejan Zlaticanin, the WBO no.2 ranked danger man has won six fights in a row and says 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, it 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."