‘TURBO’ TICKING OVER

Terry Flanagan following his 33rd straight professional victory, with Petr Petrov

So the longest unbeaten streak in British boxing continues on its merry way, almost unheralded. Saturday night saw southpaw WBO lightweight champion Terry ‘Turbo’ Flanagan move to 33-0 after a convincing points win against Petr Petrov.

The longest unbeaten run in domestic boxing continues – under the boxing radar – and it’s amazing really since Flanagan hails from a real hotbed of British boxing. Manchester is a city famous for football alongside boxing which puts rivalry aside for its fighters as the other North West heavyweight of the sports, Liverpool, does.

You may be a red, you may be a blue in either city but you have one thing in common: come fight night, you back the home corner, the home town fighter. Everyone it seems is in the blue corner; blue is the home corner in boxing, sorry if preaching to the sporting converted.

Where both cities are concerned, when boxing is the evenings entertainment, everyone is on the same page. You love your football, you love your boxing and you can leave the sporting love-in there, folks, it’s temporary boxing-wise with the maximum 36 minute championship fight distance the usual length of truce.

Terry Flanagan, the Manchester man, so underrated by many, even supports the same team as a certain other recent Manchester fighter. Sure, you know him: British boxing legend, world champion, household name, decent ambassador and understated in getting everyone on the same page, Ricky Hatton.

For Hatton caught the national imagination and his fan base certainly reflected that; in the decades I have watched British boxers’ come and go and I doubt I will ever see a fighter get close to taking the amount of fans he did overseas. A one-off: great to watch, good to listen to, entertaining and engaging. The crossover star when my generation considered that John Conteh and Frank Bruno did amazingly well in that regard. Ricky is and will always be the standout in that regard.

Flanagan on the pads with Ricky Hatton

Terry Flanagan is never going to get close to the crossover support Hatton had; no-one will to be honest. Terry Flanagan isn’t a talker outside the ring and comes across as very shy in front of the cameras when interviewed. That side of his game is his downfall; sport, let alone boxing loves a talker. A sporting salesmen with talent will generally do very well and convince the masses. He has of course been fighting on Boxnation and only the hardcore fan would know him. This Saturday he was also showcased on BT sport and their new marriage with Boxnation and Frank Warren so at last even the semi-casual fan has a chance to watch him.

The money and bigger audiences are now available due to the BT deal. My hope for Flanagan is to get matched in a ‘big’ fight and at 27 he is a lightweight in his peak years as a fighter. The ‘big’ names are out there. The ‘big’ names won’t even be totally aware of who Flanagan is: he calls no-one out, but is willing to fight absolutely anyone. That’s the one thing I am sure of Terry Flanagan.

The ‘big’ names potentially meeting Flanagan will be meeting a fighter who is fashionably ‘big’ at the weight, a massive lightweight, a ‘lefty’ as well, with a very high ring IQ and with a winning habit. Physical not audible credentials, boxes ticked.

I admit I love unheralded domestic fighters: always have done, always will do. I hope that should Flanagan get that ‘big’ fight he deserves – win or lose – he is set up financially for life and maybe, just maybe, has a chance to be widely recognised.

I haven’t mentioned potential names as opponents for Terry Flanagan, for they would be the “A-side” fighter, the draw, and they get plenty of media coverage. Terry Flanagan, that guy, unheralded – you may or may not know him – a lefty, with that annoying habit of winning, 33-0 and handily so. He’s never been a self publicist and never will be. Talking where it matters, in the ring. Winning: not a bad thing to have in your boxing locker.