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Boxing | International

Flanagan makes fifth defence of WBO belt

Terry Flanagan from England makes the fifth defence of his WBO lightweight belt when he faces Petr Petrov of Russia at the Manchester Arena in England on Saturday night.

The 27-year-old Flanagan, who fights from the southpaw stance, has a record of 32-0; 13 since making his professional debut on 24 January 2009.

He won the vacant WBO belt in July 2015 with a second-round stoppage win over Jose Zepeda, and has made successful defences against Diego Magdaleno (tko 2), Derry Matthews (pts 12), Mzonke Fana (pts 12) and Orlando Cruz (tko 8) in November last year.

Petrov, 34, who was born in Russia but now fights out of Madrid, Spain, made his pro debut nearly 17 years ago and has compiled a record of 38-4-2; 19. He is the current NABF and WBA-NABA lightweight champion.

Petrov has won his last six fights against acceptable opposition but has failed when moving up against class opposition like Marcos Maidana (l ko 4) in September 2011 and Dejan Zlaticanin (l pts 12) in April 2013.

The Russian is a come-forward fighter who likes to work with overhand rights to the head and left hooks to the body,and with Flanagan also an aggressive fighter who throws punches in bunches and counter hooks from his southpaw stance, this could develop into a competitive fight.

However, Flanagan is the better boxer and could win on a hard-earned points victory.

The other lightweight champions are Jorge Linares (WBA), Mikey Garcia (WBC) and Robert Easter (IBF).

On the same card, Liam Williams (16-01; 11), the British junior middleweight champion from Clydach Vales, and Liam Smith (24-1-1; 13) of Liverpool, meet in a clash for the WBO interim junior middleweight belt.

The WBO champion is Canelo Alvarez, who stopped Smith in the 9th round in September 2016 when he challenged for the belt. Canelo meets Julio Chavez Jr at 74.62 kg next month in a catch weight bout.

Fighting from behind a tight guard, Smith has good footwork and is an accurate puncher. He has possibly fought at a higher level than Williams who is a fairly heavier hitter with a good jab.

This is a fight that could go either way to a close decision.

South Africa’s former IBF junior bantamweight champion Zolani Tete (24-3; 20) goes in against Filipino Arthur Villaneuva (30-1; 16) in a WBO bantamweight title eliminator. Villaneuva is ranked at No 1 and Tete at No 2. Marlon Tapales from the Philippines is the champion.


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